In May of 2006, I had occasion to be vear Washington D.C. I had visited there as a kid and toured many of the sites. I love learning about people long ago and their history so for me D.C. is a fascinating place.
This time I spent a day walking all over the town. I went to the mall and into parts of the Smithsonian Museum. I saw the castle and took several pictures of it. I thought my daughter would like to know that there is indeed a castle in the U.S.A. I stood in front of the White House. Which is almost a castle. I would some day like to take a tour and see the splendor that is therein. I would like to see how the ruling class lives out their lives.
I walked up to the Naval Observatory. Along the road I walked were many consulates. The security at these was very fascinating. I noticed that the consulate for Great Britain is adjacent to the Naval Observatory, in which is the Vice President's residence. I don't think the adjacency a coincidence. I had the thought that since I could not tour the White House I might be able to tour the V.P.'s. To my disappointment, the same rules apply, or so I was told at the gate after my inquiry.
After descending from the hill on which sits the Naval Observatory, I headed for the mall again. For me, one of the most intriguing monuments is the Washington Monument. When I visited D.C. as a youth it was closed for repair and I did not get to go up it. I recall having been disappointed.
This time, about 3 PM, I arrived at the monument hoping to purchase a ticket or ascent up the monument. I was informed that tickets are free and available each day on a first come, first serve basis. There were no more tickets. I hung my head in disgust at my own lack of preparation. I walked from the ticket booth up to the monument and after taking a few pictures. I sat on a bench. I tried to think if there were some way I could make time the following day prior to my flight out of town. There was simply not enough time.
Suddenly, the thought struck me that someone in line might have an extra ticket. I second guessed the thought and debated the embarrasment it might cause me to ask. I soon realized that it would be no trouble to ask and that I could only lose if I did not ask. I stood and asked if someone had an extra ticket. There was a school group from Illinois that was there and one of the chaperons piped up that they may indeed have an extra ticket. She said they needed to make sure all the kids got to go up but if there was an extra I was welcome to it. I waited with them for their turn to go up and I got to go too. I was so excited and gracious. How wonderful it was to be able to go up. The down side is that I never did catch the kind lady's name nor do I recall from which city in Illinois they all came. What tender mercy I received! In fact, there were many times that day when I was the benefactor.
The structure is amazing by itself but the view from the top is incredible. I was a little let down when I was not allowed to use the stairs to go up or down.