Park n’ Ride
Some days in life you have to be up early when anticipation of the the day lies ahead. You feel the pull of history to get that 8am shuttle from the campground to the train station.
As we learned last time around every Jimmy needs his Bunk. An RAF man through and through shaking off the effects of how many Buds the night before and donning a pair of Ray-Bano aviators a backpack and a carton of smokes we were ready to roll.
Where is your Tie?
The Metro ride with commuters was interesting; Adam told be to stop chatting up the locals or a least keep some powder dry the the staffers once we hit Capitol Hill.
Everyone was wearing a tie.
Stepping out into the light of that Goldilocks May morning not too hot yet ‘ come back in August the Guard at the Library of Congress warned ‘you will be sweating buckets.‘
It felt like we were stepping into Bio-shock Columbia without the Splicers.
Just a couple of blocks
Our first stop was The Monument ‘It’s just a couple of blocks’ I told our bleary eyed general. Frankly we could have spent a week there storming past Geithner, Mnuchin and Co in the Treasury department, the Botanic Garden’s. We were on a mission.
We lingered for a good while at the war memorials and felt the weight of history but there was still something magical and beautiful watching those little ducklings play beneath those 4048 golden stars. Blissfully unaware that each represents 100 American lives snuffed out so that we could enjoy our summer days.
A Self Made Man
Making our way up to the Lincoln Memorial- I believe the great man said that 3 people can keep a secret if two of them are dead. Well there were already throngs of schoolchildren, selfie sticks signs suggesting quiet reflection went unheeded.
The Long Walk
Needing to feel the fresh air and escape the noise and confines of the memorial we decided to walk to Arlington- the 40 min walk felt like a long journey and by now traffic was picking up.
As everywhere we went across the US- Security was high but the service men and women standing guard welcomed us. Thankfully the mood fitted the hallow grounds that we were now entering.
Sometimes in life you just have to go and see no history documentary, Oliver Stones Untold History of America 10 part-er- great that it is cannot do justice to walk past thousands of little white crosses amid the immaculate grounds.
‘‘I told Adam who of course was closer to the horrors of war that if a man had time to pause and reflect before the lights went out he would look in his minds eye to the rolling green hills and 300 varieties of trees- and be able to rest easy.”
22 November 1963
Next it was to the Kennedy graves. Now more books than I have in my eBay store have been written about the great man- my uncle having read most of them!
Whatever the truth about Camelot, the tape recordings or otherwise. If one photo can capture the raw emotion that is still present on the faces of fellow citizens.
Having paid our respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier we got back on the tube and set about finding The Mall.
Much to the amusement of a off duty serviceman who told:
”us you are on it.”
”Where is the WalMart?”
The Parade and The President
We walked right into a barrage of barriers, hardware it was clear something big was happening in Washington today.
It turned out that that fine May day was the Thanksgiving for the Policemen and Women right across America. As a result there were squadrons from all over the country we stopped and chatted to a group from Baltimore before over the loud speaker came the distinct tones of President Trump.
Drones over Brooklyn
The afternoon was by now heating up and feeling a little overwhelmed we ventured into air conditioned Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Within about 5 mins we had lost each other amid the WW2, Stealth and Drone Bombers and just I was about to to tannoy for the general we walked into each other.
I would have quit happily sat in the Einstein Auditorium for the rest for the rest of the afternoon but our drill Sargent would have none of it 🙂
Just leave me with the Books!
To library of congress where we were marched/ herded like the schoolchildren behind us past rooms packed with meaning and books!
‘take your pictures and move alooong!’
Searching for Kate Mara
We had been on the go for over 8 hrs at this point and a caffeine hit was required. We were yet to discover the pleasures of a big black Timmy Horton’s north of the border so it was off to Starbucks.
We pulled up a seat in the dappled shade of capitol hill townhouses marvelling at what were surely the primes of the prime real-estate in America. Taking stock of the emotions of the day we caught snippets of a white house aid scribbling down notes and no doubt getting the inside scoop on the business of the day. It felt like we were extras in house of cards.
At this point we thought we were the next RFK and JFK.
The reality was we couldn’t have looked more like tourists if we tried.
Oh and we never did make it to The White House.