18 May 2010

Vacation: Washington, DC

We hit Washington, DC late in the afternoon during rush hour traffic. Ugh! I am so glad I don't have to drive in that mess every day.

Our first stop was Arlington National Cemetery where we saw the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We also saw John F. Kennedy's grave with the eternal flame.

Along with two of the most famous sites in Arlington, we saw some lesser-known ones. Those included the Canadian Cross honoring Americans who served in the Canadian armed services,

the Columbia Memorial honoring those who died aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia,

and the USS Maine Memorial honoring those who died aboard the USS Maine.

The next day we visited the National Zoo. We saw lions,


and gorillas.

Then we went to the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). I was really looking forward to this. When I was in graduate school, I worked on a federally-funded grant project called Four Directions. The purpose of the grant was to provide curriculum development through the use of technology on Indian reservations around the country. As part of the grant, I worked on the reading incentive project If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything. Another aspect of the grant was a virtual reality project with NMAI in New York City. I was able to travel there with a group of students from Marty Indian School in South Dakota. They took pictures of items in the collection and wrote brief reports about the objects. All of this was for an online exhibit at NMAI. That project is still online (note: you'll need Quicktime to view the collection).

When I worked with NMAI in 2000, the construction of the museum on the Mall in Washington had just begun. Finally, I was able to see the museum in all its glory! First, we ate at the Mitsitam Cafe. I had fry bread, of course. I also ate a fiddlehead fern salad with fiddlehead ferns, cucumbers, parsnips and golden beets. Quite tasty! I also had the broccoli with pumpkin seeds in lavender butter. Also good. In fact the fry bread was the worst part of the meal because it was too thick. But the drink I had! It was amazing! It was a Saskatoon berry maple agua fresca. So yummy! I had two of them. I still wish I had bought a third. It was just so good.

Then we took a brief stroll on the Mall past the Capitol

before going to see the Korean War Memorial.

My daddy was a Marine and fought in Korea. Part of the memorial is a wall etched with the faces of men and women who served in the conflict. One of those faces looked an awful lot like Daddy.

And then we visited the Wall.

Even though I don't really know anyone who served in Vietnam and was born after the war ended, the Wall always makes me cry. The mementoes,

the people remembering fallen comrades,

and all those names.

It's just devastating.

It rained on us while we were at the Wall. It even hailed for about ten seconds – mothball-sized hail! A loud crack of thunder hurried Mom and I back to the bus stop and on to our hotel.

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