Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

Motivation for Moms

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One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.
Mother Teresa

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Oh, my goodness...  I'm not 17 anymore...!!

Today was another terrific day in D.C.  :o)  We had plans to do the Smithsonian museums today, but we veered WAY off schedule, but that's okay, cause we're just having fun!

We drove all the way into D.C. because I just REALLY hate the Metro.  (Did I forget to tell the story about how yesterday riding the Metro in to D.C. I almost passed out?  Well, I did.  But that's not why I hate it.) 

We arrived at the Iwo Jima Memorial and the Marines Corps Band was just finishing practicing for a concert to be held tomorrow evening (I think).  That was neat to see.  They quickly left, and we carried on.  Reese wanted to go to the Pentagon, but by the time we got in there, the parking area was so crazy and I was so nervous about driving the wrong way or going in a Restricted area that we left and my nerves were shot.  Sorry, Reese!!  Next time, we'll take the bus in and they'll take us to the right place.

My husband's father fought (and survived) the battle at Iwo Jima so I felt really honored to visit here and share it with Reese.

   Reese would really love to be able to serve in the military (and would be GREAT at it!) but he can't, due to his legs and hand...  He's got all the traits that would make him an EXCEPTIONAL Marine, but it's just not meant to be...

A close up.  It was VERY hazy today, so I had a hard time getting good photos.  The lighting was just really weird and my camera didn't always handle it well.  As a result, several pictures were not included in this blog post.

   The base of the monument.

  After Iwo Jima, we drove over to Arlington National Cemetery, where we parked our car for the day.  Reese initially didn't really think he'd enjoy this place, but he soon changed his mind.  ;o)

  We walked ALL OVER the cemetery, and our first stop was JFK and Jackie's graves, with the Eternal Flame. 

  We walked, and walked and walked...

There was a little amphitheater that was not being used with grassy "ceilings".  It was really pretty.  Reese got a pretty nice shot of me, too!  (This was before losing the 87 pounds of fat lost after walking the 345 miles that we walked that day.  In the heat.  And the humidity!)

  Reese was really appreciative of the sacrifices of the military.  He is very patriotic and loves his adopted country very much.  I love that about him. 

Eventually, we arrived at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.  Naturally, we stayed for the Changing of the Guard.  I remember seeing this when I was 16 and I never forgot it.  There is something SO amazing about this ceremony (the whole thing, really!) that affects you.  It's almost a spiritual feeling.  To know the extreme importance placed on upon unknown soldiers who died fighting for MY freedom and knowing how eternally their graves are guarded...  well, you have to be there.  I can't fully explain it...

Here is the "boss", officiating over the change.  Wow.  These people are SERIOUS about their duty.  I found a really cool website explaining some of the amazing sacrifices that these guards give on this website:  http://sharprightturn.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/facts-about-tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier/  Your jaw will drop when reading some of the stuff that these guys give up for the honor of guarding the Unknowns.

So then, my precious, precious son suggests that we WALK TO THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL.  Yes!  We'd just walked up and down these HUGE hills in the heat all over Arlington, and he thinks nothing of suggesting that we simply walk the mile + distance loaded down with the backpack and camera bag.  Suuuuuure, son!!  NO PROBLEM!!!  So we walked...

 At this point, when the photo was taken, I couldn't feel my legs from the long walk.  Being the good sport I am, I am still smiling.

 The medics were tending to me at this point.

We bought a hotdog, drink and shared a large fries for lunch.  I kid you not, it was $18.  More medics.

After I came to, we decided as long as we were there, we might as well walk down the Reflecting Pool to the new WWII Memorial.  WHY NOT?!  The IV the Medics gave me helped quite a bit, so off we set.  The first stop was at the Vietnam Memorial.

No, this is not just a grassy yard.  Look beyond it.  You can see the Wall. 

 A closer view.  Though it seems very simple, a park ranger explained that there is a LOT of symbolism that went into the design.

