Tim: "Let's take the metro and go to Arlington!"
Suzanne: "Arlington...as in Arlington CEMETERY??!!!!"
Suzanne: "You're insane!!! Arlington's a half-day thing! It's a ton of walking. We would have 45 minutes at most! That's crazy; can't do it!! NO CAN DO!"
We hopped on the metro with the exhausted kids...who had no idea what they were heading into...and you know...why tell them? Let them enjoy sitting for ten minutes. The metro lets you off about 1/2 mile from the entrance gate, which you realize, once you get to it, is just the entrance to a LONG, UPHILL hike to Kennedy's Grave and the Eternal Flame, which is another long hike from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Do you know why I love this picture? Look at my kids. They are solemn. They are quiet. They are respectfully NOT picking on, poking, pummelling or pinching each other at all!...Granted it took low blood sugar, utter exhaustion and the presence of death, to do it...but it's just good to know it can be.
This was her face when we told her we were now walking further up to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. "We are hiking to his grave and we don't even know who it is?" That was pretty much the consensus until...
... we got there a few minutes before the changing of the guard. It was touching and beautiful. And we could sit.
"You can't run, Mom. It's a cemetery. You have to show respect."
"You are absolutely right, Zachary. Here's what. We will walk, but we will walk as fast as a slow RUN."
"But we are so hungry."
"Kids, listen up! Make it down this mountain (it felt like a mountain at this point) and you can order WHATEVER YOU WANT AT DINNER! ANYTHING!!!!"
"Seriously? We can get pops? And dessert? And we can order whatever we want off the menu?"
"Yes! WHATEVER YOU WANT! NOW RUN!!!...I MEAN WALK."
And we did.
I believe it was at this point that, despite the above mentioned bribe, they suggested we just bury them there when they dropped dead. One of the boys actually picked out a nice spot. But that remark quickly brought on the realization of how blessed we truly are to have the freedom and ability and health to have a day such as we'd had, with a fun dinner with friends ahead of us. And all in all, despite our numb legs and light heads, we were all grateful we'd had a chance to see and think about the life sacrifices that have been made on our behalf.