I would have loved to take the whole family, but my boys and crowds? Yeah, not so much... I brought lots of pictures and keepsakes home to share with them though :). And some cool light-up toys and space ice cream (freeze dried) from the Air and Space Museum ;). Bitty was the only one that actually liked the ice cream, I guess he was excited to find ice cream that wasn't cold.
It was an amazing experience to see so many everyday Americans coming together from all around the country, people from all walks of life and all ages, from infants in strollers to great-grandparents in wheelchairs and everyone in between. It was an honor to see so many veterans there as well. If you're interested, you can see the whole program (from C-Span) here.
(warning - I tried to limit myself but there are still LOTS of pictures in this post)
We arrived Friday afternoon (the day before) and after we got checked into the hotel, decided to go scope out the Lincoln Memorial so we'd know how to find our way there the next morning.
Judging by the lawn chairs, blankets, and coolers, it looked like people were already starting to gather for the next day's event (technically there is no camping allowed at the Lincoln Memorial but the grounds are open all night so we found that several families had done "shifts" in order to stake out a good location). These were taken ~6:45pm on 8/27:
We got a few hours sleep and took the last train before they closed for the night, just before 3am. By the time we walked from the metro station to the Lincoln Memorial, it was around 3:30am when we arrived. There was already a good-sized crowd gathered and a steady stream of people arriving, which continued for the rest of the morning. We were early enough to find a spot under the trees that was reasonably close - we could have gotten closer but we preferred a spot that would be shady when it got hot later in the day :).
The woman in the red shirt that says, "2nd Generation Patriot" also had her family there wearing similar shirts that said "1st Generation Patriot" and "3rd Generation Patriot." Very cool.
My mom and I :).
Around 8am I decided to walk up to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial so I could get a better view. The crowd was jam-packed even on the sidewalks so it took about 30 minutes to get there. Had to laugh when I saw this guy along the way, now there's one way to get a better view ;).
When I walked up the steps and turned around, what an amazing sight (the picture doesn't quite do it justice). Both sides of the reflecting pool were completely full (beyond the trees even) and people were filling in at the far end of the reflecting pool. This was taken about 8:30am, so there was still an hour and a half before the rally was scheduled to begin, and the steady stream of people arriving continued.
After that I didn't take as many pictures, but I did get these two just as the rally was getting started (10am).
I grabbed the camera again when I happened to look back and see people actually sitting on top of the porta-potties to get a better view. Umm... can't say I would've wanted to be up there. lol. If you look closely on the left, you can see another guy up in a tree, this one even managed to take a cooler up with him – resourceful :).
Love this, it was sooo hot outside and a fire truck that was parked near the WWII Memorial had turned on their hose so the kids (and a few adults, lol) could cool off :).
Last picture of the day, as we walked back to the metro station. Ended up taking us something like 2 hours to get back to the hotel (the Smithsonian metro station was closed and we ended up having to walk several more blocks to the next one) and we were EXHAUSTED but it was well worth it.
My mom and I spent three days in DC so we did some sightseeing while we were there. I have been to DC several times but always for work or school so I never really got to do sightseeing before. It was great :). And I think it was the first time she and I have gotten to spend that much time together since... well probably since I lived at home (and no, I'm not going to date myself by telling you when THAT was, at least not today, hehe). There is still so much we didn't get to see, I think we're going to have to take another trip ;).
We were able to see the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The words didn't really come out in the picture, but on the tomb is engraved, "HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD"
Washington Monument (complete with tourist-y photos of ourselves, hehe)
Lincoln Memorial (including one taken from inside the top of the Washington Monument)
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Other sights around DC
At the National Archives we had the opportunity to see the original Constitution and Declaration of Independence. They don't allow photography inside so I don't have pictures but it was such an inspiration to see them!