Happy Birthday USA

Roosevelt

Tomorrow is Independence Day. That means food, family, fireworks, and flags. The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday after Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love thinking about the rich and vibrant history of our nation, I love singing the national anthem. This month’s upcoming Olympic Games has only increased my sense of pride. One of the best places to spend the Fourth is Washington, DC. That’s where I went this past weekend. While the city was beautiful as always, the weather was quite extreme.

the white house

Most of the East Coast was riddled by 100+ degree temperatures and severe hurricane-like thunderstorms. Millions of people lost power in the storms and over a dozen people lost their lives. In fact, the hotel where I stayed lost power. Despite this tragic news, the trip was a lot of fun. Here are some highlights.

dinosaur bones

I stayed in Springfield, VA and took the Metro to the Smithsonian. The subway was hot and as soon as I stepped out of the station it felt like an oven. The mall was filled with tourists and bright tents. Thankfully, the walk to the Museum of Natural History was short. Inside I saw dinosaur bones, stuffed mammals, the largest squid, the Hope Diamond, mummies, and the model of the longest snake known to science: Titanaboa.

Aftertitanaboa watching the Smithsonian documentary on Titanaboa, I was excited to see the life-size model. It was astonishing and definitely a must-see if you can make it to the museum before January (when the exhibit ends).

After spending about two hours in the museum, it was time to walk the Mall and see the monuments. I have never seen the Jefferson Memorial so that was my goal. Security was tight and several helicopters marked “United States of America” flew overhead. Crews were setting up stages everywhere for the upcoming Independence Day festivities and barricades blocked off numerous sidewalks. I walked from the Smithsonian to the Jefferson Memorial and passed four monuments on the way: The Washington Monument, The WWII Memorial, The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. We walked past the George Mason Monument but were too tired to walk over to it.

washington monumentCandace and Roosevelt statutemartin luther king jr monumentJefferson Memorial

I feel very blessed to be able to visit my nation’s capital. Every time I go to DC I feel a strong sense of pride, patriotism, and power. I am very proud to be an American “where at least I know I’m free, and I won’t forget the men who died that gave that right to me.” I hope everyone has a fun and safe Fourth of July tomorrow. Happy Birthday America!

There are those, I know, who will say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream.  They are right.  It is the American dream.  ~Archibald MacLeish