Thursday, July 20, 2017

History Lessons

Washington, D.C. is by far my favorite city in which to be a tourist.  So when I was invited to the capital last weekend, naturally I jumped at the chance. Even before I landed Friday afternoon, I knew I wanted to wander through the monuments at night!

But I wasn't always so gung-ho.

Lincoln Memorial
History was not a subject that interested me as a student at any level. The last history class I took was a two-parter: American History through 1877 and American History 1877 to Present. I never bothered to learn why why 1877 was such a pivotal year to switch syllabi. I don't remember my professors ever making it that far. Likewise, we never made it to modern history. Essentially, I learned the same stories repeatedly from elementary school through college (which thankfully was abbreviated during that beauty of higher education: summer school).

Sadly, not one educator was ever able to bring history to life for me.

Lincoln's second inaugural speech, 1865

I can't pinpoint the moment that all changed, but suffice to say I'm now a complete sucker for everything from antebellum homes with creaking, polished wood floors to cold marble monuments, gleaming beneath floodlights, etched with immortal words.

I love sterile museums that smell of oil paint and dusty light bulbs, ancient libraries with the musty odor of mildew and well-loved books, and documentaries that teach me what I don't remember from a lifetime of boring lectures and scribbling notes straight from the chalkboard.

My deepest apologies to Mr. Bolin from First Baptist Church School who tried so hard to teach me world history, American history, even Louisiana history in the late 1980's and early 1990's. You'll be happy to know that, at long last, I get it.

I didn't get to capture nearly as many pictures as I wanted this time, but I will be back in Washington soon. Seeing this stuff never gets old!

U.S. Capitol

Washington Monument
Just the most fabulous bicycle in DC!