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Our Honeymoon

Day 5 - Wrapping Up DC

Wednesday was our last day in DC, and we wanted to make the most of it. We had to find our balance between seeing and being, since this was not really a "sightseeing" trip but our honeymoon. By the end of Wednesday we were exhausted and footsore, but we felt that we did manage to avoid the temptation of cramming things in and instead enjoyed each other and the major things that we wanted to see on this trip.

After a wonderful breakfast (wonderful meal #8) at a nearby cafe, we started our trek. The first stop was a return to the "America Threw Up" store next to Ford's Theater to get souvenirs for Mike's family and a birthday present for my brother.

After souvenir-ing we walked over to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Judiciary Square. The memorial is very understated and peaceful, actually perfect for a busy plaza and Metro stop. You can see the reflecting pool and flag in the first picture below, and the low walls with the etched names of fallen officers in the second.

Then we headed back towards the National Mall where we first went to the Navy Memorial and the Naval Heritage Center. In the Naval Heritage Center we looked through the Navy Log, which is the Permanent National Registry of Sea Service (Navy, Marines, Coast Guard). None of our family members were entered into the Navy Log but Mike did think that he found one of his Naval Science instructors from high school (vets or their families can enter service information at the Center or online, but we didn't know any of the right information). The Navy Memorial consists of a "Granite Sea" surrounded by masts with signal flags and a bench with enscribed quotes, and the statue of A Lone Sailor.

Mike took pictures of several of the quotes inscribed around the Granite Sea:

The sea is an unnatural envirnoment for man, and it takes something extra for men to live with it. - Secretary of the Navy Paul H Nitze, 10/27/1965

I have not yet begun to fight. - Captain John Paul Jones 9/23/1779

Damn the torpedos--Full speed ahead! - Admiral David G Farragut 8/15/1864

Without a decisive naval fource we can do nothing definitive. And with it, everything honorable and glorious. - General George Washington, Letter to Lafayette 11/15/1781

We have met the enemy and they are ours. - Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry 9/10/1813

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. - Astronaut Neil A Armstrong 7/20/1969

We then crossed the street to visit the Archives, simultaneously one of the best and worst experiences. Since it was spring break, there were countless school groups in the Archives, and the noise was just short of unbearable in the line for the Rotunda. But we got to see an original copy of the MAGNA CARTA! Seeing the signatures on all of the documents in the Rotunda was amazing. I choked up as I read some of the original letters related to suffrage and civil rights. Seeing the Constitution and Bill of Rights is very different as an adult than as a kid. (These are pictures of the Pennsylvania Avenue side and Mall side of the Archives.)

From the Archives we started hiking towards the Capital. I did not remember how big it is and how far away!

When we finally reached the lawn of the Capital we could look back along the entire National Mall to the Washington Memorial in the distance. In the picture you can see the Grant Memorial in the foreground. The "protest" of the day on the lawn of the Capital was by stopinfantcircumsision.org. You can't really make out the banners in the photo, but the big ones read "The foreskin is not a birth defect" and "My penis, my body, my rights". I got a kick out of this "protest" and from watching the school kid's reactions as they read the banners. Middle school boys, predictably, just snicker at the word "penis".

We each took a picture in front of the Capital, with more of the cherry trees blooming, and snapped a couple more beautifully picturesque cherry tree photos around the Capital. The photos don't really do the experience justice. The last photo below was such a tempting image that I had to take it. Yes, I know there are security issues, but the extreme Do-Not-Enter measures are really sad highlighted against one of the symbols of our freedom: government for the people by the people.

On the far side of the Capital we each found our respective destinations. I wanted to see the Supreme Court building and sit on those steps. By the time we made it there the court was no longer in session and the steps were nearly deserted, but that just means that you can sort of make out the dot that is me sitting on the steps.

Mike wanted a picture in front of the Library of Congress, where a copy of his book, Fangs of the Wind, resides.

As we hiked back down the National Mall to swing by the White House, we were able to see the glorious vision of sunset behind the Washington Monument.

It was quite frustrating trying to find a spot from which we could see the White House. Streets are blocked off, and even the narrow street that gives the closest vantage point was guarded. The stoic guards watching the tourists take pictures of the White House made me mad. Who are they guarding against at that distance and location? American citizens?!

The first photo was taken between the fence bars, but in my mood I had to take a picture of the White House behind bars because that is what it really felt like.

Mike wanted a picture with the White House in the background, but for me the White House is a symbol of the person residing inside and I couldn't stomach taking a photo at that time.

Wonderful Meal #9 was dinner Wednesday night, but there was a caveat. The food was great, the setting not so much. We decided to eat at the restaurant associated with our hotel, the FireFly, but it was so crowded that we waited a half an hour for a table. There were people eating dinner in the waiting/lounge area, but we wanted an actual table. When we were finally seated, we were next to two very loud tables, one of which was a table of loud women having completely inane conversation that almost completely ruined our enjoyment of our meal. Despite the noise problems on this our last day in DC, we were enjoying our trip immensely and were looking forward to heading south to the the historical triangle.

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Photos taken by Mike and Maya.