When we saw the Washington Monument from the Station, Emily had a flash of excitement and then both of us recalled a certain Mr. Smith who took off to see the monument. We, however, very exhausted and recognizing a schedule, took our bags and hastened to College Park, to leave our bags there before proceeding. It was a nice place to stay but we were too late to get back to the capitol for our scheduled tour, so after getting some food at the Bagel Place (very good espresso and excellent bagel sandwiches) we went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I was a little worried that it would be over tourist-y, but it was not. It was very beautiful and had a contemplative sort of atmosphere, one that encouraged prayer. We entered one little alcove that, inlaid in the entrance, had the lines of a slave ship. On the right hand wall was a sculpted plaque that portrayed progressively people being captured, sold into slavery, whipped in the fields, liberated, and standing in a mixed group facing the cross together on the far wall. It was very striking. We were about to leave when a woman who was sitting in a corner asked strongly, "Do you understand?" I was reminded of the house of Mr. Interpreter.
In the sanctuary was a shrine set up by descendants of Eastern Europeans who had been forced from their homes during the thirteenth century by the Turks. I was reminded of today's problems of terror and displacement, so while we were there I prayed for those displaced by ISIS and those who have received the refugees.
On the second day we did actually go down to the monuments. We did not plan to see, and I was unaware of, the United States Navy Memorial. But when we came out of Archive station, there it was. It was pretty neat to see how the sculptures in the plaques reflected all the different levels of participation and assistance and history of the Navy. We took some time (and Emily took pictures) before moving on. We went to the Museum of Natural History and accidentally spent six hours there. It was a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed the skeletons and the stones.
Afterwords, we grabbed a bite to eat and headed out to the Washington Monument. It is majestic. As we walked away we could see a stage and speakers and lights being set up. It turns out, there was a big event planned to show and encourage Christian unity and growth with lots of performers and speakers.
Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, a John Paul Jones Memorial, a little tribute to the volunteers from D.C. for "The World War"--we saw a lot.
Saturday evening we went to St. Matthew's. Coming outside from that peaceful service, we walked through panhandlers. I asked one of them about sharing with each other. That idea was met with scorn.
We spent a long time at Union Station waiting for our bus home at 12 or 1 in the morning--I forget which--but that was a beautiful place. There were statues up high on a ledge in the walls surrounding the big room in the old front. Emily took some pictures. When we went to the more specifically designated waiting area for our bus, it was less grand, but still decently comfortable. Then at last the long ride home.
I'm very glad we went, and very glad we made it safely home.
"Good bye to the street lights, hello to the sweet pines..."