Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Washington Wednesday!

Well today was a bit different from the last two! It was rainy, cold and windy, which is strange for this time of year here. We made the most of it and really had an enjoyable day.

This morning, we did a walking tour of the monuments including the World War II memorial, Lincoln and Washington monuments. At the WWII memorial, we saw an entire bus filled with WWII vets. That was very touching to see them looking at a monument dedicated to their sacrifices. I was able to photograph a few of them as they stood there looking at the beautiful marble, probably with memories of horror in their minds. What a touching scene. I was able to speak with a very few and thank them for their service. As our vets are dying by the hundreds, I count it an honor to be able to thank as many as I can see.

We hurried in the rain to the Department of State. We went through the check point only to find out that we had entered the wrong side. We had to then boat down the street (well, not really, but it felt that way!) to another entrance and be "secured" yet again. We were escorted by two Marines to the Diplomatic entertaining rooms. They were beautiful and we really learned a lot about the history of several pieces that were in the rooms including the desk at which the Treaty of Paris was signed and a clock that still works that was made in the 1700's. The furniture and art is valued at over $90 million. We were right there by it all, however we did not touch it due to the staunch Marines standing watching our every move! I was able to get one of them to "break" and actually make conversation with me. He told me that Hillary Clinton was just downstairs, right underneath our feet. She had hosted a breakfast just a short time before our arrival. That was pretty neat to know that she was there, although, she forgot to text me herself to let me know that she was! Oh well, maybe next time.

Next was the Capitol Building tour. We ate lunch among greatness (and maybe not-so-greatness too!) there in the cafeteria of the Capitol. The room was bustling with excitement and casual meetings. As much as I wanted to shout out to find out who I was eating amongst, I did not-thankfully! We met with Congressman Burgess' secretary who guided us to the corridor that runs from the Cannon building to the Capitol rotunda. We were able to have a fabulous tour of many rooms in the Capitol. A special pass provided by Burgess (thank you, sir!) allowed us to sit in on Congress in session. There was a pretty heated debate on a bill concerning hate crimes. I think the students really learned a lot from that because it spawned heated discussion once out of the building. What a neat and wonderful opportunity. We all felt like we were living C-Span!! Oh, to keep track, we went through two more security check points! If you are keeping track, we are actually up to 5! We were quite secure today!

After a quick snack at Starbucks, we headed to church in historic Alexandria. This fairly large Baptist church was started in the 1700's when Benjamin Franklin was making history here. The sermon was great...which you parents would be thankful to know that he discussed being thankful for your parents and your heritage!

The hotel was kind enough to drop us off at our dinner location at the Seafood Market. We enjoyed a lovely fare including mussels, clams and various and sundry interesting-looking seafood choices. To top it off, we had ice cream at an old-fashioned parlor. A few boys went swimming and then came the big bed-crash!

Thanks for checking in today! Pray for the rain to stay away tomorrow! What an amazing time we are having! Thank you again for your support!
**Due to the incredibly slow internet, I can only post a few pictures at a time! Will post as many as I can tonight.

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