Day 2 – Thursday
National Archives: The only thing to see here is our founding documents: the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. It is a wonderful experience. Go early in the morning to avoid the lines. The rotunda is kept very, very dark. The writing on the Declaration of Independence is barely visible anymore. It’s kind of a sad metaphor for how the our independence, freedoms, and basic rights have faded and changed in 200+ years, just as the ink has fadedon those documents. I wondered… one day will we just go to see the paper the document was once actually written on?
Rotunda of the National Archives
Declaration of Independence
Washington Monument (Outside): We took 1000 pictures from every angle. This monument is incredibly beautiful! More on this later.
World War II Memorial: One of the newest in DC, this monument is full of symbolism and was beautifully designed and executed. It sufficiently reflects the all-encompassing nature of this conflict and the great sacrifice that was made to see it through.
One of my favorite parts of this memorial was the 4 eagles laying a wreaths at each end.
Vietnam War Memorial: This monument is haunting. Many people don’t like it, but I thought it was amazing. As you walk down the walkway, you descend into the memorial. A huge black wall of engraved names rises beside you. As you descend deeper, the lists of name just keep getting longer and longer, the pitch black wall bigger and bigger, and the depth more profound. You feel like it must have felt in that time, like you just go deeper and deeper into a darker and darker place.
Panorama of the Vietnam Memorial
I thought it was poignant that I could see my own reflection in the wall of names.
Lincoln Memorial: Lincoln sits on his chair in the most massive, thoughtful way. I love this one.
Weighty. Thoughtful. Majestic. Solid.
Korean War Memorial: I was also delightfully surprised by this one. I had seen the statues in photos, but had not seen a black granite wall (similar to the Vietnam wall) in which faces and scenes from the war were etched as well as the beautiful fountain and inscription: “Freedom is not free.”
Beautiful sculptures of Korean War soldiers.
My favorite photo of the trip!
The West Wing: This was the best part of our trip to Washington DC. Through a family member hook up, we were able to get a personal tour of the West Wing of the White House. Chances are, if you’ve seen me since I came home, I’ve already raved to you about this part of my trip, so I won’t go into more detail on why it was so awesome to me.
We got to see the Reception area, Cabinet Room, Oval Office, Roosevelt Room, west colonnade, Rose Garden, the White House Kitchen, and even the President’s bowling alley.
A few things:
- Being in this special place made me wonder how in the world any President could betray the office. I’m talking of Nixon, Clinton, and others. Whether you like President Bush or not, one thing is clear from this up-close glimpse: he respects the office he holds and has returned dignity to the White House.
- I really like the decor. When they redid the Oval they asked Bush what he wanted, and he said he wanted it to be bright and optimistic. The rug and furniture in the Oval is simply incredible.
This is us outside the north west corner of the White House. Just behind the photographer there are rows and rows of cameras which are left set up 24/7 so news organizations can do live feeds from in front of the White House. It’s a very famous angle.
This is me in front of the north entrance to the West Wing.
Me in the Press Briefing room. A dream come true.
Me falling asleep during the last briefing by Dana Perino.
Me standing in the Rose Garden. Behind me is to the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office.