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……………or on Sunday!

March 25, 2012

I think by this point all of you realize that the last day of the trip is NOT the day I’m gonna post anything. And I WOULD have posted on Friday while we were waiting during our layover in Nashville (very nice airport, BTW) but my darling son went and checked his laptop!! Jude Devereaux never had a more attentive reader than I during those two hours…..

OK! So our last day in DC, after taking a day off for poor ol’ Teej to recuperate from whatever weirdness happened to him, started off with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery. I was very excited to go here, but the experience is almost too much for words. I’m sure everyone that visits has their own emotional reation to it, but for me and TJ it just really drove home the point that there’s a whole lot of brave men and women that serve in so many areas in our country to protect it and better it. I just felt overwhelmed with gratitude for their sacrifice and willingness to fight for millions of people that they’ll never know or meet – and to die for them. I hope that by us visiting them and paying our respects to them (and sharing it with you) that it validates what they’ve done for the US.

Anyway….let me hop off my soapbox and post some pictures!

Every where you look, there’s white marble headstones. I was somewhat surprised that there weren’t JUST the white headstones we’re all used to seeing. Size, shape, and color are dictated by rank and position and have to fall in Arlington guidelines. In some areas, it looks like any large cemetery, anywhere in the US.

This is a very, very old part of the cemetery with graves dating back to the Civil War era. In fact, the white square sarcophagus in the back ground is the final resting place of Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, the man who orchestrated the “foreclosure” of Arlington House and her land and petitioned the government to turn the 1,100 acres into a national cemetery. Once a comrade of Robert E. Lee, who was married to Mary Custis (a great granddaughter of Martha and George Washington), Arlington House was where the Lee family lived at the outbreak of the Civil War. Even thought Gen. Lee was presented in the media as being a Benedict Arnold and turncoat, I find his willingness to sacrifice everything he had so that he would not have to raise a hand in combat against family & friends quite honorable.

Arlington House still stands today, and is quite remarkable on the outside. Inside, however, it is somewhat a small residence – not what you expect when you see the outside. But it DOES have the best view of any property in Washington, as it looks down a hill towards the Lincoln Memorial, with all of the monuments and the Capitol building spread at it’s feet.

This will give you an idea of the size of those pillars (and a look at the ridiculous faces my son makes when you try to take a good picture of him).

We were fortunate to be able to walk inside and watch some of the restoration work they are doing to Arlington House. Some of the Lee family’s personal touches, especiall Gen. Lee’s, are still in the house.

And, lastly, the amazing view…

To the left, is the Lincoln Monument, moving right you can make out the Old Post Office, Washington Monument, the Capitol building, and some of the Smithsonian Castle. It was a really foggy day that day and while it gives an air of mysety to my shots, it made it hard to see everything!

Now, while we were there, these little things called “cherry blossoms” decided to bloom. We were very lucky to have this happen while we were there, as they are a hot commodity this time of year. Of course, the trade off was very warm and humid weather. Once you got used to walking around in wet clothes, it wasn’t so bad! (No….it was bad.) BUT the payoff was getting incredibly beatiful pics of cherry trees at Arlington. I took them, but once I saw them on screen, some of them took my breath away….(yes, I just complimented myself there)

(TJ took this picture, and I don't what it is - but I love this picture!)

(Sadly, I just checked the Cherry Blossom camera set up at the Tidal Basin and all the blooms are almost all gone now. Our driver told us on the way back to the airport that they were expecting a storm that would blow most of them away that evening – but that’s what nature intends and she doesn’t wait for festivals!)

My last shot from Arlington will be an iconic one. Remember to thank a soldier when you see them. Even if you don’t agree with policy, these people keep our country safe and most serve honorably and humbly.

Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Next, we rode the Metro (which is hotter, meaner version of the lovely Luas we used in Dublin) back into DC. I told TJ it felt like we were birthed out of that hot, humid sweaty underground into a bright, new world when we came out of the station. And, somehow, the Metro stations manage to disappear from view once you’ve taken 10 steps away from it. Weird. Must be some kind of magic or something (or really good engineering, TJ said, but he has no imagination)…..

We strolled into Federal Plaza where we saw the National Archives (with it’s five mile long line waiting to get in), the J.Edgar Hoover FBI building (I really wanted there to be a monument to Scully & Mulder there) and we took a gander at the Ford’s Theater (where President Lincoln was shot) and the Petersen House (where he died). Ford’s Theatre was not what I expected:

OK, here’s my beef – it didn’t look old-timey or anything!! I turned to TJ and said, “What the heck?? What were the Lincoln’s seeing there? ‘Twilight’???” I admit, I was a skosh disappointed. AJ said I would have been happier had I gone inside, but due to our one day off for illness, we just didn’t have time to do that stuff.

Our last museum we visited was the National Crime and Punishment Museum. It’s a paid museum (one of the few in DC) and it was worth every penny. TJ and I spent 2 hours browsing through stuff and had the best time. They have alot of interactive things that show you all aspects of crime, law enforcement, and detection. TJ made quite an impression by doing an FBI simulation where he had to shoot a criminal trying to shoot him. He nailed him with a head shot (fatal) and two gut shots. The dude running the simulation was like, “Mmmm ‘kay, can you give me the gun back NOW!” AJ said she was surprised FBI agents didn’t step out through secret doors and go, “Mr. Hoover, come this way with us please…” I told TJ that maybe it was a good thing that we’d let him play all those Modern Warfare games on his Xbox!

They also had a large collection of things from medeival times to current, and things owned by serial killers. It may seem strange to some of you, but me and my son have a fascination with all things law & order related (other than SVU). In fact, I recall that at one point during the day, TJ turned to me and said, “This may sound wrong, but I do belive the Zodiac Killer is my favorite serial killer.” Yep. He did.

Some of their collection was creepy and gory. Like………………..John Wayne Gacy’s “Pogo” & “Patches” clown costumes: *shudder*


Yes, that’s a super creepy self-portrait by Gacy in his Pogo costume. *shudder*

Bonnie & Clyde’s recently air-conditioned car:

The blooody floorboards from Jesse Jame’s house that were cut out after he was murdered by………….that one guy.

That’s Frank James’s walking cane too! 

This here is the last (purportedly) gun left from the gunfight at the OK Corral & used by Wyatt Earp:

Gosh, I just realized eveything I’ve shown you could be considered gory and gross! Let’s see if I can find a picture that isn’t:

I call this shot "The Dummy and the Mannequin"

*Sigh* Nope. Not gonna happen. This poor fella had been shot with a shot gun, a rifle, stabbed, strangled, and somehow lost one of his toes. He had a bad day. And HOW, I ask you, does a manequin’s feet get dirty?? Actually, I don’t want to think about that right now……..gonna go hide in the closet for a while.

They shoot ‘America’s Most Wanted’ in a studio in this museum, and here are a few of America’s least wanted:

Again, with a face only a mother could love………….and want to smack!

I. Am. Short.

So after three full days of sightseeing and walking all over DC and back, TJ and I left with alot of great memories and an itch to return to see more……, I admit. I left TJ there.

Thanks for following along on our trip and I hope you enjoyed what I’ve put up here! Until next trip………….

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