Friday, January 23, 2009

An Awesome Day in Washington D.C.!

We boarded buses at 5:45 am, armed with mugs of coffee. The organizers immediately started passing carbohydrates down the aisle of the bus - Krispy Kremes, bagels, and cinnamon buns to get us going. Two buses from our church, each loaded with ~ 50 people, ranging in age from 2 to 70ish and a nice driver named L.T. Here's Carol, Leslie and Lisabeth, who I spent my day with. Lisabeth has been making this trip for at least 15 years. It was a first for Carol and me.

Leslie had made the trip once before, with her best friend from high school. I was delighted to share this experience with my daughter, and we were thankful for the sunshine and temperatures in the 40's. A big improvement from two days before at the President's inauguration. She looks pretty good, two days after the stomach flu!

There were still signs of Tuesday's ceremony and parade all over the city. Crews were busy taking down bleachers and scaffolding. Two of the four flags still adorned the Capitol where Obama was sworn in two days ago. It was amazing to feel so close to history.

While tens of thousands had already gathered on the Mall, 30,000 people began to pour out of a mass that had been held for the cause of the unborn. Have to give it to the Catholics - they were a strong showing yesterday! I really believe they made up 75% of the crowd.

The paper this morning estimated the marchers to be around 300,000. For one cause. We walked down Constitution Avenue, taking steps that were inches long, and literally holding onto each other, to not get lost in the crowd.

Is there anything as awesome as walking by the Supreme Court? Amazing to look up those steps, at that building, and recognize it for what it is. The highest ruling in our country.

All I could see, in front of or behind me, was masses of people.

There were some horrible posters and billboards, and certainly the crowd was sprinkled with loonies, but for the most part it was a very peaceful, God-honoring crowd. I was struck, over and over, at how remarkable it is that we could march as a mass of people, speaking out to our government about something we did not agree with. How many people around the world are not allowed that privilege?

Our capitol. Beautiful.

Mid-way through the morning, after hearing some speeches, and before joining the actual Walk, we stepped off the beaten path and stepped into one of the Smithsonians. Leslie had never been to one (I believe there are around 12 or so?). Every single one is free to the public. We chose the Museum of History, since that's what Leslie teaches. With fifteen minutes to spend inside, we picked three items to see - Dorothy's Ruby Red Slippers (they're actually a sort of maroon, covered in tiny sequins, size 6 BTW), Lincoln's Stovepipe Hat - worn the night he was assasinated at Ford's Theater, and the flag that inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

Here's Leslie with the hat. She plans to put the photo on her cyberschool website for her kids to enjoy. It was amazing to be inches from it.

We were not allowed to take photos of the flag because it's so fragile they have it displayed behind a glass wall, in dimmed light. It's huge! And amazing to see that one woman sewed it, one star was cut out of it by someone and pieces were cut off the end of it as souvineers (what were they thinking?), ..... Incredible to stand and take it in. She and I would love to go back, for several days and see as many of the museums as we can. We'd also like to take in the Holocaust Museum, tour the White House (again for me), the Capitol, and take in as much of this magnificent city as we can.

We also made a side trip, walking over to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House. We could see people going in and out, moving around inside. DH and I toured it back in 1998, then tours were closed after 9/11/01, but I believe they've opened them back up. Well worth it if you're ever in D.C. They're free - you just sign up the morning you want to take the tour, across the street.

Our last stop, before waiting for the bus, was to stop at our Congressman, Tim Murphy's office. He wasn't there but they fed us cookies and let us warm up a bit. I had no idea their offices were so accessible, and his assistant told me, "This is your office. Stop by any time." They had urns of coffee, cold diet cokes and clean bathrooms. We appreciated all three.

Finally we waited in front of the Capitol for our bus to pull up. The lawn is still covered with a sea of chairs. What an amazing day to take part in. Such an important cause to speak up for. I kept thinking, how many babies were lost today, while we were out here marching? Too many.

