Plan for this morning was a straightforward one. Get on the bus and spend time at Arlington National Cemetery.
However as with many things in life things don't always go according to plan. The coach our group used had a mechanical issue and needed to be looked at so the company elected to send a different one.
Problem is the coach and replacement driver didn't arrive until about an hour behind schedule. We all get on the bus with no problem then it’s head to Arlington. Given this was weekday traffic going from Northern Virginia into DC you can guess how congested it was.
Not only did we get started an hour late but then it took us an hour just to get to Arlington. And once we actually arrive it takes quite a while to get in due to all of the other tour buses heading the same way. By the time we’re on foot and walking into the cemetery it's wall-to-wall people, primarily student groups such as ours. As were running behind schedule we were told we can't spend too much time here. After instructing us on cemetery protocol our guide takes us to the JFK grave then it's over to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Actually between the two we also got to see Robert Kennedy's and Teddy Kennedy's graves. I don't step forward and don’t take a picture. I have my reasons.
Since I was with a group of young people and was in heroes’ ground I decided to keep those reasons to myself at that time. However I can share them here. I have no respect or regard for either man. Both possessed rather poor character. Bobby Kennedy was notorious for being vindictive and cruel. And Ted Kennedy? Well what can I say about his personal life that wasn’t covered by the media for decades? Just seems a shame to me that these two are buried among some of the finest American veterans ever.
But to counteract that, the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is still a very moving and dignified ceremony. This event is one specific thing I remember from my childhood, having been to Arlington many times during during those years. Great to hear the steel plates on their shoes and the loud clear whack it generates. As a young boy I always wondered why my dress shoes never sounded like that…
Sadly, that is as much time as we were allowed to spend in Arlington. Reason? We had to get to the Washington Monument as our tickets were for 10:30. Nothing like racing across the Potomac River, winding up in stop and go traffic, and being on pins and needles making sure you got there before 11 a.m. Because once the clock hit 11 our tickets were no good.
We made it. Then it’s wait wait wait until we finally get our elevator ride to the top. Yes I'm afraid of heights and being up here isn’t real comfortable for me. However after a few minutes I get over it and start taking pictures.
The weather was in our favor this day! Nice clear sky, some wind but it blows away the pollution and haze. As a result, good pictures.
Time for lunch. Our afternoon agenda is Capitol, the Library of Congress, and the Supreme Court. The only one of these we actually got to enter was Library of Congress. And even that again was wall-to-wall people. Even though it's touted as a public library it really isn't. Definitely some places in that building you cannot go.
We get back in the coach and the plan next is to walk on Pennsylvania Avenue right front of the White House. However as soon as we got there we found out that the street was being closed for about an hour. No doubt somebody was either coming or going. Oh well. Make lemonade out of lemons and go to the World War II Memorial!
Plan for the evening is to spend it all in Arlington. First we are dropped off at the Marine Corps War Memorial. This was when I posed for the picture shown here. I did however get a chance to walk around of the other side (the sunny side) and get a better lit shot.
It's time for us to take a break from the tourist stuff and spend a little time at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. Since Geoana and I went to the Mall Of America last summer, let's face it—this place is small potatoes. However we do get a chance to relax and eat here. I also made a quick visit to the Apple Store, have to take a gander at the Apple Watch.
Back on the bus and it's time to go to Fort Myer. The reason? Twilight Tattoo.
I've never seen this event. Closest I've ever gotten was a video mom and dad brought back from Scotland, it was a Scottish version of Tattoo.
This one was a bit different.
Enjoyable. Great music. Good entertainment. And of course it can't be a military event without firing off mortar and rifles. (Blanks, of course.) Still makes a loud noise and a whole lot of people jump.
By the time this event is over we're all bushed. Back to the hotel. The kids do some swimming and several of us grownups decided to have an adult beverage. For the third night in a row I fell asleep quickly.