Because there were no photos allowed in the Museum I have included photos from the walk there and back as well as the extra images from the City tour.
I got off the bus to a good luck from Christina because she knew where I was going … gulp … but I think it is a good thing. Steve laughing at my change in attire… he is such a boy and has no idea about needing to be comfortable in this weather.
|Smithsonian Castle Rose Garden|
Popped on my ipod for the first time this trip since I had such a walk ahead of me alone and ventured off down the mall but decided that I was hungry so stopped at the carousel and had a sandwich and then enjoyed watching the kids delight in the ride. I love the happiness and the laughter.
I then walked through the grounds of the Smithsonian castle which were with rose gardens and bubbles. I also used this time for a toilet stop and grabbing a map. The way to the Holocaust museum is lined with office buildings which are dedicated to a lot of public servants and some of the buildings look really old.
I finally made it to the museum and through security …. Which the line was looonnnggggg. The place is massive and first thing you are warned about is no photos … so camera went away and then you are given a little pamphlet with a prisoner number and then their story and you are taken to the top of the building where the story begins.
I have studied this war extensively because of school and even read the third Reich, Diary of Anne Frank but nothing fully prepares you for this … the shear volumes of dead and lost people. The propaganda and how they orchestrated the whole production slams you hard. It was very hard to take.
The displays were simply amazing and done in a very honest real fashion. The initial part of the display was about how the war started and how they were portraying it to the rest of the world. Also how initially they shipped the Jewish population out as refugees but then countries like Britain, Australia and then finally USA didn’t want to deal with the “race issue” so they wouldn’t take any more effectively condemning them to death. You had to prove that you had relatives in those countries otherwise you were being shipped off to camps or segregated into various neighbourhoods.
|Washington Monument - the amazing blue skies|
While Hitler wanted the pure race he saw the Jews as the primary issue in the discord within the society because they ran a lot of the businesses within the cities. This became evident when they had to rebuild because there was no one to work in the rebuilt stores.
|Washington DC in the public service precinct|
They not only killed the Jewish people, but disabled, frail, homosexuals, freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and then the gypsies…. the sheer numbers took my breathe away along with the ambivalence of the people to where these people were disappearing too. As well as the countries who were ignoring it including Australia. How did they get away with killing over 6 million people? It truly broke my heart.
|Looking out from the Kennedy memorial to Washington DC|
As I wandered through at the gut wrenching displays and me regretting eating lunch because I was truly sick to my stomach. Then I got to the shoe display… for those who don’t know it is a combination of the shoes taken from Auschwitz along with the photo of the museum there. It slammed me… I had to take a moment to sit and reflect.
|Teddy Kennedy Graveside to Cusistis House|
Here sitting there looking at the displays and the people moving through the display was surprisingly a major turning point for me. It took all my strength not to sob right there and then.
I still can’t believe that people treat people that like and so complacent with a human’s life … but then again was I much better? In my darkest moments over the past year hadn’t I thought that my pain would stop if I was no longer here? What right did I have to be so cavalier with my life when these human beings had been through worse than I would ever fathom and hopefully never see in my lifetime?
Selfish = Me
I needed to remember to be grateful for my life and everything that I have been given… while it is a incredibly lonely life it is still valuable and remember to not only treat myself with respect but those around me no matter how badly they treat me.
|Abraham in his 28ft Chair|
I saw myself as selfish and a coward and needed to stop having those sorts of thoughts and deal with my problems more honestly. Selfish selfish selfish = Me
|Vietnam Veterans War Memorial|
I have to remember what they went through to survive and to value my life and those around me. I need to remind myself every day that I hold value somewhere in this world along to remember in my darkest moments that I am valuable to people.
|the nurses at the Vietnam Veteran War Memorial|
It is interesting because I am writing this at least 6 months after this happened and I can honestly say I am doing better and remind myself to do this on almost a daily basis while some days are harder than others. It seems to be working…but I still have my dark days …just not as frequent or acute. But when it comes to holding value to people it is interesting because people who I thought were a huge part of my life haven’t proven themselves to be such a massive part as I once thought and people who I thought weren’t; have proven of more value to me.
|Vietnam Veterans War Memorial|
I made some pretty amazing friends in the USA on both trips and the last one especially I have 3 amazing women change my life in interesting ways, force me from my comfort zone, show me unconditional love and how much I mean to them every single day. It is funny because I have known these people in such a short period of time but I miss them more than anything in this world. I never expected that at all and they do the same for me… they check in nearly every day show me that I am loved and cared about so much. I show them that in return … even though don’t answer for a few days… the message still goes out… so thank you my lovely’s you have helped me grow and feel of value and it takes some pretty incredible people to do that.
|At the White House - well the park opposite|
As I finished in the display – barely holding in the tears I walked past a wall of photos of victims of the war and it struck you how everyday they were while sure there were the gypsies but they were human and ordinary people just like the rest of us and they were just born into a religion or way of life. How fair is it to choose whether a person will die based on these factors?
