Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27, 2011

Day 3

Monday morning, our “official” work week started…with some sight-seeing!!

7:04 a.m. Waiting for breakfast line…. I’ve managed to bang my head on the ceiling 3 times so far this week. (I’m on the top bunk.)

8:10 a.m. If nothing else suits me, the breakfast here is amazing. I thought of Uncle Tim, Aunt Christine, Carolyn and Rachel when I ate my granola with yogurt.

At 8:30, all the kids and their chaperones loaded up to go see Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home), and then to see the Iwo Jima Memorial (the official memorial for all fallen Marines.)

8:50 a.m. So Jackson Farmer sees the bottom half of the Washington Monument, and says, “Hey, is there a second Arch?” Whoa.

9:00 a.m. You can tell I’m from the country. I saw a flower bed blocked off by rebar and tape, and I thought it was a garden! What can I say….
(This was my view as we crossed the Potomac.)

9:36 a.m. Welcome to Mount Vernon!
(You walk under an arch on your way to the front door, and this is on the left side.)

While we waited for our tour to start, we walked around in the Visitor’s Center and the gift shop.
(An artist’s rendering of Mount Vernon’s entire property.)
(Me, with my second cousin eleven times removed. No, seriously.)
I nearly died when I saw this next “artifact.” I have never grown out of dolls or dollhouses, and I love especially elaborate ones. This just delighted my soul.
(It’s an exact replica of the mansion. This is the front side.)
(Here’s the back side.)
Finally, we made our way to the mansion for the tour.
(The view from the—well, I’m not sure whether it was the road or the driveway, but it had gravel on it.)
(This tree is completely unrelated to President Washington’s family, but it was about 300 years old. I took the picture because I was impressed that it was so big three girls could not wrap our arms around it.)
(This is the technique that the mansion’s architects used on the outside paneling.)
(See the two different colors on the house? The curators are resurfacing it using the original technique.)
And then, it was time for the tour. I would have loads of beautiful pictures of the mansion’s interior, but because many of the artifacts are borrowed from other museums, and the artifacts must be protected from flash, I have no beautiful pictures. Heartbreaking, I know.
10:44 a.m. The Grand Entertainment room is teal green! (My best friend loves teal.)
10:46 a.m. The original harpsichord of Washington’s granddaughter. Wow. Original key to the Bastille. More wow!
(The original is hanging in Mount Vernon’s family room, obviously. This is a paperweight in the gift shop.)
A little trivia for the day: The phrase “Sleep tight” originated from the times when beds had a framework of ropes in place of box springs. You would sleep better if the ropes were all pulled taut, hence the wish, “Sleep tight.” I found that kind of interesting.

