Monday, April 5, 2010

A Weekend in Our Nation's Capital

I am going to digress from the ordinary topics of Tort Talk to tell you a little about a great Easter Weekend trip I took to Washington, D.C. with my family. The trip reminded me of the important place attorneys have in our Nation's history and rejuvenated in me a sense that we are indeed a part of a noble profession that is an integral part of shaping society as we know it.

The weather was incredible and the Cherry Blossoms were blooming. Although we were told that the city was flooded with hundreds of thousands of tourists, the sites are so spread out that it didn't really seem overcrowded.

We enjoyed the usual but awe-inspiring sites such as the Capitol Building, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery gave us a chance to explain to our boys the importance of what others had previously done for us so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we do on a daily basis. A tour guide explained to us that the Arlington National Cemetery may be nearing capacity in a few years, particularly in light of the ongoing Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, which was sad to hear--made everything seem more real.

On another day, we went to see the Supreme Court Building, pictured below. Spent time explaining to my boys that this was the home to the highest Court in the land. They lost interest when I went into a discussion of judicial activism versus strict constructionism.






I had a sense or a feeling of the awesome power of things in Washington when we saw Marine One, the President's helicopter, fly overhead towards the White House. Don't know if the President was on it but it was cool to see.

We also got to see original documents in the National Archives that started this legal business of ours, including the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Simply incredible to see the real documents from which all other laws emanate.

I had a somewhat difficult but enjoyable time trying to explain the significance of the documents to my boys and their ongoing impact on society over 200 years since they were drafted (primarily by lawyers). Again, the trip and explaining things to my kids was a great reminder of the importance of the law and the nobility of our profession.

My family and I topped off the weekend by participating in the Annual Easter Egg Roll on Easter Monday on the White House grounds! Prior to our trip, we put in for the lottery to get tickets for this event. We read that over 270,000 applications were submitted for tickets from all around the country. My family and I were just a few of the 30,000 people who were awarded tickets. Unbelievable.

We were let onto the White House grounds, under heavy security, in five time-separated groups of about 6,000 people at a time. We were allowed two hours to mill about the various activities offered. The grounds of the White House are so sprawling that it again did not seem to be overcrowded.

We participated in the Easter Egg Roll which has been going on every Easter since the late 1800s and so we were a part of history. We also visited various arts and crafts exhibits and enjoyed the entertainment provided. There were some teeny-bopper acts that I was not familiar with, the movie star Reese Witherspoon was doing storybook time, and we also saw the cast of the TV show "Glee" put on a half hour show.

We were not fortunate to see the President or the First Lady during our time on the grounds. But we did get to wander about on the lawn up to about only 20-30 yards from the main building of the White House and we were only about 150 yards away from where the Oval Office was situated. I couldn't believe it--truly a memory my family and I will remember forever.

How many people can say they wandered the White House grounds this close to the White House itself?











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