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The beginning of the day featured an escape from ants, a ride on the Metro (which, in reality, is a very easy mode of transport for cities like D.C.), breakfast at Pete's Diner, plus a visit with U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, and a stop at U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's office and a short visit with the Senator.
From there we went to the National Archives, the home of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. There's a combination of chills and tears looking at those documents. To see that which our founders actually signed to form our amazing nation is awe inspiring. Of course, the Magna Carta is no shrinking violet when it comes to important historical documents.
I will confess that I will never, ever understand why flashless photography and video cannot be taken of these documents. Along with items in the National Museum of American History, it seems silly. I understand that exposure to light can deteriorate the documents, etc., but today's technology allows us to record these priceless, timeless documents and, more importantly, share our pictures and videos with our family and friends. It passes on the importance of these founding treasures of American history.
After our visit and a short lunch we made our way to Ford's Theater, noteworthy for its place in Presidential history. It where Abraham Lincoln was assinated. The theater still functions as a working theater and hosts several productions each year. But standing vigil, much as it was, is the Presidential box where Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. Along with the museum below, it is an eery, yet fascinating place to visit.
From there we went to see our Congressman, Rep. Steve Southerland. Our friendship is genuine and based on our common faith and Christ-centered convictions. I will simply state up front that it was one of most impactful hours of our entire trip and a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. Rep. Southerland was able to share some time with us and he offered us a unique and behind-the-scenes look at the U.S. Capitol. Along with an office intern, Brittany, who was delightful and knowledgeable of the history of the Capitol we had an amazing visit.
From the underground tram that the Senators and Representatives use to travel between their offices and the floor of the Senate and House to the view from the balcony of the Speaker's Office which overlooks the National Mall our time flew past with a narrative of our country's history. The original pillars of the Capital (which are now down below) still have bullets from the War of 1812 imbedded in them. The nearly completely intact first home of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. sits below the current main floor of the Capitol.
Oh, the stories...from the murals in the main rotunda to the art that adorns the cupula of the Capitol there is something profound about each and every display or part of our nation's Capitol. The fresco painting, The Apotheosis of Washington, is worthy of an entire study itself.
I could go on and on. The tour certainly did. Rep. Southerland was a gracious host. He arranged for us to visit the U.S. House of Representatives as some jockeying was going in advance of a major debate on a defense spending bill was taking place. I got to giggle (inwardly of course) at Rep. Barney Frank, who truly is a baffoon, and Rep. Barbara Boxer. The big vote came well after we called it a day.
Our first day at our nation's capital was a memorable one for many reasons. Day two would be a typical tourist adventure with stops at a few Smithsoniun Museums and, of course, the monuments.