(What is this? Oh, nothing. It’s just the view from the back porch. Unfortunately, the photo isn’t as breathtaking as the actual view. I would pay money to have a view like that from my backyard.)
After we toured the inside, we walked around the “backyard,” which was actually several acres of land. We saw many outbuildings and a couple of tombs: the old crypt that Washington originally built for himself and his family, and the new tomb, where the President and Mrs. Washington are currently interred.
After going through the gift shop, we loaded up the busses and went to the Iwo Jima Memorial.
This is the largest bronze statue in the world, and it was built to honor the bravery of 6 soldiers who raised the American flag on Mount Suribachi at the Battle of Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945.
There’s an optical illusion that if you look at the flag and walk around the statue, the flag appears to be rising.
While we drove to the memorial, our Program Assistant, Dani, read us a story written by a son of one of the soldiers depicted in the statue. It was about his father and his memories of raising the flag. Unfortunately, though, I can’t remember what the story was called, or who the author was, and I can’t find it on the internet. Otherwise, I would share it here.
(I couldn’t really help crying at Iwo Jima. It was our first war memorial to see, and the aforementioned story was really inspiring, and, at this point, Daniel [my older brother] had been in Afghanistan for 4 months.)
(This is the Capitol and the Washington Monument, seen from the Iwo Jima Memorial.)
1:04 p.m. Driving through Georgetown. Some ritzy houses! We even saw DC Cupcakes! Iwo Jima was a beautiful memorial. A soldier’s ultimate sacrifice is something no one should take lightly.
 “Playtime” was over, and now the work began. Well, after we ate lunch, anyways. Our first item of business was color workshops. This day, we discussed several national issues that our country is currently facing to gain an understanding of how similar issues relate to every citizen. 
3:30 p.m. Workshop was great. We discussed our Congressional Issues. Had some good discussions.
In committee, my group continued to plan out our newsletter and started delegating sections to certain girls. I was given the responsibility of the newsletter’s layout, and writing a piece on the war memorials.
4:38 p.m. Wow! Committee was really encouraging. I feel like we’re actually going somewhere with the newsletter.
After dinner, it was time for more sight-seeing. The official name of our tour was the “Nightview of Washington, D.C.”
6:30 p.m. Wow. Gas is 3.99!
First stop: the World War II Memorial. There are two sides, each representing a theater of the world where the War was fought.
This is the Atlantic Theater. Every pillar represents a state or a U.S. territory that fought in WWII.
(I loved this quote by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.)
(Me, of course, with the Missouri pillar.)
(Here’s the Pacific Theater.)
(This is the Freedom Wall. Every gold star represents 100 soldiers that died or remain missing.)
(The wall has 4048 stars. 4048 x 100 = 404,800. That’s a hefty price to pay for freedom.)
Second stop: the Vietnam Wall and its two additional memorials.
(This is the Women’s Memorial. It represents the three virtues displayed by the female soldiers that served in Vietnam: Hope, Faith, and Charity.)
(The whole entire Vietnam Wall. There’s a highway behind it, and if you go down inside the 90 degree angle at the center, you can’t hear the cars. It creates a peaceful place for family and friends to reflect.)
(The war ended in 1975, and the wall was officially dedicated in 1982.)
(This statue honors the three main ethnicities of the soldiers who fought in Vietnam. L to R: Hispanic, Caucasian, and African-American.)

Third stop: the Lincoln Memorial.
(The arm belongs to Miss Dani Hopper, our amazing Program Assistant for the week.)
(This is the very spot that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood while making his famous “I have a dream” speech.)

(This is the view of the National Mall from Dr. King’s spot. I was sad that the reflecting pool was under spring cleaning.)
More trivia for the day: No statue in D.C. may be taller than 19½ feet, which is the height of Lady Liberty, who stands atop the Capitol rotunda. Pres. Lincoln was so great, that the architects made him sitting down so he would fit the height criteria.

Fourth stop: the Korean War Memorial. This is a war that we don’t hear much about, but I think this was my favorite military memorial. Maybe it’s because my brother and sister-in-law were stationed near the DMZ for a year. Or maybe because I thought this had the neatest symbolism. I don’t know.
The low, scrubby bushes and shiny slabs of granite represented the wet, marshy terrain through which the soldiers marched. There are 19 statues, and each one has a different face. When the 19 soldiers are reflected on the wall behind them, it makes 38 figures, which represents the 38th parallel, where most of the war was fought.
(I thought this was well-stated.)

9:09 p.m. Well, we’ve seen the World War II, Vietnam, Lincoln, and Korean Memorials. Now to the Jefferson. With Cheyenne here, we won’t need the lights in the memorial—her bling will provide enough illumination. I did not just say that.
(I’m not sure if this is technically the front side or the back side. But it’s the first side we saw.)
(This is the side facing the river. The relief on top depicts the signers of the Declaration of Independence.)
(Pres. Jefferson himself. In bronze.)

10:00 p.m. Why do 2 people have to make the whole group late? Argh! I have wanted to deck several kids tonight. Jefferson Memorial’s great. Beautiful view of the White House.
(Okay, so the view was actually A LOT more spectacular. But my camera’s not the greatest. See the tree line? See the break in the center of the tree line? Okay. The white square is the White House. I’ll have a better photo later. I promise.)

10:10 p.m. Gas for 3.99? No, the most expensive gas station in the District: $5.09. Oh, I’d die.

It felt pretty good to go to bed that night. This was just the first of several very long days. Welcome to CWF.

Day Three gave me two lessons:

The world is full of amazing sights; just observe it! And always have patience for the idiots in this universe. (There is no better way to put it.)

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