Oh, The Things I Have Seen!

Oh, The Things I Have Seen!

The craziest thing about being in Washington, D.C. is that there are literally twenty million pieces of history. Those places you see in movies, read about in books, and have big blown up pictures of, all come to life. It is so surreal to see how big the Lincoln Memorial is in real life and to see the Capitol building over the tree line.

 

The Guided Tour

The fifth day or so that I was here, some of the live-in alums took us over to the monuments. We went just as the sun was setting and it was dark by the time we had really walked.

 

We started at the Washington Monument. It has scaffolding surrounding it but that makes it almost more beautiful.

 

 

Further on there was the World War II Memorial. We all found our states and took pictures with them.

 

 

Then we walked along the water to the Lincoln Memorial. In person, Lincoln is huge. There were people everywhere taking pictures. They were Americans and Europeans and Middle Easterners -- all sorts of people. You could hear a lot of different languages, but all of them had the same sense of awe in their voice. Seeing the statue that was built for such groundbreaking reasons is the definition of holding a piece of history in your hands.

 

 

Getting Lost

The other weekend, the Metro line by the Washington Center was down. Some of us were going to go to the monuments anyways. I was running a little late so I decided to just walk and meet them. First off, this sounds way easier than it is. I have no sense of how D.C. is laid out. I always ride the metro, which runs underground, so I literally only know life based off that. I got severely lost and had to backtrack a million times. I stumbled upon the Capitol building. I wandered around the gardens looking at the historic building I have seen every time I watched the West Wing and other political shows. Here is where it all happens. This is the center of the U.S. government. I had to sit down, I was so overwhelmed.

 

 

For me, seeing is believing. I am sure we all know, of course, that Capitol Hill has always been real. But for me -- from far, far away Seattle, Washington, the building might as well have been the Loch Ness Monster; something you hear about but never really see. The hundreds of laws that dictate our daily lives are all decided upon within those walls; all the studying I have done about the process and here it is. Reality is strange thing when you see it in person.

 

Running Errands

Last week was the latest moment of wonder. My work sent me on an errand to deliver letters to Senate and House offices. They drew me a map and sent me on my way. It was crazy to me that I could just wander into Congressional office buildings.

 

 

For all you noobs like me, the way the Hill is arranged is so that the Capitol building is in the middle and then there are three main office buildings on either side. One side is the House of Representatives side and the other is the Senate side. The six buildings all have super classy names and tunnels in the basement to connect the three on each respective side.

 

Outside of Rayburn.

 

So I wandered to and from slowly making my way to each office. You literally can just wander the halls (although I am sure that is not encouraged). You go through a quick security check to get in and then you are home free. Each office has the flag of the home state outside of it and there are super-official looking people on the inside. There is tons of marble, business suits, and army uniforms everywhere. I think I spent half the time looking around with my mouth open like an idiot, but I really didn't care.

 

Art from inside... Hart? If I remember correctly.


To think of all the great people that have passed through these offices, the decisions they have made that have changed the course of history, and the hundreds of staffers who had a hand in it. To say I am totally nerdy for this stuff is a total understatement -- but I adore it.

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