Sunday, May 28, 2006


The Mall in Washington

This one is from my trip to northern Virginia two weeks ago.

My first visit to Washington, D.C. was back in early 1962, back when I was a fourth-grader. I remember being thoroughly impressed with everything we saw - the White House, the Capitol, the National Archives, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, FBI Headquarters, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.

I also remember one of my friends buying a bag of Cheese Popcorn at a rest stop on the way down from New York. That night, he puked it all up.

We raised holy hell in the hotel - the Carlyle, was it? - that night. Adult chaperones had to come in and administer verbal smackdowns at least once. But I was, withal, glad to be there in our Nation’s Capital...and proud to be an American.

In college, I’d spend vacation weeks in northern Virginia with my friend Steve, tooling around D.C. and its environs in my crappy old Chevy Malibu.

In 1976, I was there at the Bicentennial, hanging out on the Mall, watching the fireworks.

Two years ago this month, She Who Must Be Obeyed and I, along with Steve, his bride Sue, and a small army of our classmates, were enjoying an intimate little tour of the Capitol, watching the sun set from one of the terraces on the North Wing.

All those visits to Our Nation’s Capital, and yet, it was that first trip back in 1962 that made the deepest impression on me. And every time I go back, I feel an echo of that same thrill, that same pride in being an American.

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