11 December 2006

weekend highlights

My sister and I had a nice little mini-vacation in Washington DC. We managed to pack a lot of interesting things into one day and one morning. I'd have to say that my personal highlights from the weekend were the museum in Ford's Theatre, and the Vietnam War Memorial, for many reasons. I was also impressed by seeing the Constitution in the National Archives, and the FDR Memorial.

Ford's Theatre was a lot more interesting than I was expecting, and I was expecting it to be interesting. I was kind of amazed by the quantity of memorobilia, and it was startling to see just how widely Lincoln's death was mourned, how passionately and deeply people felt about his assassination, especially when I imagine what the reaction would be if the current president were assassinated. Not that there wouldn't be a lot of grief from many people, but I can't imagine loving a president the way people loved Lincoln in his time.

The Vietnam Memorial affected me in a surprising way. Seeing photos of young soldiers propped up against the base of the wall really drove home the fact that the Vietnam War is really not that far behind us. To think that some people visit that memorial because they are still grieving someone close to them was sobering in a way that the WWII memorial, for example, was not. It is a part of our past yet still very present for many people.

I hadn't even known before my trip that there was an FDR memorial, but it's really quite large and beautiful, with four separate outdoor "rooms," one for each term of his presidency, and lots of waterfalls and inspirational quotes carved into the stone.

Other notable events for me:

  • Falling in love with Van Gogh's painting of Roses, which I'd never seen before, as well as delighting in many Monets in the National Gallery of Art
  • Eating swordfish, gnocchi, and pomegranate for the first time
  • Being photographed with R2D2 and C3P0 (my kids were so excited to hear about that)

Being surrounded by so much history and government was kind of inspiring -- especially seeing the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights in the National Archives. It was a reminder that despite how dissatisfied I may be with the current government, there is a tradition in this country to be proud of. I guess I felt some faint stirrings of patriotism in my cynical little heart. And now I'm really looking forward to going back some time, to taking my kids to all of the museums and monuments and memorials and teaching them about history, democracy, civic pride.

Oh, my, I believe I'm getting a little starry-eyed here. Anyway, it was a nice weekend, a much-needed break from my wonderful (yet demanding) children, and some quality time with a person I love. There are photos (lots and lots of them -- we got a new, huge memory card for the camera last week) posted on my Yahoo page if you're interested in seeing how goofy we were.

Edit: I can't believe I totally forgot to mention the amazing Rembrandt exhibit we saw, and an equally amazing exhibit of Bibles before the year 1000. Both fascinating -- could have easily spent hours looking at each.

1 comment:

and rudeness said...

Sounds like a great trip! Glad you were able to enjoy DC the way its suppose to be!