"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Monday, July 28, 2008

Last days in DC.....

The Spirit of St. Louis
Scott admiring a replica of a Navy battleship.
I thought this was VERY cool!
The facsimile copy of the Declaration of Independence.
The original was way too light to shoot without flash.

The entrance to the replica of the Sepulcher in the Holy Land.

Definitely a Navy man!
Fooling around with the camera in the park!
Part of the exhibits at the Holocaust Memorial
May God bless each and every soul touched by these attrocities.
Mrs. Ellie Gross signing my book.

Our second day in DC started off bright and early. As much as I wanted to sleep late, my body is so accustomed to the kids waking up at 7:00 that by 7:45 I just had to get up. We showered and headed down for a scrumptious breakfast. Of course, we couldn't help but look at all the families with little ones seated around us and it brought bittersweet thoughts. Part of us missed our babies and so wished they were with us, the other half was truly grateful that we were able to sit and have a nice breakfast without having to feed someone, ask someone to eat and stop playing and not have to gather everything on the table that is withing their reach into the imaginary circle at the center of the table so that their little hands don't touch it. The latter was definitely enjoyed.

We were on the Metro by 9:30 am. heading towards downtown with a notebook filled with all of the must-see spots on our itinerary. We exited at the National Mall and began our walk towards our first stop, The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. We figured we'd spend 1-2 hours there before going to our next stop.

All I can say is "Wow!" Outside of the museum they have a big poster that states, "Think About What You Saw." I want to interject here that Scott is a huge WWII buff and has countless books and documentaries at home on the subject. On the other hand, I too have always been pulled toward the plight of the Jews during the Holocaust from the time I was little and first read The Diary of Anne Frank. It is just incomprehensible how one man can turn such hatred into probably the worst crimes in the history of the world.

As we entered the museum, I read that in 1933 there were 9 millions Jews residing in Eastern Europe. Six million Jews were murdered in the holocaust. Those numbers are staggering. I walked through the museum with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. The feeling was so heavy in my heart that at times I wanted to just run from there, but I believe so strongly that it's so important for everyone to be educated not only about what the Jews and so many others went through during those attrocities, but all that encompasses hatred and injustice.

As I continued my walk through the exhibits, which included shoes collected from Auschwitz, a Memorial Hall of Remembrance listing each concentration camp and prayer candles and earth collected from each one, I thought to myself, "How could these survivors forgive? How could they have lost everything and barely escaped with their lives and not hate?" Well, God immediately answered me. I felt my heart tell me, "because if they don't, they would be just like him." So true. Yet so hard.

Five hours later, Scott and I emerged from that museum with the utmost respect for these children of God. We also had the honor of meeting holocaust survivor and author, Ellie Gross.

If you have not visited this museum, I cannot emhasize enough how worth the visit is. I promise it will change your life.

After the musuem, there really was not much time left for anything so we went into the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This was Scott's choice and we spent about 2 hours there. I must say, I was not really impressed but again, I am not an airplane or space fan so much of what I saw meant nothing to me. We did see the Spirit of St. Louis, WWII aircrafts, planes that broke the speed of sound and the lunar lander. We then headed for a quick stop to the National Archives before they closed and were able to see the the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Quite an amazing part of our history! After that visit we went back to the hotel to shower and get ready for dinner.

The hotel had recommended a French restaurant (I love French food!) in Bethesda that was quite popular, Mon Ami Gabi. It was spectacular!! From the small baguettes served in bags to the steak and frites, it was delicious! It truly reminded me of authentic French food that I had when I visited Frances many moons ago. We then took a cab back to the hotel and looked forward to our next and last day in DC.

Sunday morning we woke up bright and early, had breakfast and headed to what seemed to be a pretty seedy part of town. Don't go by me because I'm a real chicken sh*t when it comes to walking in strange neighborhoods. We got off the Metro which was on the other side of town (about 15 stops past our hotel) and went down some dark stairs covered in graffiti. As we walked down the street I could see some scary humans checking us out. We were lost, walking and had no clue where to go. Scott pulled out his new Blackberry that has a GPS and we were able to figure out which way we were supposed to go. About 1.5 miles. That's a long way to walk looking over your shoulder without looking like you're looking over your shoulder.

In the middle of this neighborhood where we least expected appeared before us this beautiful building, The Franciscan Monastery. For those Catholics out there, I can't recommend it enough and even if you're not Catholic, the grounds are breathtaking. I give a great big thank you to my dear friend Peg for letting us know about it. It was so worth the trip there!

The monastery is undergoing renovations so there were scaffolds outside and inside. But even with the construction, the plastic sheets covering the walls and the lack of airconditioning, it was beautiful. You were immediately filled with such peace as you walked the grounds surrounded by flowers and beautiful statues of our Blessed Mother and St. Francis.

