Day 5 was a busy one! Luckily, we got to sleep in a little bit, because the tickets we had for the first museum that day were for eleven o'clock. We got to the Holocaust museum a little before eleven and found seats for a presentation given by a lady who volunteered there, and whose family lived during and was strongly affected by the holocaust. Her family was able to move around a lot, because they had family in other countries, so they were never sent to a concentration camp or anything, but it was still so interesting to hear how her life was affected. After her talk, we made our way through the museum. Talk about heavy. It honestly still blows my mind that the holocaust even happened, because it is too awful to even fathom. The part that impacted Brandon and I the most was the collection of shoes from the prisoners held at the camp. There is a picture of it in the slideshow below.
We all got separated in the museum, because you really could spend anywhere from an hour to three days in there, so Brandon and I found each other when we were done and went to the museum cafe for lunch. It was hard to find anything to say after that experience, because smiling and laughing almost seemed wrong at first. It just was a really impactful experience, and made me think a lot about how things that are happening in today's world are similar to the hate the Jews felt. This kind of goes back to my post on what happened in Orlando, but everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and love, no matter their race, religion, physical features, favorite food...the world just needs to be better about loving one another. All lives matter.
After lunch we rented a paddle boat and paddled around Tidal Basin, which gave us a great view of the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. It was hotter than an oven out there, though, so we only stayed on the water for thirty minutes, even though we had paid for a full hour. Our next reservation wasn't until four thirty, so we went back to the cafe for a little bit and cooled off before walking to the Washington Monument. I was so glad we had gotten tickets in advance to go to the top of the monument! In order to get tickets the day of, you have to get to the monument at like 6:30 am, and even then they go quickly. Luckily we thought ahead and got them online weeks in advance!
The monument, like the Marine Corps Memorial, was so much bigger than I thought it was be. Mostly taller, because it really isn't all that big around. At the very top they had these tiny windows you could look out of, and if you looked straight down, you couldn't even see the base of the monument, just the ground. It was scary! But it was really nice to be up there and get an aerial view of the mall, the white house, the capitol, and all the other places we had seen or were planning to see in the next few days.
Since we were already on the national mall, we decided to visit a few other memorials that night. We walked to the World War II Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial (again, so much bigger and grander than I imagined!), the Jefferson Memorial, the FDR Memorial, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and a few others. Did I mention that we walked to all these places? It was still so hot out, but we figured that we might as well go for it since we were already in the area, and we ended up walking about nine and a half miles total that day! We averaged about eight the entire trip, but I think everyone's feet were sore the day after our monument tour.
I loved seeing the Lincoln Memorial, because it is so iconic, but I think that the Martin Luther King and FDR memorials were my favorite. Martin Luther King's, because I think it perfectly captures the kind of leader he was (we only have a picture of half the memorial, so google it, because the entire thing just gives it so much more meaning.), and FDR's, because it was mainly just quotes by him that I think are applicable to the country at any given time no matter what we are going through. My favorite is "We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." I just think this corresponds so well with what is happening around the world on a daily basis. It just instilled a little hope in me that maybe someday there won't be so many tragedies happening around us.