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I Finally Saw Washington, D.C.

October 24, 2023

I’m finally getting around to doing all the traveling normal people do when they’re young, now that I’m in my 60s…and I’m loving it. I finally got to Washington D.C. and left with a serious appreciation for our country and the sacrifices of those who helped build it and those who fought and died to keep it free.

Carolyn, tour scheduler extraordinaire.

I went with Carolyn, who can arrange a tour of anything. We’ll probably be walking through your back yard with a tour guide on a microphone next. We saw the monuments at night, the Capitol, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, and Arlington National Cemetery. And we were only there for two and a half days. You could spend weeks in D.C. and not see everything.

The books with green tags wereJefferson’s actual books, and there were tons more.

The Library of Congress was positively gorgeous. With mosaics on the floor and ceilings, it outdid many of the cathedrals I saw in Italy. And to find myself standing next to Thomas Jefferson’s actual books was pretty remarkable. That man did a ton of reading!

The Lincoln memorial was quietly powerful, probably a lot like the man. Seeing Lincoln seated there at night, as if he’s watching over the country leaves you awestruck. How sad that the dedication of that memorial in 1922 was a segregated affair.

It was also eye-opening to know that The Capitol, The White House, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and James Madison’s Montpelier were built by slave labor. An article in Reuters called, Built by my Family, America’s Grand Buildings Constructed by Slaves, gives more details on that.

And the Martin Luther King Memorial is absolutely breathtaking. His words, “With this faith, we will be able to hew out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” stay with you as you turn the corner to see his image carved out of massive stone.

But the World War II Memorial touched me for personal reasons. Seeing it conjured up images of my father in his Army uniform.

Dad in the foreground.

He was born today, October 24th, in 1915, one of the greatest generation. We lost 416,800 soldiers in that war. I know my dad remembered two of them very well because they offered to take his place on a dangerous mission called Task Force Baum and never came back. You can read about it on my blog, Thanking a Couple of Soldiers for Letting My Father Live.

He was on a ship, bound for Japan when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in early August They turned the ships around and he returned safely home. The war finally ended on September 2, 1945. It’s sad so much life has to be lost before people come to their senses.

World War II Memorial

We all get pretty jaded about our government, and rightfully so because it seems that representatives think their job is to keep us bickering and divided instead of representing us, compromising, and trying to make this country better. None of us are perfect and maybe the sad truth is our representatives actually do represent us, in which case, we better straighten up and figure out how to talk to each other with civility again.

But I saw people from other countries on our tours, German, Italian, French, and Indian to name a few, so our country, hopefully, still represents a place where justice eventually wins even if we seem to take one step forward and two steps back.

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    November 2, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Another terrific blog Fran. I have been to Washington on a number of occasions and I am always in awe of the history and the enormity of it. But it makes me sad and angry that it has turned into a cesspool of political haggling and in fighting and our country is in such turmoil. At my age, I’ve probably made my last trip there. But it will always remain one of my favorite destinations.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 26, 2023 at 1:25 pm

      Oh Chas, you’re not that old! It was wonderful to see. I’ll definitely be back. I live in hope that common sense will take hold and get rid of extremists who refuse to compromise on either side. Thanks for always reading and taking the time to write. Happy Holidays!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2023 at 2:17 am

    Thank you for the mini tour of DC, I’ve never been there and I’m in my 70s. I don’t expect to ever get there so I travel through other peoples stories.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      November 26, 2023 at 1:21 pm

      Oh DaeDae, it is definitely worth the trip. It will give you a whole new appreciation for the country. Thanks for reading and taking the time to write! Happy Holidays!

  • Reply
    Pam Ellis
    October 25, 2023 at 6:07 pm

    I loved hearing about your trip. I had the opportunity of traveling to DC many times when I worked for the Red Cross Blood Services. I never run out of things that I want to see. I love learning more of our history too.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 25, 2023 at 9:45 pm

      Oh Pam, I envy you. There is just so much to see there, at least I know I’ll be going back several more times! Thanks for reading and taking the time to write!

