We had one of the best July 4ths ever today! We started the day with a trip to the Capitol to get tickets for a tour since we couldn't get in yesterday. Our tickets were for 10:45, so we decided to make a trip to Starbucks that was in a quaint little neighborhood near the Capitol.
There were also some great local breakfast places nearby. That's where Mark and Steve got a made-to-order sausage, egg, and cheese bagel. We just sat and people watched and read the paper until time to go on our tour.
Walking back to the Capitol my kids were having some really deep conversations about politics and world events.....NOT!! They were arguing about who had the biggest mouth! Haha...I think they ALL have big mouths!!
The tour of the Capitol was amazing. There was intense security before we could enter. But once we got inside, we really enjoyed it. Our tour guide was an older lady named Nellie who reminded us all of maybe a favorite high school history teacher. She was able to tell us so much about the history of the Capitol and made everything so interesting. All my kids loved it and said it was one of the favorite things we have done here!! She had us all close to tears at the end of the tour by describing what it was like here on 9/11 and how we should all be thankful the Capitol is still here as one of our most recognizable national symbols!
Here we are with our headphones on ready to take the tour!
This is just one of the beautiful paintings in the Rotunda of the Capitol.
After our Capitol tour, we headed down to Constitution Avenue for the parade! It was just a good old-fashioned All-American parade with high school marching bands, beauty pageant winners in cars, and a some floats.
But I can't even begin to describe the crowds that were down there! Oh my gosh it was sooooo crowded!! We were still able to get good seats, though, and really enjoyed watching.
This is just SOME of the crowd!
It was really late when we ate lunch and after that we headed back to the Capitol for the concert and fireworks. I am so thankful for the tight security that has been all over Washington, but at the same time, it was a little bit tiring. We stood in line for an hour and fifteen minutes just to walk through a metal detector and have our bags checked to get onto the Capitol lawn!
This is what it looked like looking up at one side of the Capitol steps.
The concert venue.
It started raining right as we got up to the gates. There were free water bottles available, and since we didn't have any umbrellas, we got the left over boxes and plastic wrap they were wrapped in to sit on and put on our heads to keep dry. Haha...that was pretty resourseful I thought! :)
The concert was really fun and had great music! It was on PBS so you might have seen it! It was the Capitol Concert. And the fireworks were spectacular. My camera doesn't really do them justice, but the National Symphony Orchestra was playing in the background and the fireworks were over the Washington Monument. I loved it! It was so patriotic! And my kids loved it too!
After the concert, we tried to get on the subway to go back to the hotel, but as we got closer, we could see that the line to go down into the subway was miles long. So...we decided to hit a local Mexican restaurant and wait till the lines died down. It was delicious and when we came out, the lines were much shorter!
It has been such a fun day. I'm thankful I got to spend this special holiday here in Washington!! We are leaving tomorrow to head back home!