A Travellerspoint blog


Jim and Michael Colyer in Washington, D.C.

Michael and I went to Washington, D.C., March 6-9, 2006. We got plane tickets from expedia.com and flew into Ronald Reagan National Airport on American Eagle from Nashville. We rode the Metrorail (subway). The experience was similar to what I did in 1977. I allowed for differences. Last time, my parents' generation was in power. Now, it is the baby boomers. I told Michael that one day his age group will be running the country. I try to impart both knowledge and wisdom.

Michael is studying business law, and I wanted him to have a basic understanding of the federal government. He knew the 3 branches: executive, legislative and judicial. He knew their functions. Cabinet secretaries put laws into action. Congress makes laws. The judiciary interprets them. The branches are subject to checks and balances. For example, George Bush appoints judges; the Senate confirms them.

Things are tight in D.C. because of the War on Terror. Security checks are a necessary nuisance. After arriving, we walked along the Mall to the Capitol and Supreme Court Building. In the Capitol rotunda, Michael wanted to know if Ronald Reagan laid in state on the white circle. The guide confirmed it, Reagan was the last one. Michael got a picture of 3 seats in the Supreme Court Building. The big thing is to overturn Roe v. Wade. 33 years of abortion have left 46 million babies dead in an American Holocaust. John Roberts and Sam Alito will do it. Anna Nicole Smith's case is under review. She married an 89-year-old billionaire who died the following year. 9 justices sit on the Court.

Michael and I found the Hotel Harrington and checked in for 3 nights. We started our second day at the Washington Monument. A cold wind blew as we waited in line. Michael got nice pictures of the surrounding area from atop the monument. I was amazed. We headed for the Lincoln Memorial. We passed the World War II Memorial and the Reflecting Pool. The World War II Memorial has a pillar for each state. We joked about Jenny running through the Reflecting Pool in Forrest Gump. We talked about Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial and moved to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. 58,195 names are on the Wall. Futile! We approached the White House. Because of 9/11, tours must be scheduled in advance. Michael got pictures. He wondered if George Bush was there. He repeated the address of the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We continued to the Holocaust Museum. This was Michael's idea because his friends insisted he see it. It told the story of Nazi annihilation of the Jews. We descended on the Smithsonian. In the Museum of American History, we saw the exhibit of American Presidents. Michael named the presidents since Jimmy Carter. We went to the dinosaurs in the Museum of Natural History. T. Rex and triceratops sparred. There was a stegosaurus. We saw meteorites and the Hope diamond. The diamond made its way from India to France to a man named Henry Hope. We went to the National Archives. Michael enjoyed the Charters of Freedom: the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. The Consitution is composed of a Preamble (Introduction), 7 Articles and 27 Amendments. The first 10 Amendments are the Bill of Rights written by James Madison. The founding fathers knew adjustments would need to be made. Back at the hotel, we watched the conclusion of Titanic. We ate at ESPN Zone next door.

Day 3 began with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. It is a popular tour. We saw a stack of one million dollars in $10 notes. Money is a fabric, 75% cotton and 25% linen. The Federal Reserve orders a sum of money to be printed by the BEP. It sends the money to 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Michael needs to know about the Fed since he is in banking. We rounded the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial. We noted how Jefferson's statue faces the White House in the distance. I pointed out the cherry trees. We returned to the museums and art galleries along the Mall. We touched the moon rock in the Air and Space Museum. We sat and talked about life. We strolled through the National Gallery of Art.

Michael and I discussed future work and going into business together, real estate and condos. It was talk but it was laying the foundation for cooperation between father and son. In Barnes and Noble, Michael looked at a Donald Trump book while I dozed. I showed him the letter I received from Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee regarding an increase in compensation for disabled veterans.

Day 4 began with Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated. We looked into the box where John Wilkes Booth fired the shot. Booth was tracked to a barn and killed. Michael wanted to see Arlington Cemetery, so we stopped there on our way back to Reagan Airport. Michael counted the 21 steps taken by the sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We saw John Kennedy's grave. As we strolled through the cemetery, I waxed philosophical. "It is possible to abolish war if mankind were willing. War happens because men want it and because of stupidity." We stopped at the Pentagon. Tours were not being given.

We landed in Nashville at night. It had been raining, and lightning was in the distance. There was turbulence. Karen got us at the airport. This trip was for Michael.

Contact: jim@jimcolyer.com

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