A Few of the D.C. Sights

Man Cub and I have lived in the D.C. metropolitan area for just over a year now.  In that time, we have not done a tour of the National Mall.  While it may confuse some people as to why it was not at the top of my list, I will say, it’s because Man Cub decided years ago he was not going to use a stroller anymore, and I didn’t want to chase him, single-handedly, as he ran from one monument to the next.

And, although he doesn’t want to use his stroller, and since I always try to be prepared, I know realistically if he falls asleep (as is par-for-the-course while eating french fries at the Air & Space Museum), I would have to carry him sans stroller.  I take his stroller “just in case” – anyone tried to chase down a toddler, with a stroller in tow, among throngs of people in a crowded area?  Not a recipe for success – I guarantee!

This past weekend, we hosted family in town, and seeing the monuments and National Mall were on their D.C. bucket list.  We started out the day at the National Air & Space Museum, and finished the day at Hard Rock Cafe in downtown D.C.

Man Cub slept in his stroller for all of 1.0 miles of our 4.3 mile journey.  The length of the journey was calculated using GoogleMaps.  He walked over 3.3 miles on his own – given how much track we tread in the Air & Space Museum, and the steps he took at the various Metro stations.

I hope you enjoy the pictures of some of our travels this past weekend:

I have been to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum a handful of times now.  This is the first time I have noticed the National Congressional Gold Medal that was presented to the Tuskegee Airmen.  Given that one of the Tuskegee Airmen passed away during this past month, I was struck by having found it this trip to the museum.

One just simply can’t walk on the National Mall and not get a picture of the Washington Monument.  Shortly before this picture was taken, a semi-truck was barreling down the street and decided to lay on his horn as he crossed a cross-walk (not because anyone was in the cross-walk, mind you).  That woke Man Cub from his 1.0 mile nap…  He would have slept much longer had he not been awakened.  Suffice it to say, I am still slightly angry over the trucker’s actions, but at least I got a good shot of the Washington Monument.

The WWII Memorial is an absolutely beautiful sight to see – except for the dozens of tourists dipping their feet in the reflecting pool.  You should have seen the look on Man Cub’s face when he kicked his shoes off, and then his mom “read” the sign that says “no wading,” translating it to him to, “no feet in the water.”  He was rather confused as he looked around the reflecting pool and saw dozens of people, of all various ages (most of whom can read) sitting with their feet in the pool, and half a dozen (or more) toddlers and young children being openly allowed to wade in the reflecting pool.  However, Man Cub is good with following rules, even if he doesn’t like (or fully understand the “why” behind) them.  

This next picture is part of the “Freedom Wall” at the WWII Memorial.  According to the placard, it holds 4,408 gold stars – each star represents 100 “American service personnel” who died during, or remain missing from, the Second World War:

I briefly eavesdropped on a tour guide, giving her spiel to her tour group at the Vietnam Memorial.  Given the readjustment counseling I did during grad school, I could perhaps be likened to a protective animal when it comes to this monument.  So, I always keep an ear out for what is said about Vietnam, its veterans, and their memorial.

Apparently, the Vietnam Memorial was not/is not without controversy: the stones used to create the Memorial were brought over from England.  The Vietnam Memorial is the only memorial on the Mall that is not made from stone in the United States.  Others disliked how the Wall is not a grandiose memorial, and instead is carved into the side of a hill.  The other lesson I learned is reflected in the picture below – the Vietnam Memorial hosts the statues of three service members, one of whom is white, the other is black, and the third is hispanic.  This was the first statue of “persons of color” included on the National Mall.  And, those were her words in quotes, not mine:

At one point, Man Cub found a walking stick, and used it for several yards of his walk…

Man Cub was introduced to the White House.  Perhaps he will want to run for President someday – I, however, hope politics isn’t in his future!

I had mixed feelings about taking a selfie in front of the White House – since I decided I would probably not make another trip to the White House while we live here, and since I do have great respect for the Office of the President of the United States, I figured I might as well join the picture action.

The Metro Ride back to the car was a relaxing one for Man Cub.  While he didn’t sleep on the Metro this time, the feet say it all!

I will address our trip to Arlington National Cemetery in a post later this week.  I also acknowledge that there are several memorials we did not see this trip – to include the Korean War Memorial, the Jefferson, the Lincoln Memorial (although our family did walk over to the Lincoln Memorial, we stayed at the Vietnam Memorial), and the Working Dog Memorial.  Perhaps we will do another Mall walk when the average temperature outside doesn’t feel like it is 105 degrees (I kid you not).  

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