Friday, April 24, 2009

DC: Day 5

Despite being out on our voyage to nowhere last night, Danny and I awoke early. After an uninspiring meal at the hotel restaurant, we hopped the shuttle to Rosslyn (where we bought all day passes), and hopped on the Metro to Arlington National Cemetery.

Despite the early hour, it was busy and filling up fast. We walked past the rows of simple headstones marked with crosses and Stars of David, and followed the signs to John F Kennedy’s grave. Buried next to him are his wife, and their first child, who was stillborn, and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who was born in 1963 and died two days later. The Eternal Flame burned stubbornly, despite the windy day. Though the crowd was quiet, many were snapping photos of the grave, which I thought inappropriate.

After a few moments of contemplation, Danny and I headed up the path to a grave marked by a simple wooden cross, painted white. Robert F. Kennedy was buried here less than five years after his brother was laid to rest. Few were present, but I was more moved here than at JFK’s grave. Because of the growing crowd, Danny and I decided not to view the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and headed back to the Metro.

From there, we went to Pentagon City, which is a four story mall located next to the Pentagon. It’s similar to Beachwood Place, meaning it has a lot of specialty stores with grossly overpriced merchandise – like $25 pens. Danny and I were getting bored, so we were soon back on the Metro to DC.

It was a hot day, so we took a leisurely walk up 17th Street, stopping at a park and observing the hustle and bustle before stopping at Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse in time for a late lunch. After arriving there, I realized I’d been there with Mark during our visit in 2001. Our flirty waiter didn’t rush us, and we enjoyed a quiet lunch with some of the best Fish & Chips I’ve ever tasted.

Then we headed to 16th Street and walked off lunch, heading back to the White House. While sitting in Lafayette Park, we observed a protest and listened to a street preacher who was apparently high on something. Then we headed down 17th Street on our way to get a second look at the Memorials.

By now, I was feeling the pull of home. We were both missing Mason, and I was looking forward to getting back to work on the house. Perhaps that’s one reason for vacations, to help one appreciate simple blessings. Our lives may not be monumental or important in the grand scheme of things. But after a long and winding path, I’ve found a measure of happiness.

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