Our 2003 Road Trip, Part 5 of 7: From the White House to Vietnam

Anne and White House!

When we showed our photos to family and friends later, we realized Anne had taken so many of them that this shot was one of the very few that proved she was actually there.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: our fifth annual road trip became our first family road trip as we jettisoned our convention plans and took my son to scenic Washington DC to learn history and significance and architecture and so forth. We took a handful of photos using ye olde 35mm film when we weren’t busy corralling and entertaining the boy.

Day Five: Thursday, July 10, 2003. Our last full day in DC would once again be spent walking and walking and walking. We had more memorials and museums to check off, and only so much time to hit them all. We made the most of our options while we still had any energy remaining, and for as long as our feet would hold out after the previous two days’ calisthenics. As we would later find with our two New York City trips in 2011 and 2016, there are some major cities with too many attractions to cover in a single road trip no matter how many days you set aside for it. So we prioritized the number one attraction in the DC area and headed there first.

Right after this random space mural along the way, I mean.

space mural!

This pic may be out of order, but we ran across this building more than once, so it works either way.

Another walk to the nearest subway station and another ride south took us closer to that bastion of American democracy, the White House.

White House Postcard!

Hi, I’m the White House! You might remember me from such films as Independence Day, White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen, 2012, The Day After Tomorrow…I really need a new agent.

The White House looks splendid up close in the summertime when all the flowers are in bloom, according to this postcard we bought at the White House Visitors Center across the way. Two years after 9/11, that kind of friendly proximity wasn’t happening for us out-of-towners. No civilian was that big and no paranoia was too small.

White House!

This, we found, was the minimum safe distance for their 21st-century comfort level.

Fellow ostracized tourists took turns taking the exact same photo of themselves next to the fence and the bushes, as well as that distant facade I remember from Benson, Doonesbury, and countless other entertainment options over the decades. We like to think we’ll return to DC someday when the coast is clear and the American population is no longer considered a threat.

White House!

Today I see occasional jabs at us holdouts who still wear cargo pants, but I believe my old pink fanny pack effectively sums up what I think of common fashion mandates when they clash with my storage needs.

From there we headed west and southwest toward some of the more famous fixtures and a few lesser known sculptures and architectural standouts.

Eisenhower Executive Office Building!

My notes tentatively identify this as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, but I could be way off. Sometimes giant, ancient buildings look alike to me.

Equestrian of Simon Bolivar!

“Equestrian of Simon Bolivar” stands at Virginia Street NW and C Street, funded by Venezuela as a tribute to the famous South American leader.

Constitution Gardens Pond!

An idyllic stroll near Constitution Gardens Pond, which was commissioned under President Nixon’s administration and dedicated in 1976 in time for America’s Bicentennial.

Along the way we paused out of respect by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, one of the few landmarks commissioned and created entirely during our lifetime. Nearby are other statues of topical relevance.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The Three Soldiers.

“The Three Soldiers”, each a different race cast in bronze, looking upon the 58,307 names engraved in stone.

Vietnam Women's Memorial.

The Vietnam Women’s Memorial was added and dedicated in 1993 to honor the 11,000 women who were stationed in Vietnam during the time frame.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Sample selection of names preserved for future generations to see. As of this writing, Hollywood has yet to allow a single assassin, terrorist, or alien touch or threaten a single square inch of the wall.

To be continued…

[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for other chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Follow us on Facebook or via email signup for new-entry alerts, or over on Twitter if you want to track my TV live-tweeting and other signs of life between entries. Thanks for reading!]

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