The shocking thing the genocide across the world still continues with Darfur, Khmer Rouge, Taliban, Zimbabwe etc and we still let it happen because of economic reasons.
I headed back to the bus because it was almost pick up time… however I sobbed the whole way back … it finally all came out… finally! It was actually an interesting moment…. The thoughts that went through my head and what those people went through.
I encourage all families to talk about this with their teenagers better yet watch schindlers list or diary of Anne frank and then the teenager still tell you that they are hard done by. The selfishness of our lives today is because of the sacrifice of these 6 million odd people. It saddens me to hear my niece tell her mum (my twin) how much she hates her and that she is so hard done by. I want to take her there and then hear her tell me that she is hard done by. If she does well I will take her through again until she realises how lucky she is and lives where she lives. Myself included … be more grateful for my life and what I have in my life. Not only from my family, friends but the fact I am free and have a home and not threatened because I am of a particular race or religion.
|Public Service Precinct|
I finally made it back to the bus and Christina seemed to know straight away that something was wrong. She asked if I was ok and I could barely smile without sobbing. I just kept my sunnies on and head down as I headed to the back of the bus. I just hid my face from everyone and cried my silent tears all the way back. I didn’t want to distress anyone but the rif raf knew because I barely said 2 words to them as we headed out. Christina came down to check on me to make sure I was ok and she said we would talk about it and just take as much time I needed when we got to the hotel to compose myself.
|Across the Mall to the Museum of American History|
When we got there I waited for everyone to leave and got my extra bag off and I think Steve knew something was wrong but was too scared to ask. I saw Christina when I got into the foyer and she gave me a hug and sent me to my room … so to speak and would see me in an hour so we could go to dinner.
|at the back of the Smithsonian Castle|
So I busied myself with unpacking and repacking and hopped in the shower and went downstairs to meet Christina and we headed off downtown. Both of us guards down and talking about our lives and why I think it hit me so hard. Also me lamenting that it was exactly a month until I headed back to work and the thought was making feel physically ill. I didn’t want to do it anymore and it showed but I was hoping that since I had changed that things might be better.
|White house with some accidental sunflare|
Her trying to encourage me to change my life…. Here was this wonderfully beautiful woman trying to tell someone who is significantly older than her to change their life. She did say something interesting that night and that is that she would feel comfortable turning her tour over to me. That I should consider this as a career and that would have required me to push myself out of my comfort zone and I said no along with every excuse under the sun.
But the cogs were turning… So over this very delicious meal at O’Connell’s pub along the streets of Alexandria this beautiful woman helped me change my life. So thank you Christina for making the time to get to know me and understand me where I am coming from…. Then the drinking started …
|outside of the Smithsonian Castle|
3 or 4 vodkas later I don’t know but they were strong buggers… I think the waiter told the bar staff we needed some strong ones… We talked and laughed and cried together… She was undergoing major life changes so I think it was good that we got to do it together…
|The Mall in Washington|
After a very yummy meal we went to find dessert and had no luck... There was lots of laughter and silliness that night and some we found some very yummy ice creams. I still remember the orange crème flavoured along with mint… she tried to show me the awesome glass player that plays in the building right near the river but he had already packed up… it is worth a look if you are there because she had taped it last time on her iPhone.
|Old Town Alexandria|
We headed back to the hotel and her reminding me to ponder what we talked about and I headed back to the room to unpack… I needed a hug that night and missed my parents like anything so I sent a message to my sister to get them to call me and crawled into bed. See me and vodka don’t work when I am by myself … I just fall asleep. So they rang but I was too tired so I told them I would talk to them when I got back to New York… but still 30mins later I was awake so I messaged her and got them to call me again… she thought I was made. So caught up with the parents and it was almost good as a hug.
|Old Town Alexandria|
Fell asleep pondering the weight that didn’t seem to be there anymore… except for one … work…