Wow! What a weekend! I just have to say that our life is really cool!! We had such an amazing. holiday weekend. Friday night we hung out with some friends who are also here from Utah for the summer and played games and went "house hunting" (aka drive around and see who can spot the biggest house then try to figure out how to get there and go see it!) There are a lot of incredible homes out here. Saturday we went with the same friends to the National Zoo. And I rode the metro!!!! (which I love now, but was a little nervous with at first!) It's kind of like a subway, but sometimes it's above ground. ANd WAY cleaner than a subway. It's alwayds a good time. :)
I'm on the Metro!!!
This is the world's longest escalator. This is what we had to go up to get to the street to walk to zoo. The picture doesn't even do it justice! And it was steep too!It took somewhere between 5-6 hours to get through the whole zoo, it was huge! But perfect weather for being out and about; we really enjoyed it. Nate's favorite part of the zoo was watching the other "animals"- all the weird people! Sara thought it was way cool to see the pandas becuase this zoo is one of three in the nation that have giant pandas. She also enjoyed seeing the octopus in the invertebrates house because she's never seen one before. After the zoo, we headed to Capitol Hill to watch the rehearsal for the National Memorial Day concert on the lawn. It was a really neat experience and there were lots of famous people. Gladys Knight, the dad from Smallville aka Luke Duke, Sarah Brightman, Dennis Leary, Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump, and several others. Favorite moment of the concert was when the National Band played each song from the armored forces and brought out a leader to represent each unit, then had all those who have served or who are currently serving stand up in the audience while their song was played. It was so patriotic, I just couldn't believe that I was there!
Monday we woke up early and headed to Arlington Cemetery. The Laying of the Wreath Ceremony was going to be happening with President Bush, so we wanted to go spend the morning there at the cemetery. We ended up not being able to go to the ceremony (thanks a lot secret service for just making up rules whenever you want to-LONG story), but we were still able to walk around the cemetery and see many of the famous graves. I can't really put in words how it felt to be walking around those sacred grounds, especially because it was Memorial Day. It was so peaceful, solemn, and overwhelming all at the same time. There really wasn't a lot of people walking around becuase most everyone was locked out of the cemetery until the President left. We watched the anti-aircraft machines give a 21 gun salute at the beginning of the ceremony, and we also heard the National Anthem sung. It was all absolutely breathtaking. There are over 290,000 graves at the cemetery and the white uniform tombstones seem to neve end. I was very emotional.
Some friends had gotten us tickets to go up the Washington Monument, so we decided to tleave the sacred cemetery and head over to The Mall. As were leaving the gates, everyone was yelled at to freeze where they were, and suddenly gaurds started rushing traffic off the street to a turn off. What do you know, here come the sirens and a very long, very black, motorcade. President Bush was leaving the grounds and we just so happened to be right there on the sidewalk as he drove by. He waved from his limo right at us!! See slideshow for picture, though you can't see his face, we sure did! Again, I don't feel like this is my life! It was pretty awesome!
Althought I was terrified of going straight up a very narrow 500 feet to the top of the Washington Monument, I knew I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I do not do heights, but I'm sure glad I did this time. At the top, there are these little windows you can look out on every side that gives incredible views of downtown. Note: if you are afraid of heights, it's totally cool to look out, just don't look down! On the way down the elevator, a small tour is given and at points the elevator windows open up and you can see stones dedicated to George Washington from every state in the US inside the monument that go back to like the early 1800s or something. Again, way cool. From here, we parted ways with our friends and decided to do our own thing. Nate and I walked up to Union Station and had World Famous Bourbon Chicken :). We then took the metro down to the Lincoln side of the mall and walked to all of the presidential and war memorials. Yep, every single one! Nate keeps trying to remind me that we will be here all summer and we don't have to see EVERYTHING right away, but I just get too excited and want to do it all right now! It was another beautiful day, so I'm glad we did all the outside stuff, so when it's blazing hot, we can do the Smithsonions on those days. I hope that all of our weekends this summer can be like this! Yes, we got some sun and some blisters from all the walking (we figure atleast 10 miles walked by each of us), but it's SO worth it! It was a perfect memorial day that I will always remember. I can't think of a better way to pay tribute and remember those who have gone before us. At each of the war memorials, it was such an awakening for me and it all felt so surreal that I was here, in the nation's capitol, realizing my true blessings. It was really difficult to not be emotional and I was just completly speechless and in awe. The Korean War Memorial hit me the most; it was so real. Their eyes look like they are staring at you, hopelessly, and I just felt so heavy hearted. I am greatful for my freedom, and am so blessed to have the life I do! I'm so glad that we were given this opportunity to be here; it's certainly been a eye-opening experience for little naive Sara from northern Utah! We hope you enjoy our slideshow and certainly hope that there's plenty more where that came from! Hope you all enjoyed your memorial day weekend, whatever you did, and although it sounds corny, God Bless the USA!