July 11, 2013

red, white, and boom.

    After what seemed like the loneliest 6 weeks of my life, I was finally able to visit Jason and spend the Fourth of July weekend with him. Since Jason and I have been together we can’t remember celebrating a true Independence Day with the traditional BBQ and fireworks, so we were excited to take the metro into Arlington and change that.
I'm glad Jason knew where we were going
The DC Metro is so clean and cool like a space station
We took a subway through 2 states and 1 province, no big deal
    Before the day's festivities, we made a quick stop to Rockland's BBQ and ordered some delicious pulled pork sandwiches with mac and cheese. We both definitely overloaded on amazing barbeque food and were ready to have some fun! 

    We planned to escape from the crowds of people in Washington DC by staying on the other side of the Potomac and visit Arlington National Cemetery. We may have been able to escape from the crowds, but we could not escape from the heat and humidity. We walked slowly in the shade of the trees, first visiting President Kennedy’s grave and then his brother Robert’s small, white cross.
I'm thankful that it was such a beautiful day walking through Arlington
He was only 46 when he was shot and killed 
The Eternal Flame  
Robert Kennedy's Grave
    We continued up a hill to the Arlington house, which use to be the house of Robert E. Lee. The park ranger explained to us that during the Civil War Robert E. Lee abandoned his house and joined the Confederate Army. During that time, the house was used as a barracks for the Union and later a burial plot for those who had died in the Civil War to spite Lee’s choice of fighting for the South. It was fun taking the tour inside the house and then taking a moment to look at the gorgeous view of Washington DC across the River. Right now, the Washington Monument is covered with scaffolding and looks more like a spaceship than a monument, but it’s still pretty to look at.
Learning about the Lee's house and enjoying the air conditioning 
The original knocker of the Lee's house 
A Lee Family heirloom
    We stopped by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier just in time for the changing of the guard. This is Jason’s favorite thing he’s seen in the DC area. We are both always impressed at the discipline of the soldiers and how they march and handle their gun in unison. It’s a somber scene and the words “Here Rests, In Honored Glory, An American Soldier, Known But To God”, are always very moving.
Stopping in the shade
Guarded 24/7 and 365 days a year
    As it became closer to sunset, we made our way to the Marine Corps. Memorial or what I always refer to as the Iwo Jima statue. I was so excited that this was going to be where we were going to watch the fireworks because it is my favorite memorial in the DC area. We laid our blanket out on the grass a few hours before the show and ate the perfect American food: hot dogs! As it got darker, more and more people started to set up their chairs and blankets, but we really had a perfect seat centered on the view of the monument.
Nothing like a Big Gulp to refuel
It's slurpee time
    The show was incredible! The fireworks were kind of far away, but it was so gorgeous how they lit up the Memorial of the 5 soldiers raising the American Flag—you forgot that you were watching fireworks instead of witnessing American heroism during World War II. During a big moment of the show, three squiggle fireworks that popped up one right after the other confused the whole crowd. Eventually, someone discovered they were letters and shouted: “Oh, U-S-A!” We all started cheering and chanting: “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” It made both of us proud to be Americans. I only wish I could've heard the music that went along with the fireworks, but that didn't stop me from singing patriotic music in my head.
"And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free"
"And the rockets' red glare"
"From sea to shinning sea"

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