We made it to DC! This is the capital of our country, and it is so far from where we started several weeks ago.
I actually went to Washington DC with my family in eighth grade (Inna visited in 5th grade), but there is so much to do here, I’ve always wanted to come back. Especially now that I am older and wiser, that I know more about history and politics and art and technology (those last two apply to the Smithsonian specifically). So here we are, with several days to explore all that this city has to offer. So lets do this!
Where to begin? There’s so much in DC but it only seems fitting to start with the Washington Monument, our tribute to our revolutionary leader, our first president, and one of the greatest Americans who ever lived.
It was actually surprising, driving across the country, how many obelisk monuments we encountered. But the Washington Monument is by far the grandest (it is currently the largest obelisk in the world and was the largest structure in the world from 1885 to 1889), it leaves all the others in the dust.
Our amazing Richmond Airbnb host recommended we do this; she said it would feel like we were walking up to the clouds. We did and it did; it was surreal.
Views from the Washington Monument.
The Lincoln Memorial.
“I have a dream…” quote at the location on the Lincoln Memorial where the speech was given, and the view of the Washington Monument from that speech location.
The Jefferson Memorial, similar to the Lincoln Memorial, but circular.
The FDR Memorial. To be honest, I wasn’t as impressed with this memorial as I was with the others.
Bridge to the LBJ Memorial Grove. The grove is just a bunch of trees, there isn’t an actual memorial in there. Kind of disappointing if you ask me.
The MLK Jr Memorial. This memorial also seemed strange to me, especially since you can’t see the MLK sculpture until you walk all the way though it. Until that point, the whole thing looks like a memorial to icebergs.
The Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial, as viewed from the MLK Jr Memorial.
The George Mason Memorial. For those who don’t know, George Mason was the founding father who wrote the first draft of the Bill of Rights. He more than anyone else is responsible for the Bill of Rights being in the constitution.
WWII Memorial. This memorial is located between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial because the three are meant to represent each century’s great war (Washington represents the Revolutionary War and Lincoln represents the Civil War).
Three Vietnam War memorials: the wall to the soldiers who died, the soldiers to the soldiers who survived, and the nurses to the nurses who both survived and died.
Korean War Memorial. I found this one particularly haunting.
Memorial to the WWI soldiers from Washington DC who died. There is no overall WWI memorial and are no memorials that I know of for any wars before WWI or after the Vietnam War.
9/11 Pentagon Memorial. There is a bench here for each person who died.
Marine Corps Memorial. This sculpture was carved by an actual marine, who was so moved by the Iwo Jima photograph this sculpture depicts that he wanted to carve a sculpture of it. The Marine Corps raised the money and made it happen.
Air Force Memorial. Unfortunately, we could not find the memorials to the Army and Coast Guard. I hope they exist somewhere.
A gift from the Netherlands to the US, a thank you for freeing them during WWII.
The Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, an Capital Building, as viewed from the gift from the Netherlands.
The US Capitol Building, in my opinion the grandest building in Washington DC.
More pictures of the Capital. This building is amazing.
The White House, where the president lives.
More grand DC buildings (clockwise from upper-left): the Supreme Court Building, the Treasury, the Library of Congress, some local townhouses, the Pentagon, and the National Archives.
Finally, here is Arlington National Cemetery, our nation’s most sacred military shrine.
Two presidents are buried at Arlington: John F Kennedy Jr and William Howard Taft. Both are buried alongside their wives.
And here is more of the Kennedy family, including Joseph Kennedy, JFK’s brother who died in WWII.
Also in Arlington are several Supreme Court Justices. We found four, two chiefs: Warren Earl Burger and Earl Warren, and two associates: Thurgood Marshall and Harry Andrew Blackmun.
Perhaps most famously, Arlington National Cemetery is home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. There are various unknown soldier tombs for specific wars (although there is none for Vietnam because the soldier was identified) but this tomb represents the unknown US soldiers in all wars and other armed combat.
Gifts to the unknown soldier left by various governments, as well as other public and private institutions.
A collection of unknown soldiers’ graves, as well as a collection of nurses’.
Phew, so much! It was pretty tiring seeing all of the above, and we’re not even done. We still have the Smithsonian! Also, we visited a friend who was living in DC:
Our friend in DC. Hi JC!
Well, I think that is enough for this post. But there’s still the Smithsonian, so continue on to read more.
Addendum: I forgot to mention the saddest portion of our trip! Knowing we couldn’t take Leia around the world with us (to Europe was cost prohibitive and to the rest of the world was either not safe or not allowed), we decided to ship her back to my parents who are watching her now. Leia is super happy, playing with Pepper and her grandparents and also spending the occasional week at her favorite doggie day care, but we miss her so much!