…continued from yesterday.
When he saw me, I think it took a minute but he did recognize me. We took a few minutes to catch up while one of his students called her friend Gabby…who I used to babysit way back in the day. When she was just a little girl. I kept my back to her until she approached our little circle and when she saw me, she screamed! I can’t remember the last time I saw her! We hugged and I had to take a few minutes to grasp the fact that she has grown into a beautiful young lady! Pictures were taken to prove this strange coincidence actually happened.
Gabby and I went into the gift shop to pick out gifts for her
little not so little brothers back in Iowa. I don’t get back home very often, but usually when I do, I get to see a lot of the youngsters I used to babysit at church. It’s been almost two years since I’ve been able to make that happen, though. I can’t believe that I got to see Gabby, but had to go all the way to Washington, D.C. to do so!
I also found out that while the band was playing at the World War II museum that morning, another band alumni randomly stumbled upon their performance! GUESS WHO!? One of my very best lifelong friends and bridesmaid in my wedding, Erin! I couldn’t believe my ears. She was in town for work, but had given up Facebook for Lent and had no idea everyone was in DC. So, I called her up right away and we made plans to have dinner that evening with another friend, Ashley, from home who lives and works at Georgetown University. But then, come to find out, another friend, Kyle, from high school and his wife were in town visiting Ashley so it was going to be a giant N-town reunion…IN DC! Are you following this?
After making sure Gabby got back with her group, I decided to head upstairs and finish my tour of the museum, still trying to digest the past 30 minutes and how crazy it all was. I decided to call my mom quick because I had to tell someone! When I got to the part about having dinner with Ashley, Erin, Kyle and Laura, I looked up and — are you sitting down? — who should be standing not even ten feet away from me, but Ashley, Kyle and Laura. I said to my mom,
“I’m going to have to call you back…”
and hung up. I stood there dumb-founded for a good minute before I hesitantly walked up to the group trying to decide if I was seeing things or not. They probably thought I was a psycho before they recognized me because I was just staring at them for a while.
I caught up with them for a bit and reconfirmed the dinner plans for later that evening. I only had a small amount of time before I had to be back at the conference, so I finished touring the Air & Space museum, and did a quick once over the Natural History museum. I didn’t have much time, so I literally was speed walking around (probably looking like an idiot) trying to take in as much as I could. It’s such a cool place, I bet I could have spent a good 4 hours in there.
|The Hope Diamond|
Oh, right. The Hope Diamond. I forgot they kept it there. I knew I had found it as soon as I saw the massive crowd of iPhones, iPads, and other various picture-taking-devices around a glass case whose contents I could not see. It immediately reminded me of the display of Princess Kate’s dress, shoes, earrings, and maybe a used tissue? that were on display at Buckingham Palace. EVERYONE had to take a picture. Well, I didn’t know what the big hype was about the Hope Diamond, so I thought maybe I could squeeze in close enough to read the sign in front of it. I quickly learned that my elbows are not pointy enough to make that happen, so I did what any other curious idiot would do, I held my camera above my head, pointed it in the general direction, and began snapping. I can honestly say that I have not seen the Hope Diamond with my naked eye. However, I was still curious, so I asked the museum guard standing watch about it.
|Erin, Ashley, Kyle, Laura, me|
DC is an incredibly beautiful city any time of day. I couldn’t get enough pictures of the capital dome. I think the one I took of it at night is probably one of my favorites.
|The view from JFK’s grave.|
The above picture is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. In 1921, the tomb of the Unknown Solder was developed to honor soldiers. It is the resting place for the unidentified remains from the wars of the twentieth century. This tomb has become a part of our history, and allows us to remember the wars, and especially the soldiers who fought in them. The significance of the soldiers who sacrificed their futures to benefit ours will never become obsolete, and neither will their tomb.
A respectful, silent audience watches the polished shoes of the guard make the twenty-one steps across the monument. The guard is perfectly assembled, and reminded me of a toy soldier more than a person. He will never stray out of place, and will stand guard precisely until his shift is over. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded in this manner, to honor and protect the unidentified remains of the brave people who gave their lives for our nation.
I was (again) very curious about the tomb and the ceremony of the changing of the guard, so I did a little research back in the Visitor’s Center and grabbed a pamphlet that goes into greater detail. I was amazed at the story behind the tomb. I’ll share a bit of what I found most interesting with you, and please note that some of this is taken from the pamphlet, as my memory does not have the ability to recall fine details… 🙂
It is a memorial to the dead of both World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Over 4 million people visit this beautiful tomb every year, to watch the changing of the guard, the laying of the wreath (my sister presented a wreath with her 4-H club when she was younger), and to simply view a part of our history. Not only is the monument a piece of history, but it encourages us to remember the historical events it represents.
In the 1920’s when the tomb was built, we were unable to identify the remains from the soldiers, due to the fact that DNA testing was not available. To be able to honor these important people, it was decided that a single tomb would be made, and the Unknown Soldier inside would represent all the soldiers with unidentified remains.
“Here rests in honored glory an American solider known but to God.”
Today, we have ways to test DNA and determine the identity of remains. But knowing the names of the soldiers does not change what they have done for our county. The monument no longer holds the Unknown Soldier, but it does hold a Medal of Honor, to honor all of the unknown heroes who have defended the ideas of the American flag, and sacrificed their lives in the process.
I remember seeing the changing of the guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace and thinking it was very impressive. But comparatively, this was a far more moving and impressive ceremony. Our history must be remembered and valued forever.
…I realize that I basically just wrote a nice little essay about the tomb, but I told you I was fascinated by the story and the ceremony…so there you have it.