Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amanda Goes to Washington....The Final Chapter

I was pretty impressed with everything that Cathy and I saw in a short amount of time this past Friday, but I will say the entire time we were on the tour we were freaking out because the list of "to-see" things was growing by the second. Saturday was going to be a busy day.

We started our day with a beyond delicious breakfast at Art and Soul. Cathy had their breakfast and I had the lemon buttermilk pancakes with a side of some crazy thick delicious bacon. I made a valiant effort with the pancakes but it looked like I didn't even touch them. Nonetheless we were properly fueled to begin our adventure.

We started our day at the Newseum, which has an amazing view from the top:

Yup, that's the Capitol behind us (and the Canadian Embassy, aka Leann's home).

Our main reason for visiting was the JFK exhibit.

There were three separate sections to this exhibit. There was a section on the photos and photographer, the day Kennedy was shot and then there was a film about Kennedy and his relationship with the media.  They were all fascinating and worth the price of admission. 

We also saw a section of the Berlin Wall while we were there. 

I, personally, do not remember the Berlin Wall coming down since I was still pretty young. That being said, it was still pretty awesome to see this piece of history up close and personal.

There was also a section on 9/11. If I thought the JFK area was emotional, I was not prepared for 9/11.  

Seeing a piece of the tower surrounded by the front pages from the day after was a lot to take in. There was also the belongings of a reporter who went to capture the story and did not survive.  They also had a film playing with the first reports and the reporters that covered it. Cathy and I had to walk out, it was just all too much. It still feels fresh.

The rest of the Newseum included newspapers throughout history, a workings news studio, lots of interactive exhibits and one of the coolest things, in my opinion, the front page from every state and a few countries.

It is so neat to see the front page from various states!

They also had a pretty awesome gift shop, just ask my sister.

Thankfully, she did not purchase those. I'm also shocked this photo came out as well as it did because I was laughing so hard, it should have blurred.

Our next stop was the National Museum of Natural History

I think this was one of the busier stops we made. There were just a ton of people. All of the animal rooms were really neat and the bug area totally creeped me out. However, my favorite stop was the Hope Diamond.

And yes, I was the a-hole that said, "I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end!" Side note, my sister is not a fan of the Hope Diamond because it is surrounded by 'bad juju'.  

After exploring the museum and subsequently the gift shops, we headed to the sculpture gardens for lunch and some walking around. 

After the gardens we went into one of the art gallery's and I was able to see a Monet up close and personal. SO amazing! 

At that point we knew our day was done and we had to high-tail it back to the hotel to meet our shuttle for the airport. 

While our joint trip ends there, my trip continued at the airport. I shared my flight with, I don't even know how many, WWII veterans. They were on a day trip to DC to see various memorials, including the WWII memorial.  All of them had on matching shirts and hats that said they were vets. They also were wearing buttons that had a photo of them from when they were in the service. This alone made me smile.  Then the waterworks started. 

The gate rep from AirTran announced she was going to board our flight and that there were veterans from WWII on our flight. They would be given priority boarding as a thank you for their service. That's right, business class and priority customers would have to wait for these men to board the plane. I teared up.

When we landed and exited the plane I saw a bagpiper. Bagpipes alone make me a mess, but to know that he was there for these men turned me into a hot mess. As each man came off the plane the bagpiper played one of the military songs. 

If I wasn't already close to ugly crying I then saw what was waiting for them past security. There was a group of people lined with the American flag and signs that said, "thank you for your service!" I cannot remember the name of the group that does this, but whoever you are thank you. It was so amazing to see these men honored for something they did so long ago and that it still matters to people today. 

Talk about the perfect way to end a trip.  All four days were amazing and I am so glad I was able to spend that time with my sister. Thanks for tagging along Tay Tay!

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