Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Veteran’s Day in Washington DC – so cool. And Veteran’s “Honor Flights” coming into DC are from Kansas City and St Louis today! That too, is too cool! Can’t wait to be there.
Dawson and I slept out on the pull out couch in the front living area and Q had our bed last night. I got up early at 6….first time since on the road I have done that. It was nice. Summer and I went out for a walk and enjoyed the nice morning. Sun was out and it was fairly warm already. Amazing weather for November! We took a nice long walk since I knew we would be leaving her most the day. The sun rise was pretty coming up in the campground. Came back to the RV – made coffee for myself, enjoyed the quietness of everyone else still sleeping. It was nice to have some alone time that morning. I got ready and then started making sandwiches for everyone for our days journey. I finally started opening up the blinds around the RV so that everyone would begin to arise on their own. Funny thing is when I walked back to wake them around 7:30 or so – Franki had closed her blind. The bunks and the windows are facing the East side so she closed them so she could keep sleeping. Funny girl. I re-opened them and started telling them they needed to “rise and shine, shine and rise”. They really don’t love it when I do that but my mom did it to me and my siblings and I think my grandparents use to do it to her too. Funny how those fun sayings just keep going and going from generation to generation. My kids say they won’t do it to their kids – but they will!
Anyway, for all 5 of us to get ready and out the door we did fairly well with breakfast and bathroom and everyone being kind in our tight space. You notice it more when we are all moving around at the same time and gathering our stuff and sharing 1 bathroom. And then you add Summer to the mix – she follows someone back and forth and blocks the way and gets under foot and legs and...she is big. It gets a little nutty cuz she knows we are leaving. We got all packed up and out the RV door and on the road around 8:30. Since it was a holiday and the government workers would not be going into DC today we were told that the traffic should be lighter like the weekend – and it was. We got down there in ½ hour parked the same place as on Sunday – close to Enterprise – where Dawson would be renting his car for his appointments tomorrow. We knew we would be spending some time at the Air & Space Museum (another Smithsonian) and that the car would be close for the end of the day. Since it was nice we knew we could handle a morning walk. It was maybe 7 blocks or so down to the WWII Memorial were we went to wait for the Honor Flight buses to arrive with our HEROS!
While in the sun, it was actually warm. But if you were in the wind or the shade it was much cooler. We walked all around and an early morning ceremony was wrapping up - we saw TV cameras and some Veterans being interviewed. Since our cameras were out of batteries on Sunday when we were here – we knew we needed to get some photos this am. We walked all around and took shots in front of the states that were meaningful to us. Of course Kansas and Minnesota were top of the list. Dawson wanted us to take a family photo in front of North Dakota. There were lots of people beginning to gather by the entrance off the road so we started over there to see if we needed to hold a place for ourselves for when they start to arrive. There were some middle school students there with teachers … they were probably 6th grade like Quinten. We found a spot in the grass to stand in the sun and wait until we saw the police escorted bus. In the mean time Lauren texted Dawson that her and co-worker were there and ask if we were there yet. We even saw some German Soldiers at WWII Memorial.
The girls were excited to see Lauren and we meet her co-worker Mick. They had escaped the office for a short time to come take in some time with the Honor Flight Veterans for Veteran’s Day. Mick and his girlfriend and dog, Penny live down by the Capital and his girlfriend, Alison walked down with the dog. Very cool puppy dog. We saw many vets coming in and out and got to interact with some of them. The honor flights were in town from photos Lauren had gotten from the crew that greeted them at the airport arrival but they were not yet at the Memorial. They were running behind.
Later we found out that Obama was at Arlington Cemetary for a ceremony and that might have caused some traffic that they didn’t plan for as the buses made their way to the memorial. Anyway it was taking a while but in the meantime we met some cool people….Dawson and Q even saw Bob Dole from Kansas.
Dawson and Q met a guy named Bob and his daughter, Erin and his grandson, Trevor and his granddaughter who I am not sure any of us remember her name. They were super great people. They were from Cincinnati taking in DC, too. They started talking to us in most part because of Dawson’s royal shirt. Bob loved our story and we stood by them for a while waiting on the Honor Flight to get here. The girls and I were closer to the school kids who started goofing off and getting a bit obnoxious as the wait was getting longer. They were just being typical preteens but it got annoying after awhile. Mick, Allison, Penny and Lauren kept us entertained for a while. Lauren was great with the girls – she talked to them about how to greet the Veteran’s as they come through and what some options were to say to them. She told them that they love little kids and that they would make their day if they shook hands, looked them in the eye and said thank you to them for what they did fighting for our freedom. It was great coming from Lauren – they were totally into greeting the vets and they both followed her lead. There were some Veterans coming down just from the parking lot so we got some practice. Then the KC Honor flight bus arrived….and the fun began. It was absolutely AWESOME to see and experience this moment of them coming to the WWII Memorial – build just for them. We greeted many veteran’s many from WWII and from our HOME TOWN of ROYAL KC!!! Dawson wearing his Royals shirt and many of the vets had Royals on too – it got us lots of extra comments and handshakes. Or story circulated with our new friends and we got a lot of support from Steve and Bob and Erin. In fact, Erin has friends that have been on the road for 3 years. It would be fun to learn more about them.
