“In this temple as in the hearts of the people, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” That’s what I read today as I stood at the foot of the marble and magnificent sixteenth president. There were many awe-inspiring moments today just like this one and I have a renewed appreciation for our country, my citizenship to it, and my fellow citizens who have contributed so much to our history and current standing. I’m having a great time with my mom here—we are taking the town by storm and seeing everything that there is to be seen!
We started off the morning seeing the White House and Washington Monument, which was practically blinding trying to look all the way up to the top. (Traveling lesson #1: Always bring AND wear sunglasses). I couldn’t believe that they built the monument in its entirety before 1900—very impressive! We then went on to the reflecting pool (which wasn’t—they are remodeling. Apparently it wasn’t so reflective anymore—those ducks had a good time). But we did see the Lincoln Monument and the step where Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. That was certainly an awe-inspiring moment of the day; imagining how King must have felt looking out over a sea of people, saying those famous words. Tragically, both Lincoln and King, who made such courageous strides in such a short time, were given too short a time on this Earth.
We also viewed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean Veterans Memorial, and the World War II memorial. All three were impressive, but as I looked at the 58,000+ names on the Vietnam Veteran’s wall, I was reminded that sadly, “freedom is not free.” We looked up my uncle’s brother’s name, Robert E. Moss and with that finding, it became very clear that with the thousands of lives were taken, families were broken, and people were never the same again. Everyone is affected by war in some way; whether on the battlefield or on the home front. As saddening as this was, I was cheered up by feeding the geese and ducks in the pond as we left—they took the food right out of my hand! Simple pleasures.
We went on the Smithsonian, or rather one of the twelve museums that they have. Today we specifically went to the National Museum of American History. This was the most impressive museum that I have ever been to and we could have spent even more time there. Some of my favorite things of the day were the Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers (finally!), Washington’s coat, the Star Spangled Banner flag, the bear inspired by “Teddy” Roosevelt, and the First Ladies’ evening gowns. Michelle Obama’s dress has recently been added to the collection and it was absolutely stunning. Every exhibit caught my eye and it was so exciting to see every unique piece.
It is absolutely beautiful here. The people are friendly, the streets are clean, and you know that I am especially happy because the city is adorned in pink for the cherry blossom season. They are just starting to bloom here and it is so picturesque that I just have to take a ton of pictures. I’ve posted a slideshow below if you’d like to see my adventures for the day—what an amazing one it has been!
Tomorrow my mom and I are going back the Smithsonian Mall and who knows where else the wind may take us!
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook