Sunday, July 6, 2008

Senior Grad Trip to D.C.

The weeks have flown by without any blogging, but I'm trying to get back on track. June 17 we were privileged to take Jordan and Andrew on a senior graduation trip to Washington D.C. for a week. We wanted to see as much as possible while there, so we really kept moving - wore the boys right out, but I think all in all it was an awesome trip! So much to tell and so little time to tell it, but here's small recap:

After arriving in the late afternoon, we started out at the Arlington Cemetery where it was hard to imagine how many people have died throughout the years, in defense of our country's freedom. Over 200,000 service men and women in this cemetery alone - rows and rows of small headstones as far as you could see. We were able to see the changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldier, a somber must, if you ever go. Sorry these pictures didn't turn out so well.

A neat story: While leaving the cemetery, a gentleman came up and was trying to give us 2 tickets. We explained that we had 4 people, and he said, "just a minute my neice has 2 more tickets." Long story short, these people had 2-day tickets to ride the double-decker open-top tour bus all over D.C. They had used the 1st day and had to leave town and wanted to give us their tickets for the 2nd day ($32/each). We were so excited! As it turned out, the gentleman had been a marine paratrooper in World War II, so it was awesome to talk with him for a little bit and be able to thank someone first hand for what he had done for our country.

Andrew & Jordan with World War II Marine Paratrooper

The next morning we took the double-decker guided bus tour all over D.C. - we all loved it! Even when we had to duck to keep from hitting head-on with tree branches! Definitely a extra unexpected blessing for us.

On top of the double-decker bus - US Capitol in the background

We had arranged to have a staff-led tour of the US Capitol that afternoon - really a once-in-a-life-time experience. Here's the ceiling of the rotunda:

Dave & Kathy inside the Capitol rotunda

The next morning we got up extra early to stand in line for tickets to go to the top of the Washington Memorial, and tour the Bureau of Engraving and Printing where our money is made. Both were really worth the wait!

Washington Memorial with sun directly behind it

Jordan with $1,000,000 in $10 notes (don't get any ideas Jordan!)

We walked to and visited all of the different memorials there - Lincoln, Jefferson, World War II, Vietnam, Korean War, Theodore Roosevelt - all were inspiring, and I can't do justice here to describe my feelings as I read placques and contemplated all the events that have taken place over the years to create and preserve our great country.

Andrew cuddling up to George Mason

Posing with another World War II Vet at the World War II Memorial
These gentleman were so sweet and got teary-eyed as we thanked them
for their contributions to our freedom. A touching experience...

We didn't want to come to D.C. and not see the actual documents that helped make everything happen. The National Archives was another treat. The documents are looking worse for the wear, but the lights are kept dim, and the air is very controlled with anti-pollutants & right temperature to help preserve them as long as possible.

We even made a quick trip to the scene of the crime where Andrew was born - right in D.C.:

(Not sure what that emergency is, Dave) :)

One day we headed south a little ways to tour the National Marine Corps Museum. It was awe-inspiring too, and had a section for each war that had been fought. The displays in the front foyer were life-size and very life-like, even down to the skin on the soldier statues, which looked very real.

Famous flag that was erected by soldiers when they took over Iwo Jima -
notice how tattered it is after just a short time of being flown.

Some fun mixed in with all the sightseeing.....

These two bro's are tight :)

We made sure we went to see the DC temple. It was just as majestic as I remembered from many years ago. We relaxed a little and watched a movie in the visitor's center before heading out to eat at a local place called Booeymonger's - fabulous philly cheesesteak sandwiches and fries! Loved the name - kept saying it after we had left.

On Sunday we visited Dave's old ward in Maryland which was nice. We spent that afternoon in Gettysburg, another somber, but very worthwhile tour.

We're standing on what is called the "high water mark" or Cemetery Ridge where the final hours of the battle were fought. It was near the end of the trip, and you can tell that the boys were all camera'd out!

We're so grateful we had this opportunity to go with Jordan and Andrew to view all these historic sites and feel of the strong patriotism of so many others before us. We owe so much to our forefathers! At church today we sang America the Beautiful and The Star Spangled Banner, and I couldn't help getting teary-eyed during both of them. I love my country and feel very blessed to enjoy so many freedoms in this great land. Thanks for a great trip, guys!


Stephanie said...

It's so neat to see your take on all those things in D.C. I saw them on Esther's blog, and now got to read about your experiences (I really like the picture of "Andrew cuddling up to George Mason").

I'm glad you had such a neat trip with your sons. That's so neat that you got to talk to those veterans. I bet your sincere thanks just made their day. :-)

Farrell Family said...

What an awesome trip. I am so jealous! You got some great pictures and I'm sure made lots of memories.

Karen said...

What a wonderful trip! Thanks for all the really is awe inspiring all the history there.

Esther and Nathan Manwaring said...

It is so fun to see you at all the places we got to see too! How fun. When we go back we will definitely have to do the places that are just a car trip away (we will have our car!). I am so glad you got to go. I really wish we could have been more of a help to you. We should get together again now that Nathan is back.