There was then a break in the parade of Veteran’s coming down the sidewalk - and Lauren and Mick decided they needed to head back to work. So we said our good byes and stayed longer with our new friends – next to me and Mena – Marine Steve from the area and by Dawson and Q – Bob and his gang.
The Honor Flight Vets all made their way over to Kansas and Missouri pillars. We took photos with our knew friends and then headed over to the Kansas Pillar and to mingle with the Kansas City crew. It was a magical morning for sure. What an incredible way to celebrate Veteran’s Day. We will have to get more involved with the honor flights leaving and returning to KCI once we are home. We will always remember or Veteran’s Day 2015 in Washington DC celebrating World War II Veteran’s. We decided to start walking back towards the Washington Momument and find a place to enjoy our lunch in the sun. What amazing weather for November – and so many folks out running, enjoying the sites and celebrating the sacrifice of so many for the freedoms we enjoy!
We enjoyed lunch together and talked about our morning experience – then we decided that we wanted to end up today spending most of our time at the Air and Space Smithsonian. We headed back that way and said bye to dad as he was going to get his car rental and head home to the RV to get some work in today.
Our first stop was the Smithsonian Castle – there we saw the tomb of James Smithson. Who left his fortune to the US to start the Smithsonian Institute. Did you know that there are 29 Smithsonian’s in the Institute and they are opened free of charge to the public. It is fabulous and wonderful and so educational. We visited the few other sites and got a full understanding through an interactive game like experience of all the Smithsonians. Bev and Shery at the front desk where awesome and showed us a live camera and some fun video of the baby panda at the zoo that is part of the Smithsonian’s. The baby panda is 5 months old and the people in DC are so crazy about her. One video shows the mom letting her walk for the first time on all 4s. She is wobbly and unsteady and even falls over. The mom sits by her patiently and lets her keep trying. After she tumbles over on her back the mom picks her up hugs her – it is so awesome to see the love between mother and child with wildlife. Special moment caught on tape for DC. Check out the Smithsonia's online - cool stuff. You can watch the panda's online.
We then left there to venture right down the street to the “Air and Space Museum” that is also a part of the Smithsonian’s. It was so cool from the very moment you walk in with the high ceilings and airplanes and spaceships everywhere. We enjoyed our own tour this time as the kids didn’t want to take a guided tour – they wanted to do it on our own. We started upstairs and in a far corner to work our way back and forth. The kids loved all the exhibits….so many hands on things to do and learn.
We even were asked to be a part of a survey to make one of the exhibits better. It involved taking a survey before and after the exhibit interaction. We were in this area for probably almost 2 hours – the kids loved it so much. And it was fun to be selected for the survey as they were looking for feedback from kids 7 to 14 and I had 3 of them that fit that age group! Gold-mine for the survey lady capturing families to participate. It felt cool to get to be able to do that and think that our thoughts and ideas will help make the Smithsonian even better for others in the future.
Lots of laughs and fun walking back to the car. It was awesome outside, we took more photos and we all got along so well. It was a splendid day all in all. Once we were back to the car – our feet were glad. We drove around as the sun was setting just to take in the nice weather, the patriotic feeling of the Nations Capital on Veteran’s day and the energy of the Veteran’s that could still be seen all around the mall area. Then we headed back to our home on wheels and to see dad and Summer.
We cleaned out the refrig and had left over night – everyone had something different but it was all good. As we were hanging out enjoy our evening with more of the VOICE – a knock was heard on the door – it was Kaia and Charlie inviting the kids and all of us if we wanted to come down to their AirStream for smores. The kids were so excited that they whizzed by and out the door in a flash. Dawson had a long drive ahead tomorrow to see clients in NC and had a stressful work afternoon and wasn’t wanting to be social. However, I wanted him to meet Dan and I thought getting him out and some fresh air would be good for him. So reluctantly he came down with Summer and I. Dan and him talked quite awhile, the girls ran off to the playground and Q and Charlie sat at their kitchen area and played and talked “mind craft”. I walked Summer and kept the fire going. It was cool outside but fairly nice.
Lady needed help - Dan went to assist – Dawson was ready to head back. Gave the kids 10 more minutes and wrapped it up. Dan said they would leave between 10 and 10:30 and if the kids wanted to come play in the am they were welcome to do that. Well, that was a plan by them – excitement.
Good day, memorable experience, proud to be an American – where at least I know I’m free –roaming this great country of ours and meeting good people along the way…..God bless the USA! Enjoy all the photos!
Happy Veteran's day!