January 9, 2013

Project DC: The Lincoln Memorial

Last time I wrote about our visit to the National Air and Space Museum. After our museum adventure, the hubs and I decided to play around with his camera a bit more and walk from the far east end of the Mall near the Capitol all the way down to the Lincoln Memorial at the west end.

There was a bit of rain and snow earlier in the day, but it had all melted by the time we ventured outdoors. Still, the crowds on the Mall were pretty sparse, and as we walked towards the Washington Monument, I thought about how lucky we are that our Saturday evening stroll can include some of the most recognizable, famous structures in our nation and maybe the world. Even if you're not particularly patriotic, that is a pretty amazing feeling. I live here, and I feel so thankful for that.

We stopped at the World War II Memorial along the way. I'm still getting the hang of the hubs' camera and could have used a tripod since it was dark outside by this point, but even without being a pro at nighttime photography, I think this monument is particularly beautiful at night. I've been there during the summer in the daytime, and while it's beautiful then, too, there is something haunting about the way these lights illuminate the columns and how quiet and sad the wreaths seem that rest at their bases. 

Once we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial, we were feeling pretty frozen since neither one of us had worn a hat, gloves, or proper scarf. Still, the view of the monument in the distance, growing larger as we came closer, was enough to make us forget the cold. This monument is my favorite in all of DC, and I was so happy to bring the hubs there for his first time. The views of the Reflecting Pool are beautiful, and the sight of President Lincoln illuminated and framed by the beautiful white columns against the dark night sky is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

I think what I love most about the Lincoln Memorial is that it really does feel like a temple. When you walk inside, you feel tiny next to the giant statue of President Lincoln reclined in his chair. Your voice bounces off the walls. The Gettysburg Address and inauguration speech that are etched into the walls read like a religious doctrine. When you stand before Lincoln, you feel as though you are paying homage to something holy. In some ways, I think you are. I always cry a little when I visit this place because I feel so moved and so connected to it. Even with the crowds, it's possible to stand in a corner and quietly observe what's happening around you, silently absorbing the respect and awe that so many people have for this president. It's a wonderful feeling.

After a while, the hubs and I started the long walk uphill to the metro to return home. It had been a long, cold evening, and I lost feeling in my fingers, but I felt utterly happy. That's the entire point of doing Project DC. I live in a truly great city, and if I don't take the time to enjoy what it has to offer, then I am missing out on a good part of life. If nothing else, this is a way to make sure that my life has more good moments like that evening.


Want to read more about having fun in DC? Follow along as I embark on Project DC:

2. Go for a leisurely hike in Rock Creek Park.
3. Go on a White House tour.
4. Buy DC artwork at Eastern Market.
5. Visit Old Town on a day trip.
6. Take a day trip to Annapolis.
7. Go to the Newseum.
8. Go back to Jazz in the Garden when it starts up again in the spring.
9. Go to the Holocaust Museum.
10. Eat at Ben's Chili Bowl.
11. See the FDR Memorial.
12. Take the hubs to the Lincoln Memorial.
13. Go to the National Portrait Gallery.
14. Go to the Corcoran.
15. Visit the Vietnam Memorial.
17. Go to more embassy events.
18. See a show at Rock & Roll Hotel.
19. See the drum circle at Malcolm X Park.
20. Mini golf at H Street Country Club.
21. Evening drinks at POV.