We then moved on to a monument that I'm quite sure no one reading this blog (all 5 of you) has ever heard of.  "Memorial to the 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence".  I was happy to know there was a monument made to these men who nearly ALL came to a violent end after signing the document as they were then known as traitors.  Their homes were burned down, their families slaughtered, etc.  Yet, so little is made of them.  So we headed on over there, which wasn't too easy since I couldn't feel my legs, but also there was no sign to lead us and the path we took was VERY rough - it obviously BADLY needed to be repaved and it was surprising.  Also, the path was dirty and the water that the monument was displayed on (as in a small peninsula) was FILTHY.  Could this really be it??  Yes, it was.  The names of the Signers were all carved in blocks with their names, occupations, and home towns, all written in gold leaf and in their handwriting.  But, the gold leaf was peeling, or filled with dirt, and there were cigarette butts and other trash all over the ground.  VERY SAD.  We fully plan on talking to our Representative friend, Sandy Adams, about this, and see if there's something she can do.  We also might mention it to our other friend, Ron Paul.  (We plan to go visit them again tomorrow or Thursday.)

So here are a few pictures.  This memorial could be so beautiful if it was TENDED TO!!!

  It's basically two semi-circles made up of the blocks.  I should have uploaded a photo of one of the blocks.  You can see the water and the Washington Monument in the background.  See how pretty this place could be?  It's so terribly, terribly neglected...


Moving on (can't feel my hips), we walked to the new WWII Memorial.  I had a patient tell me that he was flown (with other vets) on a private jet to the dedication of this memorial and he said how much it meant to him.  It's an AMAZING, WONDERFUL memorial!!!  WOW!!  The pictures I took simply do not do it justice.  Finally, finally, a monument to WWII has been erected and it is out of this world.

Each state had a column with a wreath.

An overview.

Each of these stars represents 100 American soldiers killed in battle. 

  There were two of these "gazebos", one for the Atlantic, one for the Pacific.  All of the states were represented, as well as all of the American territories.


  A distant view, with the Lincoln Memorial in the background (the WWII Memorial is practically at the base of the Washington Monument).


Since I already couldn't feel anything from my waist, down, and my arms were starting to go numb, too, we figured we might as well keep going.  So, we walked to the White House!

Some day, Reese!  Some day!!

After this, we walked to the Metro Station, 1/4 mile away, downtown.  We saw some fancy schmancy places, I'll tell you!  Pretty neat!  We took the Metro back to the Arlington Cemetery (no, I was NOT going to walk back there!!!!!!!!) and thought someone stole our rental car.  One of the workers at the cemetery helped us find it, on the lowest level of the garage, right where we left it.  ;op  We were tired.

Good night!!  I'M GOING TO BED!!!!  Oh, and by the way, after my long, hot bath, all the feeling came back into my body, and now I'm just sore all over.  LOL


RN1979 said...

Fantastic Job! You are indeed of professional photographer caliber, Missy - I am so impressed! My favorite, myself, is the WWII Memorial. They did an magnificent job of creating that place! Neither Alex or I wanted to leave... My heart goes out to you with the walking. I did it one day with Alex and was spent. It was fun, but exhausting. LOL! Sleep well! :)

Amy L said...

Missy, you are the BEST mom! But you were taught by the best. Your Mom rocks! I am so happy you and Reese got to make this trip. And tell him, that I will definitely be voting for him when he runs for president!!:)

Love ya!

eliz said...

Wow! I felt just like I was there with you! Thank You for sharing! You are a wonderful mom! (((HUGS))) to you!

Mark E. T said...

My Dad was able to go see the Iwo Monument a couple of times - and the museum in Quantic VA. I wish that he had been able to see the WW2 monument. I'm so glad for the pictures... You are doing such a great job with them. I'm so glad that Reese is able to get up there to see DC. Out of anyone I know, he would appreciate it the most. :)

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My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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