It has been a wonderful day here in DC. The weather wasn't great - overcast with a light mist falling off and on - but I hardly noticed. After a day of traveling Ang and I crashed last night in the hotel. They have great cable here - hallelujah! Such a bonus for those of us who think ESPN is an extended viewing option.
We started out the day with the most amazing breakfast at the hotel. Did I mention it consisted of food I didn't cook served on a plate I wasn't washing? After we finished trying to out glutton each other, we waddled over the the Metro station and headed into the city.
We got off at the Metro station near George Washington University and walked down to the mall. It was neat to see the campus - coming from a small college that was the center of the town, it was cool to see a college that was a part of a city like GWU. We walked the few blocks to the Mall and started on our tourist adventures!
The first place we went was the Vietnam Memorial, which is one of my favorite places in DC. I have been there before, but it was still really powerful to be back. Not being the least bit introverted, Ang and I found the guide and spent about fifteen minutes with him talking about the Wall, its history, the war itself, and finally a bit of his personal story. He was such a neat person to talk with, but there as a school group there wanting some of his attention so we said our good byes and walked the rest of the length of the Wall. I got a little choked up when I saw a man with the first name Calvin listed there. A mother somewhere lost her Cal Henry in that War. Painful.
After the Wall we went to the Lincoln Memorial, which I love. My affection began to wane about halfway up all those steps though! Fortunately there was a railing on the side, so we did survive the ascent. Standing there reading some of the words from the Gettysburg Address, Ang and I commented on how deeply influenced our forefathers were by God and the Scriptures. Oh, to return to that day! After the Lincoln Memorial we grabbed a snack and a drink, stopped this total stranger to take a picture of her hair because it was AWESOME and I think I want her hairstyle, and then went down the Mall a bit to the World War II Memorial.
Now, those of you who know me well, know this Memorial was special to me. One of the things I was most looking forward to on this trip was seeing the WWII Memorial. WWII has become a passion of mine (I know it's weird, but I;m going to be transparent about it anyway...) and I was so glad I had watched Ken Burns documentary "The War" because so much of what I saw and read there was familiar to me. I couldn't help but think of Col. Frazier, a WWII veteran I met briefly and whose book (Hell's Guest - it is a must read for every American, especially the ungrateful, entitled ones...) made a deep impression on me. The Memorial is beautiful. It is hard to believe, but in a few short years we will lose the last of our WWII veterans and with them some valuable history and wisdom.
Our next stop was probably our longest stop, although we went through it faster than we wanted to. Ang and I decided to tour the Holocaust Memorial Museum. We were on the fence about this museum before we got here, but it felt like something we both wanted to do today. If you come to DC, you must go to this museum. It almost feels like a living, breathing space with whispers you can't quite ignore. It isn't designed for shock value, it is just a true, painful walk through that dark space in history. One of the most difficult exhibits to view, was an area that was filled with the shoes of Jews who were exterminated at one of the concentration camps. Hundreds and hundreds of shoes. I saw one small slipper, and my heart broke. Some one's daughter wore that shoe in the last moments of her life. The museum does a great job of laying the groundwork for what was allowed to happen under the Nazi rule. It is easy to say that if we lived during such times, surely we would resist what was clearly evil. Yet here we are in a nation where children are aborted every day and no one stops on the streets of this city to grieve or carry that burden. There was a board that listed the names of those who hid Jews and highlighted some of their stories. Ang felt convicted about what we as individuals are supposed to do in our time to save precious babies. It is a thought to ponder...
We ate a quick bite and went to the Supreme Court to spend a few minutes praying there. There is an amazing group called Bound4Life who are committed to praying consistently for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and they are usually found outside the steps of the Supreme Court praying with red tape that says "LIFE" on it over their mouths. It sounds edgy and radical, but it is a prayer movement (not a protest) to petition God to intervene and bring this nation back to the foot of His throne and to reverse the abortion laws. When Ang and I decided to come to DC, praying there was something we both felt called to do. I am almost ashamed to say it, but doing this felt a little far outside my comfort zone. It isn't that I don't have a heart for prayer about this - I do - but to stand in front of our nation's highest court with red tape over my mouth and people walking by...I confess that it was heavier and harder than I thought. We talked with Lane from JHOP (Justice House of Prayer), got our official red tape, and spent a few minutes in front of the court praying. The police officer on duty walked down and checked us out, but must have decided we were harmless enough to let be. Another security guard walked by a few minutes later and waved and said, "How are ya?" Apparently he has seen the red tape warriors before. I am not a radical by nature, I confess I can be easily intimidated into complacency, but this felt like a right thing for me to do. I am planning on taking my red tape and putting it on my fridge to remind myself to stay a prayer warrior back in my own home.
It was a long day of sightseeing, but it was amazing! Being in DC, among all this monuments and the history and the pervasive sense of power is an experience. So much here points to the abilities and successes of man, and it feels like God is easily dismissed. There is actually a public bus that has a holiday message from the Atheist Society that reads something like, "Forget God! Just be good this season!" A city of wisdom, power, and authority? In the end, a lot of brick and stone for bunk. It is a strange place, DC.
Well, enough of the play by play I suppose! I miss you all tons and will try to post again tomorrow. We are planning to sleep in a bit and then hit the third largest mall in the US. From the steps of the Supreme Court to a shopping spree - weird transition, huh?
Good night from DC!