Well yesterday I decided I would go on down to the Washington Mall and see things I'd always been sorry not to have seen the last time I was in DC. I started with the Vietnam Memorial so I took the Metro up to Fogggy Bottom (heee) and then wandered down to the memorial via George Washington University. I got my first glimpse of the Washington Monument on the way
and also enjoyed the trees which are changing colour.
I found the memorial very moving. So many names. 58 000 in fact. And you walk down into the memorial so that you are under the ground level, I guess, 6 ft under? So many names.
I was trying to read the dedication and ended up behind a family who had found a name and were wondering about it and the volunteer came over and explained that the status of soldiers is correct every May. For each confirmed dead soldier, there is a dot next to their name. For those who are missing, there is a small cross. And when they are found, the cross is turned into a diamond in May when the memorial is updated. He took a rubbing of the name for them and explained that at some point, their soldier was missing and since, his remains have been found. It was very moving.
I've never been really interested in war. I find the politics interesting but not war especially. But since finding myself in a relationship with someone who serves, it's changed for me. He calls me after work each day and I ask him how he is and he says, "Well, I'm alive", which within the context is sorta less amusing and more an actual status update. My interest/engagement in war has changed, I guess.
After the memorial I headed up to the Lincoln Memorial which is right there. It's pretty impressive.
And then I needed a break. I took a refreshment at the refreshments place - coffee, which was vile, and a bagel with cream cheese (because apparently, I live the cliche according to maelkann
). I just sat overlooking the Potomac, watching the birds and the trees and the people going by. It was really very lovely.
The plan was to head down to the Smithsonian at this point. As I wandered off, I saw the Korean memorial so I stopped to have a look at that. The statues are very moving and the rest really quite contemplative.
And then I headed off down in the museums direction. I ended up passing the WWII memorial and had a look around. It was quite odd to see different dates (1941 - 1945). There's this futuristic feel to this memorial, reminded me of the sorts of scenes from Star Trek or BSG. Just kind of expansive, a lot of water and fountains and majestic with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. Grande. I suppose.
As I was walking off from here, it started to rain. And I didn't much feel like wandering around in the rain. I decided to try and find the Metro and head back. Well, I get lost easily so I found myself wandering around past the Holocaust Museum and the Treasury and the Printing and Etching Dept and all sorts of places, with really no idea where I was supposed to be - I thought 14th or 12th street maybe and D but it was pretty bad. So I stood still, to just gain my composure and stare off in all directions to see if I could find a clue. And there, one block down was a big M sign! At the Dept of Agriculture! And so with much relief I headed back to the hotel.