mimi Does Monuments!

I am one tired puppy, let me tell you. I wish I’d remembered the pedometer, because I have no idea how much we walked. I only know it was a lot. After a yummy breakfast at Afterwords Café near Dupont Circle, we hoofed it down Connecticut Avenue to Lafayette Square, then over to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I’ve been to DC before, but my memories of a lot of these places are from a tour bus. How great to walk up! I only wish we could have scored tour tix, but alas, the denizens of Chez mimi do not, in themselves, constitute a school group. We’ll have to settle for a Capitol tour Monday instead.

After the White House, on the Museum of American History. We took our time (First Ladies are the coolest! Julia Child is my new hero! They need more artifacts in the pop culture section!), did some experiments in the science lab, played on the Chicago streetcar, and basically wore ourselves out. Then, because we know how to prolong a good time longer than sane people, we toured monuments. All the monuments.

No tickets for the Washington Monument, so we walked and goggled, then down the Reflecting Pool. The new WWII Memorial is gorgeous, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial as moving as I remember (I saw it the first year it opened), the Korean War Memorial lovely, but I wonder if there’s a monument for WWI, and if so, where is it?

We spent some reflective time with Mr. Lincoln, then took a slow walk around the Tidal Basin while the sun went down. We got to see the new memorial to FDR. Let’s just say that he seriously deserves his spot in the top five of all U.S. Presidents. And also that the bounds of American tackiness don’t exist. I don’t know what exactly to say about people who pose for pictures, grinning and clowning, in front of a line of bronze statues representing a Depression-era breadline. I’m not sure there is anything to say except go read The Grapes of Wrath and then come back and apologize. Epic American fail.

I confess, I had a total squee fangirl goosebump moment in the Jefferson Memorial. He’s my all-time favorite president, and I have to say that reading the selected Jefferson quotations in the memorial and the info in the exhibit reinforced exactly why he is so awesome. Erudite and passionate, Jefferson loved life (including things that illumine life, like poetry, music, and literature) and liberty (personal liberty and the freedom to choose and learn your own path). Incredible.

Considering Lincoln, FDR, and Jefferson back to back to back really makes you wonder where today’s statesmen happen to be, if there are any anymore. I’m not sure anyone walking the halls of Congress today would deserve a monument. Think they’re wondering about their historical legacy in between cozying up to lobbyists and working so very, very hard to get re-elected? I doubt it. Maybe they need to spend a little time at the monuments themselves, just to remind them why they’re here in the first place.

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