While in Washington D.C., Anna and I stayed with the one and only Dana Heusinkveld, superfriend extraordinaire and government acronym connoisseur. I forget which exact agency she works in, but I remember it’s not NASA, EPA, NSA, DHS, DOE, the DNC, nor the GOP. If I had to take a guess, I’d say that she probably worked in the DIA department, and for you Detroiters who might happen to be reading this in your spare moments between urban farming and cheering for sports teams named after big cats, I’m not talking about the art museum that may or may not have started selling off its art when Motor City declared bankruptcy. (Seriously, did that even happen? Or was that just the “news” creating the news for their own benefit? Someone enlighten me…) No, folks, the DIA I am referring to is the not-yet-official government agency dedicated to Dana’s awesomeness: the Dana Is Awesome agency.
The D.C. area isn’t entirely consumed with DIA fever yet, though I predict it will spread rapidly. Rather, people visiting the nation’s capitol are still wowed and awed, as they truly should be, by the numerous monuments and memorials gracing the mall and surrounding area. I know your favorite blogger here was having a blast taking in the sights for the first time since his 8th grade class trip to D.C. This time, he was much more focused on the academic side of things as opposed to recreating humorous scenes from the movie Billy Madison, which he had seen for the first time on the coach bus from Ann Arbor to D.C . with his very mature 8th grade classmates… This time around, I pondered many of the things I greatly enjoy about this country, as well as many of the things that simply depress me.
It’s true I frequently succumb to the constantly negative news coming from D.C., and I take on a very pessimistic attitude toward all that happens (or doesn’t happen) in our federal government. The more I read and learn, often the more discouraged I become. And, while I tend to find myself agreeing with one of the two major political parties pretty much most of the time, I also feel like the current state of affairs where the two parties just agree to never agree (and seemingly never accomplish much of anything, all the while collecting pretty hefty paychecks and awesome health benefits) leaves a pretty sour taste in my mouth. And when you combine this with how possession of individual or corporate wealth is one’s permission slip to influence important decisions, I begin to realize that sour taste in my mouth isn’t just from too many Sour Patch Kids at the movies…
With these discouraging aspects of our government in mind, you’re hopefully beginning to see the value of the DIA; it’s nice to have something totally awesome to look forward to when in D.C.! And Dana, as well as her family, are totally awesome. We also were super happy to get to spend some time with our friends Ellen and Aaron, taking in the views over the Potomac and enjoying some pretty tasty Mexican fare. Likewise, another totally awesome and moving experience during our time in D.C. was visiting the new World War II memorial. Anna and I had recently heard about the memorial from Anna’s grandma’s friend Dave, who himself is a WWII veteran and had visited the memorial through a program that brings vets to see the memorial. It was obvious to me as I listened to him describe it that seeing the memorial could be a powerful experience. And, just as I suspected, seeing and walking around the memorial proved to be a memorable experience, especially when reflecting upon both of my grandfathers’ roles and participation in the war. But when we saw a group of veterans from Arizona getting the tour, even this politics-jaded and soon to be international tough guy (I teach middle school… that’s tough stuff!) had to fight off some tears.
Washington D.C. proved to be a great stop with great friends, and generally restored some of my optimism in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Enjoy a few pictures below, and get ready for a pretty rad video in an upcoming post! And never fear, the post focusing entirely on donuts will be written and posted sooner or later….
Disclaimer: Sorry about the thumbs in the pictures. Our blog’s photographer is still getting used to a new, super small camera.