Thursday, October 27, 2011

The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money…

- Thomas Jefferson

After many discussions over a glass of wine…oh wait. Let me start again. After a discussion over many glasses of wine, we girls decided Saturday would be a good day to visit the Thomas Jefferson memorial and then come back across the bridge to Arlington National Cemetery, to see the changing of the guard.

I got up early that morning and set about finding out how to get to the memorial. It’s not far from my house at all, it’s the parking I was worried about. After all the walking we had done the day before, I was hoping to keep the traipsing to a minimum. Thank goodness for Google maps and of course, my new GPS girlfriend in the car. (I love her. Srsly.)

I had never been to the Jefferson Memorial before, so of course, knew nothing about it and could answer not one single question. Oh wait! They wanted to know which of all the trees we had seen in DC were the cherry trees. I was able to point those out to them. It was rather easy because they rim the tidal basin in front of the memorial. AND! I was able to remember the story about the beaver invasion.

A family of beavers decided to make the Tidal Basin their home and were chewing down the cherry trees. It took a while, but they were finally caught and moved to a secret location. They received quite a lot of attention and made watching the news kind of fun.

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I know, I know! Pick me!

And that was about it for my wealth of knowledge of the Jefferson Memorial. But we did take a lot of pictures and unanimously voted it the prettiest monument. There is also a very cool exhibit underneath the memorial where you can learn so much more about Thomas Jefferson. (How was I supposed to know?? I’d never been there!)

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It was so quiet and peaceful here. The fall colors were amazing. The girls from Texas were a bit envious of the cool weather and the pretty colors.

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Our next stop for the beautiful fall day was Arlington National Cemetery. It is one of my favorite places. I don’t go through the front gates very often, but I do see the back of it just about every day, as the joint bases of Fort Meyer and Henderson Hall, back right up to the cemetery and is home to the Old Guard Caisson unit. We walked through the cemetery past President Kennedy’s gravesite up to the Memorial Amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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It was about this time that the questions started. Are all the Kennedy’s buried here? How come they’re not all buried together? Why are there rocks on some of the headstones? How do you get permission to walk across the graves to put flowers down? Do you have to be related to do that? How many graves are here? How many acres is the cemetery? Why the 21 in a 21-gun salute? They were making my head numb.

We finally made it to the top of the hill to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is my favorite place in all of Arlington. We sat on the steps in the first row and watched how proudly the soldier performed the task of standing vigil.

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The soldier walks 21 paces in front of the tomb, turns and pauses for 21 seconds, changes his rifle to the other shoulder and walks 21 paces back. This is done 24 hours a day, every single day. During the summer, the changing of the guard happens every 30 minutes. In the fall through the winter, it’s every hour.

The guard coming on is inspected before he is allowed to take on his duty. Every step and movement is done with perfect precision.

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It is very moving to watch, and we three enjoyed it very much. There is so much more to say, but I’ll leave this link for you, so you can learn about it at your leisure. I think you’ll enjoy it.

This was a wonderful afternoon on a beautiful day, so then we went to the mall. Hey! We are women, after all. What did you expect?

That evening, we turned to our trusty GPS girlfriend to get us to the restaurant just inside China Town (another place I haven’t been!) We couldn’t get into Old Ebbitt Grill so we went to Clyde’s, which is owned by the same group. It was yummy.

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I cannot tell you how much I laughed having these two around me for four days. The Brit and the Texan quipping back and forth kept me in stitches. Laughter is indeed the best medicine and I was in sore need of a big ole dose!

Tomorrow, a walk through the dog park, a walk with Will Ferrell on the red carpet at the Kennedy Center and dinner at the mussel place.

3 comments:

  1. I would love to go to Arlington. Your pictures are great. And yay for learning new things. Go Thomas Jefferson!

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  2. I'm wondering if you should be paying me a commission for using all my photos.....like a plane fare to DC!

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  3. I'm embarrassed to say that I've never visited Arlington Cemetery (OR been to the top of the Washington Monument!). I'm sure it was very moving.

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