Our Nation's Capitol - My Family Travels

I sat in the very back of a small plane out of Duluth, Minnesota. My ticket read seat 2A, but the flight attendant asked my family to move due to weight distribution on the plane. So much for a good view out of the window with no plane wing in sight. I sipped on ginger ale to calm my stomach after the take off. While reading The Catcher in the Rye, I wondered how the next two weeks would play out.

My family decided to take a vacation to the Capitol of the United States of America in Washington D.C. this summer. At first, my certainty of how much fun I could have there wavered. It would prove difficult to come close to last year’s vacation to Germany and France. We stayed with my aunt and uncle during both vacations; last year my uncle was stationed in Germany, and he recently moved to Virginia to work in the Pentagon.

We began our sightseeing at the Smithsonian. The Air and Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, Museum of American History, and National Gallery of Art were quite large. Not as big as the Louvre, but considerably large indeed, and filled to the brim with interesting things to observe from Carol Burnett’s curtain rod dress to the Spirit of St. Louis. I favored the exhibits that featured the wardrobes of the first ladies. Beautiful inaugural gowns and accessories filled the cases.

Next we walked around the important monuments. The Washington Monument stretched higher in the sky than I imagined. As we walked near the Washington Monument, we saw Obama’s motorcade go by. His window was rolled down and we saw him. What a sight to see! 

It got up to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Coming from northern Minnesota, we became more than slightly uncomfortable in the heat. We used umbrellas and fans to stay cool. Every once in a while we overheard young children asking their parents why we had umbrellas, and upon hearing that it kept us cooler, asked why they didn’t have an umbrella.

Powerful sights of remembrance of our soldiers included the World War II, Vietnam War, and Korean War monuments. The Lincoln Memorial also exceeded my expectations. I had always thought of the statue as small enough to sit in Lincoln’s lap. It could probably fit an elephant or two. The large Jefferson Memorial also captured my attention.

My thoughts that it may get boring dispersed. My uncle took us on a personal tour of the Pentagon. We saw offices of four-star generals and other cool things inside the Pentagon. So much quality artwork covers the hallway walls. 

The inside of the White House was interesting to see, especially the colored rooms that housed very old furniture or reproductions of such furniture. It seemed like stepping into the past; just think about how many presidents have strode in those very rooms. I got that feeling not only in the White House, but the Capitol building as well. The old House, Senate, and Supreme Court appeared surreal. Looking on from the galleries of the current House and Senate seemed like stepping into C-SPAN.

We saw important historical documents at the National Archives, fields of tombstones at Arlington Cemetery, George Washington’s estate Mount Vernon, U.S. Botanic Garden, National Cathedral, and another view of the monuments from a cruise down the Potomac River.

Though we crammed a lot into two weeks, we left so much unseen. My trip to Washington D.C. was the most educational trip I have ever taken. 

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