Maybe this will sound contrived to many of you, but I feel it is my duty as an American parent to make sure my children appreciate the democracy in which they are privileged to live. This is not a Republican or Democratic issue…it’s an American one.
So my husband and I have always said that we should visit the nation’s capital as a family. And that’s what we did a few weeks ago.
With Metro passes in hand and good walking shoes on our feet, we spent a week immersed in the history of this great country. We went everywhere, the memorials, the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court, Ford’s Theater, Arlington National Cemetery, The Kennedy Center, several Smithsonians, Mount Vernon, and definitely the family favorite…a self-guided tour inside the White House. At one point my middle child exclaimed, “I can’t believe how much history I’ve stuffed in my head this week!”
I am an early American history buff and I’ll be the first to admit that our Founding Father and Mothers were flawed, but they had tremendous courage and passion to pursue the dream of liberty. I actually found tears in my eyes standing in the East Room of the White House just thinking of the historic moments that took place in that space. I was in awe looking at Abigail Adams actually coffee pot in the Blue Room (She’s a personal favorite of mine. Abigail would have thought my response ridiculous, but little did she know how she was influencing the plight of women in her eloquent way).
I also got choked up at Mount Vernon while looking at Washington’s dining room untouched since 1799. Imagine Jefferson, Adams and Lafayette all sitting there to discuss the course of human events.
Watching my children take it all in was a profound experience as well. My 12-year-old son grabbed my hand as we stood gazing at the majestic Lincoln Memorial against the beautiful D.C. night sky. It is truly breath-taking at night. The enormity of everything he had read about in history books just overwhelmed him.
This is a place of incredible heroes past and present as we were reminded of our modern day defenders of freedom while watching the exquisite changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The sea of ever-growing white crosses is a testament to selfless courage that all children in this country should see.
So as we celebrate this week with red, white and blue festivities, let’s take time to remember the birth of this nation…the sacrifice and passion of all who love this country. And if you can, try to share a trip to our nation’s capital with your family someday. If you can’t go in person, there are wonderful apps and websites maintained by the National Parks Department, so you can take a virtual trip. It will make you proud to be an American all over again! I’d love to hear any stories you might have about visiting D.C.
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