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Washington, D.C.
by April Henry

When we started planning for our Featherweight Maintenance Workshop Tour 2016 we knew that we would somehow want to incorporate a visit to Washington, D.C.  Carmon had visited the city in the fall of 2009 and had wanted to bring the rest of us to see US history first hand ever since.  It was certainly a lot to take in and we had high hopes that we would get to see many sites in an 8-day time period.  While we would probably have to spend several months to see each minute historical detail, we do feel like we received at least a fair tour of our nation's history and capital.

Here are a few highlights from those several days.  We did a lot of walking, a lot of Metro riding, a lot more walking... and then discovered Capital Bikeshare (highly recommend this, by the way)

The US Capitol building was under construction inside and out, so that was a bit disappointing to not be able to enjoy it's grandeur without having an obstructed view, but we were grateful to at least be there, absorbing as much as we could.

The children have learned a great deal about the Pilgrims in their Homeschool Curriculum.  We have the book Of Plymouth Plantation by William Bradford which provides a very accurate representation of those who initially settled here in America (and their true reasons for doing so).  If you haven't read this book, we highly recommend it!

The Metro was not only much, much cleaner, but a lot easier to navigate compared to the NYC subway train system. 


The Library of Congress had breathtaking architecture.
These pictures, of course, cannot give it due justice.

Carmon pointing to the "Library of Congress" carved marble.  It is evident throughout all the carvings, mosaics, paintings, gold leaf and intricate structures that this building is a symbolic testament to the glory of man and his accomplishments.

Therefore, it was quite interesting that when we rounded one of the first featured displays, we saw The Gutenberg Bible.  A quiet reminder of the truth - that man, and all of his magnificent accomplishments, was still the created.


The Thomas Jefferson Library


The Library of Congress

You may be wondering ... why does it appear that we are all alone in these magnificent hallways?  Well, that's because we were all alone....... we didn't quite realize that we had taken a wrong turn until we had gone through several architecturally decadent hallways to get to the end of the line and see a sign that read, "No Admittance".  Apparently, we had ventured in the back way to that area that was off limits... oops!  Nevertheless, I was grateful that I had taken photos - aren't these simply amazing?  All the detail you see painted there on the walls -- yeah... that's all done by hand!

View from a Library of Congress window.

Because it was July 4th, the Supreme Court building was closed.  Goody for us, because the steps were practically empty - which makes for good photos!

It was surprisingly warm.... but wet!

Waiting for the train so we can go see the fireworks!

You can see the Lincoln Memorial is already quite packed with others who are waiting for the fireworks to start... we had made our way across the Potomac River to secure this spot.

All we can say is that there just can't be any fireworks show quite like the one on the National Mall.  It was truly incredible to see!

The National Archives - no cameras or cell phone photos were permitted but it was remarkable to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights so close - and to read them for ourselves.

“Well, Doctor [Benjamin Franklin], what have we got—a Republic or a Monarchy?”
  “A Republic, if you can keep it.”



Everyday as we rode the Met back to the terminal near our hotel we would overlook this high-end auto dealership and pick out the car we each liked.  Bentleys, Ferraris, and McLarens were rotated regularly so we would look for "our car" each day.  One day the guys decided to lag behind while Ruthie and I walked the rest of the two blocks to our hotel.  It had been a long walking day and were tired!  Carmon and Christian visited the dealership just to imagine and dream as they peeked in the windows of these super fast and expensive vehicles.  The salesman spotted the 'tourist' in their eyes and permitted Christian a ride around the block in a McLaren Spyder.  (After all, it just needed rotated on the lot....)




This "Ruth's" steak house was right near our hotel.  We never did get a reservation to eat there, but we had to get Ruthie's picture near the sign, of course.


April's grandfather was in the US Marine Corps and fought in the Pacific during WWII.

The Korean War Memorial was surreal with how "real" the soldiers looked sweeping their green pathway. 
(You can see that the weather was beginning to get rather hot and humid!)

It was quite a walk to the Lincoln Memorial in the extreme heat, but it was definitely monumental.... especially standing beside the front pillars looking down the National Mall towards the Washington Monument.

Please refer back to this post and you'll notice Cindy from New York on the far left in the group photo.  She was incredibly thoughtful to ask us ahead of time if we knew of anyone personally to look up at the Vietnam War Memorial (knowing we were going to D.C.).  We actually didn't know of anyone to look for specifically.  So, she gave us three names of fallen soldiers - men that she knew personally from high school and her younger days.  Christian and Ruthie enjoyed looking for their names, which gave them a small glimpse of the magnitude of how many soldiers gave their lives for our country.  It was also rather special to us and made it more personalized as we prayed for these men's families. 

Thank you, Cindy, for sharing the names of Robert S. Cragin, Jr, Vernon F. Hovey III, and Richard W. Starkey


On our way to see the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (background)

We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, we solemnly publish and declare that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states --- and for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour.

Riding the bicycles from Capital Bikeshare -- on our last leg before the subway ride back.

Arlington National Cemetery

A funeral was underway for one of our former servicemen.

The eternal flame at the JFK memorial

View from the bus of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Small view of the Pentagon - the place where it was hit by the 9/11 attack.

View from the Robert E. Lee Mansion, overlooking D.C.

Inside the Mansion, it was like we stepped into a time capsule of original patina.  The building was incredibly worn and appeared as if the original tenants recently vacated but left most all of their fixtures and decorative furnishings.  In all the places to tour in D.C. where most are behind glass, clean and perfect -- this one was fascinating and we liked that it still had it's old, original, unrestored appearance!

This was our last place to tour before we left D.C.  We are so grateful for all the places we were blessed to be able to see and learn about.


We had never been to a Japanese Steakhouse so we treated ourselves to this one special meal before we traveled on to our next Workshop in Mechanicsville, Virginia.

The kids loved it!