a collection of certainly special, uniquely unusual, and equally momentous thoughts: memoirs of me

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

In Love With the Metro

This place is definitely not Rexburg, Idaho. It’s not homogenous in any sense of the word. Every day I see and meet interesting people who carry on with very different lives and come from all sorts of backgrounds. These are the people that I love to watch.

I’m a people watcher. I’m a people lover.

Here are some of the lovely things I’ve seen on the metro along the way:

Old man carrying a large bouquet of red roses. I hope in my heart he was taking them home to give to his lovely wife of 50+ years.

Black girl with her techno music playing on her phone for the whole world to hear.

Guy talking to himself and reassuring himself he’s smart.

The nice woman who offered me a piece of cinnamon gum on a hot humid tired day when I really needed it.

Man practicing his hip hop moves in front of everyone.

The lady who had to push everyone aside in order to rush off the metro just in time to throw up everywhere. The sad part? Not a single person helped her. No one rushed to her aide or asked if she was alright. No one even batted an eye brow. I was in the middle of the train and unable to get off in time to help her before the doors closed and the metro started to move. I was appalled and saddened by everyone's lack of care.

The best one of all: Man wearing a jean loin cloth, no shirt, with his beard braided, and carrying an obviously hand-carved walking stick (please imagine that in your head right now). A slight reminder of Cast Away only this man was stuck in the middle of the District.

Every day is truly an adventure.

I’m in love with this place.

Air Force Memorial

Adventure: Air Force Memorial

My first exposure of any kind to the Air Force was when I lived with one of my closest friends Courtney and learned that her dad was in the Air Force and was a professor at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Hearing about her dad’s work and his love for flying amazing jets was really intriguing to me. It amazing me how people actually become jet pilots and the rush they must feel every time they strap into a plane. I don’t know if I could do it but I sure do applaud their courage and ability. It must take a lot of guts and a whole lot of training. You go guys.

A Wall of Names, A Wall that we Honor

Adventure: Vietnam Memorial

I think of the thousands of names engraved on mirror-like marble walls. I think of the war that changed warfare and changed us forever. I think of the families who were affected, the nations that were affected, and the feelings of loss and defeat. How grateful I am that we can remember those people forever. How grateful I am that we at least have their names, that we can honor them, that we can look to them on that marble wall, the wall that gets taller and then smaller.

I hope we never have another Vietnam in our history.

I've never been to Korea

Adventure: Korean Memorial


Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met. – Inscribed in the ground at the Korean Memorial

Just a little WWII

Adventure: World War II Memorial

My first weekend here in DC I was able to go to the WWII Memorial with my dad, stepmom, and some family friends where we enjoyed a performance from the Army Jazz Band. I will never forget that night. It was a perfect summer evening with a slight breeze and the concert lit my heart up and reminded me of the sacrifice of all those in the armed forces.

I love the WWII Memorial because it’s one of the few places in DC where I can find the word Utah engraved in something. Even though I’m falling in love with DC and it’s already becoming very much a part of me, I will always be a Utahn to my core. I’m a proud Utahn and a proud Westerner (although my wardrobe is very quickly becoming more East Coast day by day).

Honest Abe

I can get enough of this city. Every day brings adventures, new sights, new sounds, new crazy people to watch, and so much more.

When the weather is nice (and when I say nice I mean not raining and not stifling hot and 100 degrees) I try to take advantage of every second and see all I can.

The Lincoln Memorial was one that made a strong impression on me when I came to DC as a high school student. I remember my teacher and high school mentor Mr. Miner teaching us that while so many people want to take God out of everything, they would have to tear down every single monument in DC if they wanted to eliminate God. That’s because so many of the quotes and memorials contain inspiring messages to Him, about Him, and for Him. On the marble walls of the Lincoln are etched these words:

With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

It gives me shivers.

(the back side)

(the front side)

Abraham Lincoln has always been an icon of justice, humility, and strength in my eyes. He represents freedom…..and freedom is what we celebrate in DC. I think it appropriate that Mr. Lincoln has a giant memorial where he sits in his chair overlooking the mall and ensuring that freedom is preserved. Just above his head it says:

In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.

