Hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July! It’s always been a favorite holiday for me, though we usually spend the day low-key, cooking out and just being together as a family (it’s a “bonus” day off for my husband). July 4th always brings back happy memories, and I love the cheery red-white-and-blue patriotic decor which graces my home the entire summer. Did you know that every July 4th since 1912 Danes in Rebild, Denmark celebrate American Independence Day with a huge celebration? Former President Nixon and Walt Disney are among the famous who have given speeches there. Closer to home, take a roadtrip to our nation’s capital city: Washington DC. I got to experience the city again this past April, when I was chosen as a chaperone for my daughter’s eighth grade field trip to Washington DC and Arlington, VA.
Having an only child, I savor each milestone, and was over the moon when I was picked to go with our middle school and the 100+ kids and teachers to DC.
A six-hour drive from where we live in Connecticut, DC is one of my favorite places in the world to visit, but I hadn’t visited in about a decade. The city’s changed, but many things (thankfully) stay the same. It’s one of those destinations where there’s something for everyone.
There were eight teens for each chaperone, and while we were instructed that we didn’t have to “hold hands”, we should do our best to stay together. Easier said than done, since as soon as we reached a destination, the kids dispersed like weed seeds in summer and staying in a group was akin to herding cats, but we all made it back home with unforgettable memories. Our first stop was the the National Air and Space Museum. From the Wright brothers’ first attempt to fly to the latest in space engineering, we were all enthralled by what this museum has to offer. It’s a small world – at one of the displays, two older women were chatting next to me – in Danish! They were shocked when an American asked “Hello, where are you from in Denmark” in Danish. They lived in the same area as my in-laws, and were so excited they both gave me huge hugs!
Our next tour was my all-time favorite, the National Museum of American History. As a history buff, I could spend days there, with the inaugural ball gowns and many American artifacts. It was fun to share what I knew about the different historical eras represented with my group.
That evening, we drove to the Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, which always tugs at the heart. Did you know if you travel around the sculpture, it looks as though the flag raises? It is an amazing optical illusion, and a beautiful sight.
Seeing sites at night was not something I’d have thought to do, but after this trip, I recommend doing so, and we always felt safe with the security around the city.
The World War II Memorial at night is breathtaking!
It was my first time visiting the Martin Luther King Memorial, which opened in 2011. Touring it during the evening hours was spectacular, with lights focused on the 30 ft. tall sculpture and surrounding gardens.
The Vietnam War Memorial and the Korean War Memorial were stops the next morning. Heart-tugging and breathtakingly beautiful, these sights are phenomenal memorials.
I’d never visited the Air Force memorial before this trip. At 201′, 231′, and 270-feet tall, the three spires seem to touch the sky!
Arlington National cemetery is another stop that visitors should not miss.
It was hard not to get choked up at the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The day we were there, it poured buckets of cold, blinding rain, but the young men did not falter. As a mother, I kept thinking, “There’s someone’s son guarding someone’s son.” I will never forget this beautiful, respectful ceremony.
When I asked my daughter and her friends what their favorite stop was, many of them said they enjoyed the Newseum best – http://www.newseum.org/visit/ .
Other stops that we made while there included the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson memorial, and the Decatur House.
While touring Washington DC and the surrounding area is beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom, there’s much to see anytime of the year in this bustling city. Though I’m more of a rural-and-suburb-loving, country-hearted farmgirl, DC is a big city I adore visiting. I’ve been several times in the last twenty years, but seeing the sites through the eyes of our nation’s next generation of bright young adults was unforgettable.
Hope you enjoyed our “roadtrip”! Make sure to leave me a comment so I know that you stopped by!
Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
What an amazing trip! I would truly enjoy visiting Washington DC sometime soon! I was unaware of how much you can see and how much you can learn from visiting there. I really enjoyed looking at all your pictures and reading about your trip. Thank you for sharing such an amazing experience. I’ll have to plan a trip now!
Krista, It is wonderful, and there is really so much for everyone. I still have not seen it all, and have been several times over the years. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
I was able to go this past spring for my first time to DC and Arrlington and loved every minute and can not wait to go again some day. thanks for your tour it was like being back there again!!
