Arriving at the bus, ready to begin our trip at 2:00 A.M. Monday morning was the only downside to the week. We managed nicely, however and boarded our bus for the 3 hour drive to the airport. The security at the airport has changed just a tad since I last flew 8 years ago, but all 41 people in our group boarded the first plane without any notable incident. The vast majority of the kids had never flown before, many having never left our state and some even from our local area. Our flights were completely uneventful (which is what I look for in a flight) and we landed in Baltimore in the early evening.
Lollipop Pop and her friends were pooped, but rarin' to go! The kids thought grabbing baggage off of the carousel was exciting and who am I to spoil their fun?
We were met by the most wonderful bus driver/guide/historian/Papa Bear/teacher/friend, J.D. Before I had children, I travelled quite a bit and have met my share of tour guides...J.D. is like none I have ever encountered. I will share more about him later...suffice it to say that he is amazing! Our first stop was dinner on the water and the sunset afterward was a great way to begin our trip.
After dinner, we travelled to the Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. JD explained that this statue depicts one of the most famous incidents of WWII. The raising of the American flag by Marines on Mount Suribachi was caught on film and became a Pulitzer Prize winning photo. The Memorial was made at a cost of $850,000.00 and was raised solely by U.S. Marines, former Marines, Marine Corps Reservists, friends of the Marine Corps, and members of the Naval Service. As JD drove around the Memorial in a circle, it appeared that the flag was actually being raised! The base of the Memorial is made of Swedish granite and has the names and dates of every principal Marine Corps engagement since the founding of the Corps, as well as the inscription that honors the memory of those Marines who gave their lives since November 1775! It was very poignant to also have a Marine travelling with us as a parent.
Visiting the Jefferson Memorial was next and what a beautiful sight this is after dark. The photos I took do not do this Monument any justice, whatsoever!
The design is modeled after the Pantheon in Rome and was chosen because this style of architecture was brought to America by Jefferson himself. The statue of Jefferson looks out from the interior of the Memorial toward the White House. There were gobs of people...all of whom were in as much awe of this place as I was. The kids enjoyed it even though they were exhausted by this point. We arrived at our hotel at nearly 11:00PM and promptly crashed!