July 31, 2008

Day 4 Four Score & Seven years ago...

East Coast Trip: Day 4

Another favorite spot~Gettysburg. Like, Mt. Vernon, Gettysburg is always a moving even spiritual experience.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure... " Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

It is remarkably more meaningful to learn about history while actually, physically standing on the very ground where that history was made. It makes the stories come to life!

I thought the whole day was going to be lost when I realized, shortly after beginning our tour, that my camera battery was dead! I couldn't believe it. We desperately purchased a cheap, disposable, digital camera just so we could get pictures. Thankfully, I was able to get a few good photos ~ but you'll have to forgive me for the very bad, blurry photos.

It was a poignant walk as we crossed the fields of Picket’s fateful charge where thousands of men died.

The momentous Little & Big Round Top

Our hearts were stirred as we climbed through the boulders of Little & Big Round Top and Devil's Den where the Union troops miraculously held their ground.

For lunch we went to the historic Dobbin's House~ Gettysburg's oldest, most historic home built in 1776! It was like stepping back in time. The Tavern is in the cellar. It is cold & dark, lit only by candlelight, and smelled like old wet rocks and wood and the waitresses were dressed in Civil War Era clothes. We enjoyed traditional colonial cuisine ~ homemade breads, old fashioned Rootbeer, their famous & delicious French onion soup and homemade, all American apple pie!

Even with our dead camera battery ~ it was a great day.

End of Day 4.

July 30, 2008

Day 3 East Coast Mt. Vernon

East Coast Trip: Day 3

One of our most favorite sites: Mount Vernon ~ home of George Washington. We love it here. What a great man Washington was. He was handsome, educated, charismatic, the people loved him, they honored him, even almost worshiped him, and yet he remained humble never seeking fame or power ~ always remaining faithful & loyal to his people and country. He was spiritual and religious often seeking strength, guidance, and assistance from God. We love all the amazing stories about Washington and his many miraculous escapes from the enemy and/or deliverance's from defeat! Heavenly Father was watching over him indeed.

"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them... And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle. And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone forth out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations." (1 Nephi 13:16-19)

We decided George Washington was an Indiana Jones ~ able to escape impossible situations while bullets whizzed by with barely a scratch. : )

In his funeral oration for George Washington, Henry Lee said that of all Americans, he was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Mt. Vernon is beautiful and peaceful. In it's own way it was a spiritual experience. How thankful we are to good, honest, humble men ~ like George Washington ~ who only wanted what was best for their country and who sought the will of the Lord.

End of Day 3

July 29, 2008

Day 2 Washington DC

East Coast Trip: Day # 2

Thanks to Jeff Flake, we had a "private" tour of the Capital. We were glad to go through the "secret" underground tunnels and avoid the long lines. The Capital is a huge, amazing and beautiful building. More like a museum than Government building. Jaren & Michelle loved the story of how John Adams could hear the whispers of the Democrats who sat on the other side of the room. Then, it was lots of fun as we tried it for ourselves and could hear eachother through the crowd across the room.

Michelle our avid reader and book lover was excited to go to the National Library of Congress! Even as much as she reads, I'm not sure she'll be able to read them all. : ) There are about 20 million books kept in the Library of Congress. At least she has a good start.

This building was simply stunning with its beautiful architecture, exquisite art and ornate details. We felt like we were in Versailles again!

Arlington Cemetery is always a sobering and humbling experience. Tombstone after tombstone, row after row, hundreds and hundreds of graves filled with men ~husbands, fathers, sons, brothers who gave their lives defending our freedoms.

Always neat to watch the changing

of the Gaurd at Arlington Cemetery.

Back at the White House. We were fascinated as we watched the gaurds, in full military uniform with machine guns in hand, pace the roof of the White House. Then...

it was exciting to watch President Bush arrive from Andrews Air Force Base and land right on the lawn!

We had to stop and feed Jaren often. : )

Five Guys Burgers! Big, juicy, greasy, fattening and delicious.

End of Day #2

July 28, 2008

Day 1 East Coast Trip 2008

East Coast Trip 2008

We had an incredible trip ~ filled with exciting events, fun times, touching moments and spiritual experiences. We love this trip as we visit American history sites and then Church history sites and see how the hand of the Lord is truly in all things. Our appreciation for our founding fathers and early settlers was deepened and our testimonies of the gospel and the restoration was strengthened.

First Day: Air & Space Museum. This was a museum Jaren actually truly enjoyed. : ) We saw airplanes, rockets, space ships, space modules, even space rocks! Yes, a real rock from the moon and we touched it. I thought it was pretty cool. But Jaren said it would really only be cool if the rock was still on the moon and we were touching it because we were also on the moon. "Now, that would be cool!" After walking through a real space shuttle module we realized astronauts must be small men. Jaren didn't fit in anything and had to seriously duck through every doorway.

The National Archives: where we saw the original Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

From there we went to the Museum of Natural History. You could spend days in there. You could get lost in there! I think we did! : )

Next Ford's Theater: April 14, 1865 John Wilkes Booth snuck into the private box at Ford's Theater where President Lincoln sat, aimed his derringer and squeezed the trigger. Booth's shot resonates to this day.

This is the Peterson home, across the street from the theater, where President Lincoln was taken and efforts were made to save his life. His 6ft-4inch frame was too long for the bed in which they laid him. Unable to break the footboard they placed his body diagonally across the mattress. That is how the great Abraham Lincoln ~ the man who had freed slaves, saved the union and nobly led the country during 4 years of bloody civil war ~ spent the last 9 hours of his life.

And so, of course, from here we went to the grand Memorial which honors this great President...

We also visited the Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, Washington Memorial and Jefferson Memorial.

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

I love the Jefferson Memorial. We decided that it should be required that all American citizens visit American history sites. You simply cannot visit these places and not realize that these men were deeply spiritual and religious. They weren't perfect, they even had different views on religion and politics. But they all believed in God and recognized His hand in the great work they were trying to accomplish for this country.

End of Day #1.