  • Reply
    JoAnn Jones
    October 24, 2023 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Fran , so happy you got to visit Washington, DC. It is an amazing place , as you said , so much to see !! Looks like you had great weather. All good with Bill & I keeping busy getting ready for the upcoming holidays soon .
    Again we really enjoyed our visit with you and and our PA family, keep in touch & Happy Halloween 🎃 ps Bill does not need surgery, dr just gave him a cortisone shot and he is doing much better !

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 24, 2023 at 11:15 pm

      Oh JoAnn, I am so happy to hear that. Give Bill my best! I remember D.C. from photos you sent when you visited there when you were in your early 20s (I think). I think there was a shot of you at President Kennedy’s grave. It always made me want to go there. I’m so glad I went and paid my respects…it left me very misty-eyed. It was wonderful seeing you. I’m going to have to make my way to St. Louis next.

      • JoAnn Jones
        October 25, 2023 at 7:49 pm

        Please come visit us in St Louis sometime , would love to show you around . Yes , when I was a Senior in HS we got to visit DC and I was chosen to lay a wreath on President Kennedy’s grave. It was something I will never forget , that was 1965 so soon after the assassination. 😓

  • Reply
    Bruce Barker
    October 24, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    We visited DC when I was very young but I’d not fully appreciated it until a brief visit in 2019. Agreed: it would take months to comb through the wonders in that one city. We are blessed by the remarkable and brave souls who built this wondrous place.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 24, 2023 at 11:12 pm

      You are so right Bruce. Maybe it’s for the best that I’m only seeing these places now. They might have been wasted on a younger me. Thanks for reading and taking the time to write!

  • Reply
    Charles Burkett
    October 24, 2023 at 12:36 pm

    I have my Library of Congress card, and you’re right, it is a breathtaking building. It’s a big world out there Fran, keep going!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 24, 2023 at 11:10 pm

      You’re right Chuck, I have a lot of ground to cover! Working on the east coast presently. DC was a good start. I’m jealous, you actually have a card. I must get one too!

  • Reply
    Anna T
    October 24, 2023 at 11:43 am

    I’ve always wanted to get a Library of Congress library card ( We should go back down for the cherry blossoms! I think you have some wisdom to impart to me. I’ve also been pining to see the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington National Cathedral, and a little bit out of the way, the National Cryptologic Museum… so get those walking shoes on.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 24, 2023 at 11:09 pm

      Anna, I would love that. I’ve always wanted to see the cherry blossoms and a good walking partner is a blessing! Whoa, National Cryptologic Museum, I had to look it up to be sure I understood what it was. Heck yeah, I’d love to see that.

  • Reply
    Marianne Gazzilli
    October 24, 2023 at 11:16 am

    One of my great memories is seeing Washington, DC for the first time, with my students. We went everywhere the 4 -5 days we were there, and even saw the musical play 1776 at a dinner theater.
    Going to Washington DC makes you realize we certainly live in a wonderful country, especially when we can all show as much unity as possible!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 24, 2023 at 11:24 am

      Oh Marianne, it was really amazing and gave me so much appreciation for all the sacrifices that have been made so I can live my life in peace!

  • Reply
    Emil Mitchell
    October 24, 2023 at 11:11 am

    Visited the DC Memorial Wall 1st time finally Dec 2017 when we visited two daughters in Centreville, Virginia and it was very memorial for wanting and not wanting to go since returning since returning from three tours in Vietnam in September 1970. I’m sure yours was very memorable as well. Thank you for your posts, they are most enjoyable to this old Vietnam Veteran!
    A pleasant day to you Ms Fran! 🙂

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 24, 2023 at 11:20 am

      Aww, thank you Emil! I am so glad you enjoyed it.

  • Reply
    Petrea Burchard
    October 24, 2023 at 10:52 am

    What a great post, Fran. I’d sure love to see the Library of Congress.

    “None of us are perfect and maybe the sad truth is our representatives actually do represent us, in which case, we better straighten up and figure out how to talk to each other with civility again.” — I’ve never heard this better said.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      October 24, 2023 at 11:18 am

      Awww, thank you Petrea! That means so much to me coming from you! xo

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