Friday, October 07, 2005

Go West Young Man (that leaves Pete out)

Two weeks on the road isn't enough when it comes to seeing the country; it's too much when it comes to the important people in one's life. We're back in the Northwet where sunshine and moonshine seem to be outlawed. The vacation may be done, but there's still more stuff to write about. The East is now West. We'll keep adding pieces to this blog because it's got more "legs". We'll check in so you can keep checkin' this out. C ya soon. Pete

Thursday, October 06, 2005

How do you spell Cooperstown? Posted by Picasa

He went...thataway! Posted by Picasa

Good Times Square Posted by Picasa sum it all up. -JVM

5000,2761, hundreds,15, 9, 3, 1.

What do these numbers mean? Miles in the air, miles in the van, towns(burghs, boroughs, townships) with cemeteries we saw,days we were gone, states whose air we breathed, lives that will never be the same, vacation that will always be remembered...respectively.

See why it might be difficult to point to any one thing as a highlight? Instead of just one, I'll give you a few of my favorites...the glimpses of backwater America, the text messages and phone calls to my kids and friends, feeling like a little kid at Fenway, playing catch with my brothers in the hotel parking lot in downtown D.C., still knowing what awe feels like, New York City (see previous remark), Cooperstown, and last but certainly not least, having a relationship with my brothers that allowed for alot of laughter and possibly opened the door to deeper things.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Moving ahead but not needing to get anywhere. The next town was likely another 300 year old tribute to good architecture, good farming and the 21st century trying to move more business into the cities. These were great places to see. Just glimpses of things that make America the place it is. Hey Will, seen any pumpkins? Posted by Picasa

Self portrait at the observation tower of the Empire State building.  Posted by Picasa

Symbolism reigns in DC. Here, at the WW II memorial, a pool reflects 4000 stars, each one representing 100 deaths. Posted by Picasa

The names of guys I may have cruised the boulevard with, men before their time that are now memorialized legends who likely wanted to leave their mark in some way other than this way. Posted by Picasa

As much as 'the Wall' brought home the individuality of war's injustices, the Holocaust museum brought with it the insanity of societies numbed to the obvious truths "that all men are created equal". Here are the names of towns in Europe whose Jewish populations were exterminated or towns whose very existence were terminated during WW II by the Nazi mentality. Inside each of the names of the towns, I could imagine another "Wall" equal to "the Wall" I had visited only one day earlier. ...and I hear the echoes of Durfar's thousands who have such a small voice .........  Posted by Picasa

Washington's monument has so many cool angles for pictures. Will caught the sun almost 'lighthouse like' on another of the absolutely gorgeous days we enjoyed on the trip. Posted by Picasa

The beer at Ebbits Grill across from the White House. They say this is where many of the dignitaries like to have lunch....which is undoubtedly why so many people came there while we were eating.... ;-) Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 03, 2005

A History Lesson

JVM-So far our travels have taken us over the surface of many roads through many historical places. From Pennsylvania through New York and Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Maryland and finally back here to D.C. All of which have taught me alot about the Revolutionary War and the Civil War and for that I'm grateful. Those battles were important to the founding and steadying of our country, however they always seemed very far removed from my own history. Being a first generation American, my forefathers were not a part of any of that history since they were still in the Netherlands. So today as we toured the Holocaust Museum the road travelled was one below the surface. As I watched the very first presentation I was struck with the reality of it. It was moving. It was sickening. It was sad. How could anyone muster that kind of hate toward another human. It was hard to see and hear about for many reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that my dad was on one of those trains. He only told the story to me once because it gave him terrible nightmares, but had that train taken a right at the fork instead of a left, I might not be writing this right now. The lefthand turn, you see, meant he went to a work camp(from which he escaped) instead of a death camp. The word 'blessed' means more to me today than it did yesterday.

The DC Metro subway runs often, runs well and is easy to access. Good way to get from here to there. Discovered it on Day 2.  Posted by Picasa

WWII Memorial fountains. The dimly lit columns in the background each represent a state of the Union. Posted by Picasa

They touch us as we reach out. We see ourselves more clearly as we look into their sacrifice.  Posted by Picasa

What do all the flags mean, mommy? Posted by Picasa

For the single guy who asked. Posted by Picasa

One of the few "bushes" we saw at the White House, though we were delayed in our taxi by the Presidential motorcade speeding by. Does that count? I"m sure George said hi to each of us as he sped by. Posted by Picasa

With Abe Posted by Picasa

A VanderMuelen in the book of the wall. An army corporal who gave his life while I "suffered" through the zits of my sophomore year of high school. Posted by Picasa

"the wall" : names of freedom staring into the distance of freedom's founder, their first commander in chief. Posted by Picasa

The Weather is great: Wish U were here :-)

The Pacific Northwest in each of us is obsessed with weather (if that's not true for you why not let the rest of us in on your secret for ignoring the drizzle of the clouds and the dribble of the weather people who makes gobs of money for guessing on Mother Nature's next whim...). The tourist in Will, John and I smile each morning when we wake up to the bright shadows playing against buildings and trees. It's amazing that we've only been dampened on one of the thirteen days so far. Yesterday's trek through the Washington Mall's memorials to Lincoln, Washington and more importantly to the many soldiers of the wars fought to preserve a way of life was done in t-shirt, shorts and open-toed shoes. Last night I took another tour of the same monuments to see what darkness and light do to the statues and to the atmosphere of the memorial. I've added a couple pix to give a sense of that. That trek was done in the same tourist garb since it had gone all the way from 80 degrees earlier that day to 70 degrees with very little humidity. Fall's smells accompanied us again: the musty but warm oak & crisp, cowboy-like cedar tapped our senses during the day. What a great time to be here. I highly recommend a fall weekend visit to DC if you want to get places, see things (and not mountains of people) and learn about our history.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Our first view of the Capitol on Saturday afternoon.  Posted by Picasa

Iwo Jima Memorial: our first visited site in DC, about 1/4 mile from our hotel in Arlington, Virginia. Posted by Picasa

For my friend AB. Posted by Picasa

Reasons to fight. Posted by Picasa

The Shadows of sacrifice and determined commitment gave us a more secure place to live. Semper Fi. Posted by Picasa

On the road to nowhere. I think this photo shows that we're in the middle of it. Posted by Picasa