A few unusual sites - this was near what I think is a Botanical Gardens, with an outdoor ice skating rink. There was no plaque to explain to us why they were all headless, but people would walk up and prop their chins on top of them, for a photo. Very odd.

Leslie had no idea what this was, but the rest of us did. It's actually about 12 feet tall, a sculpture replica of an old typewriter eraser. Leslie thought it was part of a roller blade. Ah - looking through different generations of eyes.

We pulled out before dawn, watching the sun come up from a bus seat. We stopped for dinner on the way home, and watched the sun set from those same seats. Rolled in around 11:30 pm, tucked into bed around midnight. Fabulous day - an honor to take part in. Fabulous country - an honor to live in, truly.


ChupieandJ'smama said...

Good for you! Our church was represented (St. Joan of Arc). Had I known they were going I would have too. Maybe next year. God bless everyone in attendance.

Deidre said...

Great cause, indeed. I would love to have been a part of that. And, days after the inauguration is symbolic nonetheless.

However, no matter how you voted, Tuesday was historic and neat to watch. So glad you got to visit.

Gretchen said...

What great pictures, and what an amazing time, I imagine.

Lurved the typewriter eraser. I don't miss those, though.

Leslie looks beautiful. You'd never know she felt under the weather not long ago.

My son and she havegottogettogether. He loves history more than anything on earth. Favorite part? All of it. :)

Robin said...

What an awesome thing to do! I loved seeing your pictures of The City as I was just there a few months ago. I had the same feelings as you - what a city! What a country!

Barb said...

Every time the march was shown on Fox News yessterday, I searched the masses for you and Leslie but I never spotted you. :-)

Leslie is just drop dead gorgeous. My word, she's beautiful.

What a wonderful experience. I would love to spend about three days in Washington DC. Two of them would be spent in the Smithsonians.

I recognized that typewriter eraser immediately. I haven't seen one of those in years!

Great, great photos of an amazing experience.

Becky said...

What a great day!

I love Washington, DC. The entire city brings me to tears no matter where I turn. The history, the privilege, the patriotism. It is such a great city to visit.

I have not gone in the White House but I have toured the Pentagon (pre-9/11) and I just love Arlington.

Thanks for sharing your day with us.

Jen said...

How wonderful you went to this with your daughter...history. It sounds like an incredible trip....

Linda said...

What an amazing day Bev. I'm so glad you got to go. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

dsm said...

My family and I just spent a week in D.C. back in September, and I would go back now!!! Can think of no better way to spend the day, speaking up for those who can not speak for themselves. Just a note for anyone who maybe interested in the White House tour. We did this in September, and had to go through our State Congressman or Senator to get clearance. Not hard to do, just send in social security numbers, and I'm sure they do a quick check or something like that. Well worth the effort. I am jealous though. We could not get into the National History because of renovations. Opened back up shortly after we were there. Thanks for sharing your day with us. Blessings.

Kim said...

Hmmmm, being a continent away and depending on traditional news sources isnt working very well. I did not even know about the walk. I'm so glad there was a good turn-out! I'm just sick at all the changes our new president is making against life.

BTW, the botanical gardens are well worth a visit the next time you're in D.C. Free, like almost everything else, and truly amazing. It's our favorite place and we never go to D.C. without going there. Especially love the orchid room!

mombo said...

So glad you went and represented those of us who could not. I was so grieved to see the priorities of our new leader. If the number one responsibility is to protect American lives, apparently somebody forgot the tiniest American lives. Anyway, I'm amazed at the resemblance between your daughters - it makes me miss Sarah all the more. I'm back to blogging if you get the chance to check in.

Susanne said...

Wow, that is amazing. I would have been claustrophobic squished in the middle of that crowd but what a great thing to participate in. We forget sometimes how precious it is in our two countries to be able to gather like that to make a statement. I would be in museum heaven to be there. I love going to museums!

Kathleen Marie said...

What an awesome trip! Nothing is more precious than the life of a child... Great photos! My kids didn't know what the eraser was either!