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Sunday, September 2, 2012

From Georgetown to the Lincoln Memorial: My daughter does it all

From the parking lot at Arlington National Cemetery, along the Potomac River and across the Francis Scott Key Bridge to Georgetown, then passing by the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal down to the Lincoln Memorial, and back across the river to Arlington. That's quite a long afternoon for anybody, but for a six year-old getting ready to start elementary school following the end of this Labor Day holiday weekend, it was quite an accomplishment. Amber kept up with me for the entire 5.7 miles (9.2 kilometers) that we covered today (Saturday), and though she did get tired toward the end, she remained a trooper and said she had a good time. No doubt she felt a twinge of pride about doing something her mother couldn't accomplish!

We walked from the parking lot of the cemetery and toward the Potomac River. Along the way, we passed these two men fishing plastic bottles and other debris out of the water. Amber was suitably impressed by their selflessness and concern for the environment.

Posing by the Potomac River, with the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Memorial Bridge and Washington Monument in the background. Amber is hoping the repair work being done to the monument will be completed by the time our tour in China is finished, and we return to the D.C. area.

Willows and oaks lined the Virginia side of the river. Joggers and cyclists were also out in droves today. My daughter has learned the importance by now of always keeping to the far right side of the path.

Along the Mount Vernon Trail as we approached Theodore Roosevelt Island. A momentary respite from the traffic on the George Washington Parkway.

Walking across the Key Bridge into Georgetown. The weather was ominous-looking during the early stages of our walk, but unlike last week's excursion into Maryland, the raindrops never fell. In fact, the sun later came out. The thunder and lightning didn't show up until tonight.

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal runs behind M Street in Georgetown. Despite the not-always-so-pristine nature of the water, we still took a break along the C&O to snack on granola bars and fruit cups, and to look at the small fish that were somehow surviving in the muck.

The scenery along the canal improved as we meandered along to the beginning, at the point where it joins Rock Creek. The landscape, especially with the locks, evoked images of English waterways as we stopped to visit the C&O Canal Visitor Center. And was that a catfish that we espied in the water?

The end of the canal brought us parallel with the busy roads of Washington again as we made our way back alongside the Potomac. Amber took this photo of me with the Watergate complex in the background. Next door is the Kennedy Center. Both buildings were finished in 1971, the first indication that the Seventies were going to be a very trying decade for lovers of architecture.

Looking back at Georgetown. It was around this point that my little one was starting to feel tired, so we slowed down and took plenty of breaks as we made our back to Arlington.

A winning smile not long after passing under the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. The Lincoln Memorial would soon be in sight.

This was the second visit to the Lincoln Memorial for both Amber and me. My daughter is starting to get a grasp of the icons and imagery of American history, and I assume she'll start getting schooled in civics once she begins school. Now if I can only get my wife to look past her Sino-centric education, and do what's needed to get her expedited American citizenship.

In contrast to our first visit to the Memorial a couple of months ago, this time the reflecting pool actually had water in it. Amber was pleased by this.

From the rear of the Lincoln Memorial, we had a good view of the Arlington Memorial Bridge. At the entrance to the bridge are the two Arts of War statues. That's Valor on the left, and its good friend Sacrifice across the road on the right. 

The last look we had before turning into the parking lot, where our car had fortunately remained in the shade. That's the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in the foreground, and Arlington House (Robert E. Lee's former crib) on the hill in the back (the flag was flying at half-staff presumably in honor of Neil Armstrong). Arlington National Cemetery is high on the list of sightseeing spots to take in before we head off to Shàng​hǎi 上海 early next year.

Once back at our apartment complex, a dip in the pool felt great for both father and daughter. I'm glad to have these opportunities to get Amber out of the living room, with its twin sirens the TV and the computer, and into the outside world. For my child, picking up objects such as acorns and feathers, and looking at dragonflies and fish along the route, was of greater interest than old arteries of transportation and long-dead leaders. But I don't mind. As long as she enjoys herself, I'm happy.

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