Second Day in DC

For our second day in DC, Jake met up with us and we went to visit a few of the monuments along the Mall.

First, we stopped at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial – a place that I had always heard much about, but never visited.

There are a total of 58,267 names listed on the memorial. It’s a tough number to process, to realize that each name you’re seeing represents a real person, an entire life cut short.

We arrived fairly early in the morning, but there were already a good number of people visiting.

Jake and Liz, viewing the names.

Nearby there were a few stands where directories allowed people to look up names of friends and family members.

The pages are coated in plastic, to help them against the weather. The entire book is depressingly thick, and also gave me pause as I passed by.

Next, we headed to the Lincoln Memorial – yet another iconic Washington DC landmark.

On the steps, looking towards the entrance.

The full irony of this sign didn’t hit me until much later.

Honest Abe.

The beginning of the Gettysburg Address.

A lot of people were photographing this, and I had to wait a while until there was a lull in tourist traffic. Once people moved away, I snuck in a little closer.

Small wonder people come and actually “talk” to Lincoln. There’s definitely a feeling of awe and a sense of history that passes over you, when in the presence of this huge statue.

Looking out across the reflecting pool, with the Washington Monument in the distance.

Nearby, we stopped briefly at the Korean War Veterans Memorial.

Visitors walk along a perimeter around the soldiers. As we are looking in and observing them, several of the soldiers have their gazes in different directions. It feels, in a way, like they are looking back at us.

It was a little surprising to encounter these soldiers, walking through the foliage. I can only imagine how much more striking these soliders would be in the wintertime, covered in snow.

From the Mall, the three of us hopped into a cab and made our way to Georgetown. There, we headed to a mall that Liz wanted to visit (there was a fabric store she wanted to check out, while we were in the area).

As Jake and I were planning on just roaming around, we both spotted the word “pinball” in the distance.

Score! The grand opening was actually THE day we showed up. National Pinball Museum? What luck.

Jake, checking out the price of admission. There was a “gallery” where you could buy credits to play the machines… but in order to get inside, you had to pay the regular museum admission (which was $13). Jake and I both love pinball, but the price was too steep. So unfortunately, we had to pass.

There looked to be some good games inside, too. Dang.

Outside “Exquisite Fabrics, Inc,” waiting for Liz.

Random window and ladder.

After the mall (just realized we visited the Mall and then hit up a mall), we stopped at a bar and grabbed a bit of lunch. Then we met up with Lisa and James, and began walking around Georgetown a bit.

We walked along the Potomac for a while. I believe that’s the Kennedy Center in the distance.

Looking back at the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

We made our way to Kramerbooks and settled in the cafe for a while. A bookstore where you can get booze is a fantastic idea. Why aren’t there more of these?

I was delighted to find The Wake of Forgiveness, a novel by my friend Bruce Machart (a friend from the OSU MFA program). And a blurb from Tim O’Brien to boot!

Standing near the windows, looking inward. The overall size of the bookstore wasn’t much, but I found myself really interested in a lot of the books they had on display. I genuinely enjoyed slowly browsing around, and finding myself picking up every other book I saw.

While at Kramers, we were joined by Sarah and Chris. Baby Cameron was getting a little restless, so when Lisa and James parted ways… the five of us continued on together in search of another bar.

We ended up at The Brickskeller, which houses a ridiculous, ridiculous amount of beer.

Located in the basement, the walls are all exposed brick and tables are nestled b
etween wooden support beams. It feels very much like an old world tavern, and also feels like… well, like college. Some great atmosphere.

If you’re a beer lover and in the DC area, this is definitely a place you will be visiting.

Chris, drinking an Old Speckled Hen. He talked a bit about his work and we got a small glimpse into how things work on Capitol Hill. I’m writing this a few weeks after the fact, so I’m really fuzzy on the details (the beer didn’t help much either). But Chris worked as an aide to a representative, and actually was involved in getting some legislation passed.

One of the laws he worked on involved the kind of light bulbs that are now required in governmental buildings. He knew a lot about light after meeting with tons of special interest groups, and even mentioned some kind of special “paint” that was being developed which would emanate light. Crazy.

L to R it’s Jake, Sarah and Liz. Sarah works for a genealogy site (can’t remember which – maybe?), and hearing her talk about her job was equally fascinating. She talked about how one determines relatives, based on things like marriage certificates, death certificates, and a host of other ways to determine family trees.

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