The mass was wonderful but even more so was the fact that we were able to catch a tour of grounds. The monastery has something so special that was a wonderful surprise! Part of the tour included authentic replicas of sacred places in the Holy Land, including the nativity, the tomb where Christ was laid and the catacombs. We were truly blessed by this visit which turned out to be 4 hours long.

Scott and I then walked back the 1+ mile to the Metro stop, this time filled with the Holy Spirit and I admit that I had no fear. I felt like God was walking with us. An amazing day. We sadly leave DC without having seen everything we wanted to, but are excited to know that it's a great reason to someday come back.

Adam and Tito you rarely read my blog, that's why I didn't mention you....but you know it goes without saying that I miss you dearly and I love you both as much as the whole wide world and back again. Amanda and the little ones....you too!!!! XXXOOO to all 6 of my babies!

Cheri, thanks for the comment. I so wish I had the time to go back to Virginia and meet you and your beautiful family. I look forward to someday having a reunion with all of my online buddies and see in person those treasures that I love to see in pictures.

TO ALL: Sorry. I have been waiting over 45 minutes for more pictures to upload to Blogger on this pain-stakingly slow internet service at our B & B, only to now receive an ERROR message. I'll try again tomorrow when I post about our "Going back to being a kid days" at Hershey Park.

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Waitingfaithfully said...

Catching up with your trip friend, and it's wearing me out! Amazing how much ground you can cover when there are no stollers and diaper bags involved! Looks like you are having a wonderful time. . . Happy to know the little ones are doing well too!



Aus said...

You guys are too active - but really heartwarming to hear about the Franciscan's - I spent 7 years with the order - and just like a Marine - when you are in you are in forever. Glad to hear that the guys didn't let us down!

Enjoy -

aus and family

The Byrd Family said...

You are going to be so exhausted when you come home you will need another vacation to recover! lol

Love all the pictures!

waiting4Isabella said...

Great Blog - very detailed, felt like I was right there. I had to laugh though because in the 10th paragraph you sounded like Herbie "Looking like your Looking" funny !!!!

Have a great time. Peace.

The Princess's Mommy said...

So glad you are having a good time! The DC pics are wonderful! Can't wait for the Hershey ones! I've always wanted to go there!
Have fun on the rest of your trip! I admit I'm a little envious...LOL!

The Ferrill's said...

Ohilda I'm so happy to catch up finally on all your family happenings! What fun to be on a vacay with hubby! I'm like Monica and a little envious too! ;)
I absolutely LOVE DC. It is one of my FAVORITE vacations. Can't wait to check back and see Hershey Park...I've always wanted to go there!
I pray the rest of your trip is full of love and fun and safety! And I pray your children are having so much fun and everything is going smooth back home!

Anonymous said...

yea i agree the holocoust museum and "daniel's story" is life altering. i still remember walking in and thinking "this is what a jail must feel like" because just the building alone is so intimidating (well i was 11 at the time). but DC is definately what sparked my love for history and politics. i'm glad you guys are enjoying it. and btw i'm pretty sure you're not supposed to take pics of the documents hmmm.

<3 glo
ps i'll pass on your messg to tito.

geminirn said...

Thanks for the detailed update...don't you just love vacations??.Sounds like you two are having quite the adventures,oh I just love that cute photo of the two of you in the park!

Bella's momma said...

Thank you for detailing your trip, it has been awesome to read!!!

Have fun and keep the post coming!


Janette said...

Hi Guys, so glad to see that you're having a great time!! Barry & I took a road trip with the boys a few years back and made a stop in Washington on our way to Canada and loved it!! We went to all the same places you guys have gone and had such a great time. It truly is amazing to see all that history. We went to Arlington Cemetery (which just totally crushed me),to visit the Kennedy Gravesites, then we headed to the Tomb of the Unknowns for the Changing of the Guard. That was really something to see. The White House was truly amazing and so beautiful. I'm so happy that we made that trip with the boys, of course they were older then you're little ones, but I'm sure they too when they are older to take all that walking and enjoy the history. For now you guys enjoy your vacation time together and I will keep following. See you on the 9th!!
Hugs, Janette

redmaryjanes said...

Absolutely amazing! I love museums, I could spend days in them.

Melanie said...

Hey Ohilda, seems like you're having a great time!!
I loved the pictures.
Your daughter emailed me the other day, she seems so nice :)!!
I just wanted to let you know I tagged you, so go check my blog :)

Michelle said...

I'm so glad to hear you're having a great time!! I love the pic of you and Scott on the lawn. It is a romantic getaway after all! I can't imagine going to the holocaust museum, although I would like to go someday. I am sure that lump in your throat never went away. So tragic and so true about what you said about forgiveness.

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