Friday, May 15, 2009

Life in My World--Day in D.C.

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Landing at 10:30 am (Thursday) in Albany, New York, we met Abe and Grace a couple of hours later then drove to Washington, D.C. via a Subway and Baskin Robbins stop. Grace caught me up on wedding plans while Calvin and Abe sat in the front seat wondering how we could talk about wedding plans at such length. Finally we set aside the plans and just visited—one of my favorite parts of family vacations—until we got to my nephew, Golden’s, apartment. I love the tall, skinny homes and the brick sidewalks lined with trees. The town smells incredible. Though there are no cherry blossoms on the trees, the air is sweet and fresh and smells like cherry blossoms.


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(Julie, Golden, Abe, Grace, Calvin)

I wore my walking sandals today (Friday) for good reason—fashion not being one of them. We grabbed the subway down to the mall. The DC subway system reminds me of a Disneyland ride—it’s clean, the voices sound automated, no food or drinks are allowed and the terminal ceiling looks like it belongs in Tomorrowland. Walking downtown DC, the first stop was a vender stand where we grabbed a hot dog and banana for breakfast. A mystery of the city is why vender food tastes so good—even the bananas tasted better than normal and a banana is a banana.


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Our first stop was the Museum of American History. While Calvin and Abe figured out cross-country moving logistics and made u-haul reservations on the curb, Grace and I went inside and saw the enormous flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Suddenly swarmed by hundreds of school kids on field trips, we moved to the next Smithsonian. We could have spent a couple of days at the Museum of Natural History, but whizzed through it in a couple of hours. My nephew, Golden, was finished with work early in the afternoon and joined us where we grabbed a second hot dog for lunch, which was as good as the first, and kept walking. The Capitol closed earlier than we expected, so we missed it but went to the Native American museum instead. I don’t know quite what to say about that museum. If the Native Americans like it, then I think it’s great, but if they are disappointed in it then I’m mad for them that very little was displayed in their behalf.
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After museum skimming we caught the subway back to Golden’s via Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Ahhhhh. What a great place to eat: peanuts at the door, huge hamburgers and a heaping pile of fresh Idaho potato fries. After visiting with Julie, Golden’s wife, for an hour we drove down to see the memorials.

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(long time hope realized of standing in front of the Lincoln memorial with Abe)

Poignant. That’s the best word I can think of to describe the memorials. If it is as someone once said, “You can tell the greatness of a country by the way they honor their fallen heroes,” we’re a great country.

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(The faces of the three Viet Nam soldiers say much as they come out of the jungle and look to the memorial wall with the names of their dead and missing comrades.)

We went to the Viet Nam memorial first. When Calvin graduated from high school, the Viet Nam war was fully engaged. Nineteen-year-old male members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are asked to serve missions. During the Viet Nam war there was a quota from the government on how many missionaries each church congregation could send out at any given time—two. Calvin had 48 young men his age and he knew his chances were slim to go on a mission, so he went down to enlist in the army. Failing the physical examination because of a heart murmur, he enrolled in college. By filling quotas in other wards, his ward was able to send out 24 missionaries and Calvin was one of them. Two years later, having successfully completing his mission, he received a draft notice from the army. This time the murmur didn’t seem to bother the medical board and he was drafted. President Nixon ended our participation in the war before Calvin finished training, so he didn’t serve in Viet Nam, but did have to finish the required three years of service.

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Calvin wanted to find the names of two of his friends on the Viet Nam memorial so we went to the registry which would lead us to the panel with their names. Tears quietly ran down his face as he thumbed through the pages of the missing and fallen.


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I can’t soak in all of this experience. I’m trying hard, but watching Abe and Grace together, reuniting with Golden, walking hand in hand with Calvin to see places that are iso mportant to us—I just can’t hang on tight enough to all of it and I'm afraid I'll spill some of it.

15 comments:

Lyle and Mary: said...

Ahh, you brought back some great memories of DC. Soak it all up Jane, and take lots of pictures!
Abe and Grace look darling together.

Lyle and Mary: said...

Oh, and you and Calvin look darling together too!! :)

Ashley said...

I miss living over in the virginia area. Five guys is a good place to eat!! I'm so excited for Abe and his fiance...

Sounds like a fun trip...D.C. is beautiful

Amy said...

I lived in VA, worked in D.C. for one wonderful year of my life. Your pictures are beautifully nostalgic for me. So glad you're having a good time!

deidra said...

Yay! for so many things that I love. Chris lived in a cute little row house just a few blocks from the Senate Office buildings while we were dating. And I've blogged my love for Five Guys. And it just doesn't get much better than DC in the spring. Enjoy the rest of the trip!

Becky said...

Thank you for making me cry in my cereal bowl.... :)

Beautiful photos--Abe and Grace look darling together by the way!

Can't wait for the day that I can visit D.C.!

Leslie said...

What a wonderful trip there! Troy and I would love to visit there one day and see all those historic spots. Thanks for sharing the part about your husband's mission and military service. Interesting to see the Lord's hand in the timing.

Lisa and Mike said...

DC is probably one of my all time favorite trips! I liked the quote you gave about a good country honoring its fallen heroes. We do live in a good country, and its good to remember that, even during its hard times!

Susan said...

Thank you Jane. Congratulations on accomplishing one of your life long dreams of seeing the memorials. So awesome.

HeatherM said...

Thanks for the update, Jane. Keep them coming! Your trip sounds like pure joy and wonder.

Cassidy said...

SO FUN!!!

melanie said...

Jane, I love seeing you in front of those monuments. It's a place I've pictured you many times. All of it sounds like such a perfect trip. I can't wait to do your hair next month and I'll go really, really slow so I can get the details that don't show up on the blog. :)

Lucy said...

You are capturing your trip beautifully with pictures and words. Washington D.C. is a special place to visit, but I've never had the added touch of reuniting with children and getting to know a future daughter. How lovely.

Nanci said...

I really enjoyed catching up on your blog. You have a beautiful family. It sounds like Abe chose a wonderful girl. I love D.C. also and it makes me sad to think that I can't just hop in the car and go down there for the day anymore.

I'm glad to hear that you liked Five Guys....mmmmm.

Kim Sue said...

also love how there are flags flying everywhere...proudly displayed on every building.