Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Part 4

Well we love Virginia but after sitting in traffic for 2 hours on 95 we are now thankfully on 85 about 8 hours from home. 

After leaving the Capital we went back to Union Station for supper at America. It was really a neat place. Each state's shape was somewhere on the wall of the restaurant & taught me that I have several state shapes I cannot identify. A great project for Marlee Anne & I. 

Those of you that know us know that we make the most of any trip we take, trying to pack in the most possible. We decided to go to the Vietnam memorial. I knew it was going to take lots of deep breaths and prayers to get me through this one. As we walked up to the statue nearby to take a picture I was once again flooded with the disrepect. Three young boys maybe high school or older came running up screaming. They stopped in front of me as I was about to snap a picture of the statue & said oh look there's some homies. A very nice lady came up and said just what I was feeling. She said it's very sad. There are nice signs placed about reminding us to be respectful & silent. Perhaps these boys couldn't read. 

As we began our walk I heard my sweet child's voice say WOW look at how big that wall is. Then again saying look at all those names. Even as I type this now the tears flow. With every step I took my thankful heart grew. With every family member that touched the wall, was getting an etching of their loved one's name or a picture near their name I was grateful & prayerful. 

Our first several steps afterwards no one said a word. Later as we continued towards the World War II memorial we discussed the sacrifice those had made for our freedom and how often we take that freedom for granted. 

The World War II memorial was so large & really very beautiful. The gold stars reflecting in water along with the wreaths that were there were such a great remembrance. It was dark for our walk back down to the Lincoln memorial where we were parked. I enjoyed the quite peaceful walk just to reflect on my day, absorb & process it all. The kids loved all the lightening bugs we saw that we don't get to see at home. 

It was such a quick drive back to National Harbor. Really beautiful to see the city lit up. It was back to the room to do laundry because of Michala's daily flooding of her wheelchair even through the double diapers. The joys of life & the reminders that God is always good!

I think we all welcomed rest time while Mike was working. We took our time & got ready for our big day at The White. We were told to park at Willard Hotel. Once parked it was a short walk before our adventure into The White House began. This is not something I ever thought I would have the privilege to do. 

We got confirmation & instructions for our trip just a week before. First no strollers so we had to measure the double wheelchair. It wouldn't fit on the elevator at the White House so the secret service approved Abe's stroller. Because Mary Elizabeth was 18 she had to have an ID. Birth certificate would be ok. Oh no wait it had to be a picture ID. Thanks so some wonderful friends that was taken care of and hand delivered to our home the day before we left. 

Standing on the grounds of The White House you knew great things had been done there. Great people had graced those halls. Whether you liked or agreed with the present or any of the past presidents should not be a focus at this time. To me I was incredibly honored to be allowed to walk those same halls. Sadly others made it obvious they were not as honored. 

We were encouraged to ask the secret service any question we wanted. In the blue room Marlee Anne asked who was the first president to bring a Christmas tree into The White House. She first asked the secret service in the red room. She said she didn't know but she did know where they put it. She said they take the chandelier down in the blue room & it goes in the center. She said the secret service in that room could probably tell her. He couldn't answer but said if we would wait he would look it up. He pulled his phone out & began looking. We have been studying about the presidents in school but I wasn't sure exactly how much Marlee Anne remembered. The secret service said Andrew Jackson had a small sugar tree made but the first real tree was brought in by Benjamin Jackson. My sweet girl said thank you and walked on. Later she told us it was actually Franklin Pierce but she didn't want to tell us in front of the secret service. She had read that when studying about the presidents. 

Quick stop at Chick-fil-a because we haven't seen one in 7 days. More soon.

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