I love it. Abe will always be one of my heroes.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Simple Pleasures in Life

I first saw it the night we went to Café Rio. It was almost sunset and the light reflecting off the Potomac was glittering. We came around a bend and the Arlington Memorial Bridge was right there in front of me, in all its majesty. I knew I wanted to put crossing that bridge on my to-do list.

Conveniently, the Arlington Memorial Bridge connects Arlington Cemetery to the District of Colombia and leads directly to the National Mall. My lucky day.

Because the weather was perfect yesterday I decided to weather the bridge. For those who don’t know me you must learn that wind is my favorite weather condition. I think it’s magical even when my hair is down. When I got to the very center of the bridge it was like time slowed down. The wind was blowing through my hair. I took a panorama turn. Arlington Cemetery was to my left with the Lee Mansion up on the hill above it, the Kennedy Center was directly in front of me at which I’m going to see Wicked in a couple weeks (insert excitement here), I could see the Georgetown spires in the distance, to my immediate right was the giant Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument, and with perfect timing, I saw Marine One (the Presidential Helicopter) soar overhead.

Can I say breathtaking? Yes I can.

It’s the simple pleasures really that just make my life.

A Special Kind of Memorial Day

I had a grand plan to go and see four sites on Memorial Day. I thought it’d be so cool to knock off the war memorials from my list especially on Memorial Day…..

…but then I walked outside.

In my opinion, when you walk outside and within seconds you have sweat dripping down your back, it kind of ruins the excitement.

And I’m a dripper. Oh boy, I’m a dripper. I think I inherited it from my mom because now I’m the one who calls her and says “Mom, I’m sitting in the shade and I’m still drenched.” Yuck. Well I wasn’t about to have that ruin my entire day and I knew I wanted to at least go to the cemetery so after mustering the courage and re-applying some deodorant I headed out the door and into the humidity.

It wasn’t so bad once I gave up all hope of being dry.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to return to Arlington Cemetery. I mean, I’ve written about it before, and even though I could have gone somewhere different I wanted to experience Arlington on the very day we celebrate those who’ve sacrificed for our country.

I walked up the paths and savored the views of the light streaming through the trees and resting on the headstones. Every one of the over 300,000 graves was adorned with a small American flag. I wondered who took the time, probably during the night before, to place all those flags. I was grateful for them. Some had bouquets of roses lying on top, or just a single rose.

It was the first time I’ve seen people off the paths and sitting by the headstones. It was then that I realized that they were family members of the fallen.- a women by a husband’s grave, two parents by a son’s grave. It pulled at my heart strings.

The large American flag just in front of the Custis-Lee Mansion was flying at half-mast.

There was an added sacredness to the grounds that day. Something in the air and in my heart. Memorial day has always been just another holiday to me. Something that only meant a three-day weekend. It’s different now after being in this place. It’s something special and something to be remembered.

A Night at the Capitol

This Memorial Day weekend was like un-other in my life. Both of my roommates were at Duck Beach (with the rest of the world) but I made some new friends that felt closer than I’ve yet felt here.

I had looked up on the internet for special activities and events commemorating Memorial Day and found the National Memorial Day concert held on the west lawn of the Capitol every year. After church me and my new friends grabbed some snacks to hold us over and headed to the metro. We made it to the Capitol just in time for the concert to start. Although we were dripping sweat from the trek there, we laid out some large blankets on the grass and enjoyed watching everyone filing in and setting up camp.

Once again I couldn’t believe I was there. I looked around at the beautiful Capitol building with the sun setting on the white stone. The American flag blowing slightly in the breeze. It felt so patriotic.

There were numerous American Idol stars who sang in tribute to our country, stories that were read by famous actors and actresses recounting war stories and those who have fallen in battle, the National Symphony played some beautiful renditions of Gabriel’s Oboe and Pearl Harbor.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and getting to know the amazing girls I went with. I felt a closeness to them and a closeness to my county that continues to deepen as I live here.

God Bless America. Land that I Love.