From Snow to Sun: Washington DCPosted: March 22, 2012
Last week I jumped on a plane and ventured out beyond the bubble of winter. Fourteen hours later, I was in Washington DC, and it was 70 degrees. Talk about change. I sure wasn’t in Alaska anymore.
I made the trip to attend one of my very good friends wedding (which was wonderful) and in the process I got to see friends and family, and even spend a little time being a tourist. I have been to Washington DC several times, but it has been awhile since I revisited the historic side of the city. So I decided to take a grand walking tour: from the capital to Lincoln Memorial and back, with a final stop at the National Archives to see the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
What I liked most about this walking tour (besides the weather- shorts and a tank top!) was comparing my memories of the monuments to what I saw now. For example, as a kid I remember the Vietnam Memorial being something somber. Even then the long list of names made me quiet. It made it real in a way I didn’t really understand, but one that demanded respect. And strangely, that is much the same impact that it had on me last week. The feeling there is so much different than say, the Lincoln Memorial, where kids are hanging their feet off the sides of the stairs, laughing. At the Vietnam Memorial people are still quiet.
I walked past a father talking to his son, who was perhaps seven, trying to explain what it all meant. The father said, “These are all the people who died fighting in the war.” The son said, “But there are so many.” And a woman standing behind them said quietly, “Too many.”
I like that Washington DC is a place that brings together the past and what is happening now in our history. It is place where we get to think about what being American, and also human, means. Both important questions to ask.
It was also a nice little break from snow. But I was happy to be getting back to Alaska and Lucas, who was waiting for me at the airport with a warm winter coat. It is always wonderful to be home.