Get it?! Like, monuments, and momentous, because of the monuments but also because it was our honeymoon …
Okay, ANYway, this is the final recap post from our honeymoon and perhaps my most photo-heavy post to date. Sorry if this one takes a while to load, guys, but there’s lots of good stuff here!
Our morning started in the heart of the city at the National Archives.
No photos are allowed inside the National Archives building anymore, because some of the documents have been damaged by flash photography.
The documents are pretty amazing – the National Archives holds one of four copies of the Magna Carta, as well as original copies of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. I took the time to read the 12th amendment about how the president is elected. Do you think the 1803 congressional representatives imagined when they wrote that amendment that in 200 years we would get our ballots in the mail and use ballpoint pens to cast our votes? Or that some girl from Washington state would be writing about it on the internet? Or … that there’d be a Washington state … and the internet?
Since it was the day after Labor Day, there weren’t any school tours and we pretty much had our run of the interactive part of the museum. I never would have imagined that we’d have so much fun learning about how parchment was made and the records our government keeps track of, but you know what? It was really interesting.
But we didn’t stick around for too long because there was much to see. It was much cooler than the day before, so we took a walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.
U.S. Navy Memorial
The Old Post Office, which is now … a mall
I just thought this was funny
The Treasury Department
Finally, we came to the White House.
This is as close as they’d let us get.
Then we wandered down to the National Mall to see the Washington Monument. Yes, this is what it looked like while we were there. I didn’t know this, but the monument was damaged in the earthquake that hit Virginia in 2011, and has been covered with scaffolding ever since.
The National Mall is chock-full of memorials, so we started at one end and worked our way down …
World War II Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
Vietnam War Memorial
Now, I’m making this sound like it was a leisurely stroll through the park … and it was. But we’d walked about three miles by this point, and even though I’ve said it wasn’t as hot as the day previous, it was still pretty damn hot. Proof: I doused myself with a layer of sunscreen, and added a second layer around noon, and STILL ended up sunburnt at the end of the day.
Joel found a shady spot outside the Lincoln Memorial to rest a few minutes.
But we weren’t done walking yet! We took a cab across the river to Rossalyn, Virginia and breaked for lunch. Then it was just up a hill and across a highway to the Marine Corps War Memorial, better known as Iwo Jima.
I kind of insisted that we visit this monument, and I’m glad I did – it was one of my favorites. Here’s a fun fact: the sculptor, Felix de Weldon, was an Austrian who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
From the Marine Corps Memorial, we could see a giant structure just up the hill in the distance, so we set off that direction and stumbled on the Netherlands Carillon, a giant bell tower that was gifted to the U.S. from the Netherlands following WWII.
Looking the other direction is a beautiful view across the river of the U.S. Capitol.
And from there, it was just another short walk (downhill this time, thankfully) to the edge of Arlington Cemetery, so off we went.
But we misunderestimated just how big the cemetery is. It’s about a half mile trek across the cemetery to the visitor’s center … where we bought tickets for the bus tour so that we could see the major stops without walking 🙂
The bus tour stops at a few of the most well known sites – first, the Kennedys’ graves.
Bobby Kennedy’s cross. I’ve got to be honest – I felt a little disrespectful taking pictures of a grave to post on the internet. But it was an incredibly beautiful spot.
The second stop on the bus tour is the amphitheater.
Just around on the other side of the amphitheater is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was about 15 minutes before the changing of the guard, and we weren’t planning on staying, but we were both (surprisingly) mesmerized by the guard, so we stuck around.
If you have a few spare minutes, I highly recommend perusing the Wikipedia article on the Tomb of the Unknowns, because it is fascinating. Since we stuck around to watch the guard change, we had to wait for the next bus so we had time to kill, which we pretty much just spent reading Wikipedia. The article on the 3rd Infantry Regiment is also pretty interesting.
If you aren’t interested in reading the full article, here are a few quick facts:
- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge is the second least awarded badge in the U.S. military.
- The guards wear sunglasses year-round because of the glare off the white marble.
- On-duty guards do not wear insignia of their rank, so as not to outrank the Unknowns.
The last stop on the tour was at the Arlington House, Robert E. Lee Memorial. Robert E. Lee lived in the house before the surrounding land became a cemetery (which happened during the Civil War.)
… And that’s where I’ll end the recap of our trip. We were in Virginia for about 24 hours after we left Arlington National Cemetery, but we didn’t really do anything of consequence, and it feels irrelevant to write about the shopping and ice cream eating we did later in the day. After we returned home, I was talking about visiting the cemetery with one of my coworkers, and he said “it was overwhelming, like, I haven’t done anything important in my life.”
Yeah, pretty much.
I’ll post one last honeymoon post about the food in D.C./VA next week. If you missed any of my previous recap posts, you can find links on this page.