Wednesdays in Washington

When my wife and I had an invitation to take a job in Annapolis, Maryland, we thought and prayed about it, and accepted the invitation. Not only did we value the position and the work we would be doing, we also liked the idea of being near the nation’s capital.

We’ve been to Washington DC several times, but now that we’ll be living here for at least a year, we want to see as much of the area as possible. And, since Wednesday will be my day off, at least for now, that’s when we plan do our excursions. We’re calling them Wednesdays in Washington.

Our first trip to the city, we drove to the Metro station in New Carrollton, parked the car, and took the public transportation. We were stunned to find nobody else in our car. Not one other person. When we landed at the Smithsonian, we climbed the steps to exit, but I wanted a picture of the tracks below, and was surprised to find nobody there. Again, the place was abandoned. Maybe because of Covid, but it was quite strange to see a Metro station so empty.

We knew that most of the museums in town were closed, but we wanted our first visit to be at the National Mall, anyway. We were hoping there might be some cherry blossoms still on the trees, but alas, not one blossom remained. But there were three memorials we had never visited.

Walking around the basin, we came to the Jefferson Memorial. Despite the fact that it was scaffolded for renovation, it was open, and we got a chance to read about the man and his impact. His writing and speeches on liberty and freedom were probably among the greatest influences in the founding of the United States. Freedom of thought, religion, and conscience. Political liberty, education, and the equality of all people. These were some of the values and commitments he proclaimed and worked into the fabric our founding documents, laws, and policies. It’s a shame our country has taken so long to implement these concepts that were stated so long ago.

Another site we hadn’t visited was the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. FDR was president at a crucial time in history. It was a tough time not only for the United States, but around the world. The Great Depression brought poverty and ruin to millions of people, and was followed by World War II. President Roosevelt rose to the occasion in both crises and took action. One of his quotations engraved on the stone walls declared, “There should be no forgotten men, and no forgotten races.”

This allowed us to segue to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and saw the sculptor’s portrayal of MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech: This is our hope . . . We will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope” is carved into the stone which Dr. King is portrayed as emerging from.

From there we walked to the Lincoln Memorial, the Viet Nam Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the Washington Monument, talking, reflecting, and taking pictures as we walked. We had totally missed lunch, and were starting to feel the effects of not eating. Fortunately, we came across an ice cream vendor who rescued us. After resting a bit while eating our ice cream, we walked back to the Metro station and retraced our journey til we arrived back at our home. Tired, but perhaps more-informed and wiser.

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