Hi Denise! Isn’t that area a fun place to visit? I have been several times and still have not seen it all. I also would like to go back to the Gettysburg area. We were there when my daughter was four, and also visited some Amish farms. Lovely area, and it is seeped in so much history. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Thank you Nicole, for the tour through your eyes. It’s was so lovely to see the photos and info for each. I can well imagine the emotions some of the places would’ve stirred up in you. Wonderful visit for sure.
Thank you, Denise! I was so happy to go, and have even so much more admiration for teachers! The teachers were so amazing. I was blessed to be a chaperone. So glad you enjoyed the blog post. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Thank you for sharing this fantastic trip.
Thank you, Marilyn, for reading! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Nicole: I am glad you are close enough to enjoy the city. We took my boys in 1976. Long time ago but had a great experience. As adults they said they were glad they went. It was great for you to be a chaperone. You are perfect for the job.
Hi Bonnie, Thank you! I love that your boys have such special memories of your trip there, too. I know I will remember the time with all the students for a very, very long time. What a special place DC is. Thanks for stopping by. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Hi Nicole, What an honor for you to be a chaperone fo your daughter’s class! Thank you for the pictorial tour. Actually, looking at you two in a couple pictures – you could pass for one of them! And your daughter is growing taller than mom. It’s been fun watching her grow up over the years. A daughter to be proud of for sure!
Being an Ohioan, I have to point one minor detail – it is the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur. Not the Orville brothers. 😉
<emHi Bonnie, Thank you for alerting me to my typo! I was writing the blog when I was tired and hot – having a heat wave in Connecticut. I will change that little "oops"!
I am so glad you enjoyed the blog. It was certainly an experience I will never forget. It is hard to believe my girl is going to be in high school this August! When I started blogging here, she was only seven! Time flies! (For the record, I think I am two inches shorter than she is now, hee hee). Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Great article! My twelve year old daughter to going to Washington DC next March on a four day school trip. Wish I could go too, but I won’t be able to. We are from Tennessee so it is a pretty good distance, they are flying. Thank you for sharing, she will love the article and photos.
Hi Jennifer, How fun! She will have a blast. And don’t worry about her, she will be fine. Those school trips are planned and executed perfectly. The kids have a wonderful time. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
This is a beautiful blog. Made me cry because I was born during WWII and grew up during Korea and Viet Nam I was a young wife and mother. My husband Richard, of almost 19 years, is a former Marine who served in Viet Nam. He cried when he saw the names of all in the Viet Nam war who never made it back home. I love and am so very proud of our American History and all the brave Americans who made it great and free.
I would have loved to have seen the young people with you and hear their comments. So many of our schools and colleges no longer teach American History. What a shame.
Hi Mom, I don’t know about other schools, but I thought our middle school did a good job of teaching it. History was always my favorite subject in school, and I still like to read about it. I remember getting my History textbooks the first day of school and staying up late reading the whole thing! Love you, Nicole
Wow, it looks like you hit all the best sights! That is a city I also need to get to. Your pictures really stoked my enthusiasm.
Too funny about the Danes you ran into. Last time I was in FL visiting my parents, we were at the Clearwater Aquarium. I heard a little boy chattering excitedly to his mom in Danish about goodies he found in the gift shop, and followed their voices. Family of 3 visiting FL. They were surprised, not expecting to run into Danish-speaking Americans LOL! (For a small country/low population, those folks sure get around!)
Hi April! Isn’t it amazing where you run into people? I’ve been to the Aquarium in Clearwater, Fl, as well and it is kind of a remote place (but somewhere I want to go again, loved it)! How funny you ran into Danes! Little trivia: there are more Danes abroad than IN Denmark. I read that somewhere, not sure if it is true, but certainly seems like it, lol! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
Oh how fun for you to get to go on this trip with your daughter. DC is one of those places that I’ve wanted to go forever. Someday I’ll get there I hope! I loved all your pictures. Thanks for sharing!
– Dori –
Hi Dori! It is a great place to visit. You need to plan that trip, and head north to visit me, too. 😉 What fun we would have! Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole
What a great tour around DC! I was there for a day but missed the Vietnam Memorial and the changing of the guard. I loved the Newseum. You reminded me I want to go back!
Hi Lorrie! Isn’t DC great? It’s one of those places where you can never see it all. There is so much to see. I don’t think I saw ALL of the Newseum, either. I want to go back too! Thanks for reading and commenting. Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole