Day three was the Fourth of July! The fourth has always been one of my favorite holidays, what with family barbecues, killer fireworks, and the typical sparkler or two. This year was a little different, spending it somewhere new, but we made the most of it still, and being in our nation's capitol made it a little more special.
We started the day out at the Library of Congress. It didn't seem to appeal to anyone else in the group, but they tagged along, and I think they were surprised at how cool it was. We got there in time for the first guided tour that morning, and were able to see the main reading room, and also learn a ton about the architecture of the building that we wouldn't have learned if we just walked around by ourselves. The building itself is beautiful, but when we walked into the viewing area of the reading room and could see all the books, I almost died. It is incredible. We also got to see Thomas Jefferson's collection of books! Some of them had been destroyed in the fire, so they used different colors of ribbon to mark which books were original, which were replacements, and then they used book boxes to show which books they were still searching for. It was really neat!
After the library, we started walking to the parade route. At this point, there were eleven of us, but Brandon and I, along with his dad, has paused to take a picture in front of the capitol. The rest of the group went on ahead of us, so it was just us three for a few minutes. We were passing the Supreme Court building when Brandon's dad stops and says "well, there's a naked man on the steps up there." And sure enough, there was a legit naked man standing at the top of the steps reading from a book. His clothes were strewn all over the steps below him. Luckily we were far enough away that we couldn't see anything, but for some reason it was the funniest thing to us. I mean, the guy got pushed down to the ground and cuffed by a police officer, so bad day for him, but it was entertaining for us. We just kept saying, "well, we've seen everything we need to see here, I guess we can go home now."
We met up with the rest of the group (who had been walking the wrong way and had to turn around, so naked man entertained us and saved us some steps, so win-win) and went to find a spot for the parade. I love parades, I really do, so I was super excited to see the parade in DC. It was an hour and a half long though, with no candy, so it didn't quite meet expectations, but there was a band from Jerome, Idaho in it, so that was way cool! It had been rainy earlier that day, so the grass was wet and most everyone was standing the whole time, but we got lucky that it wasn't raining during the parade! Afterward, we got some lunch, during which it did start raining again, so the timing really couldn't have been better.
It was pouring rain as we walked back down to the mall after lunch. We had decided to go to a few museums that afternoon, which ended up being a great plan since it rained basically until the fireworks that night. First we went to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. My favorite part was seeing one of the multiple pairs of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz. They also just had a ton of old stuff there, like old technology, old cars, and even the Gunboat Philadelphia that had been found at the bottom of Lake Champlain. After a few hours there, we went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. There were lots of animals (not live, of course), an exhibition on human origins, and we got to see the Hope Diamond too! It all was really neat, but man you could spend thousands of years in each museum and still not be able to read about everything.
We had dinner at Elephant and Castle that night, Brandon's favorite place from the two times he went to Boston, and then made our way back to the mall for the fireworks. Sadly, it was pretty much too cloudy to see the individual fireworks (with the except of the few that were lower in the sky) but the big ones made the entire sky light up, so even though we couldn't see the fireworks, we could still see the color. And having the sky turn red and blue and white behind the Washington Monument was probably one of the coolest things I'll ever see in my life.