To get to the HUGS summer school at Jefferson Lab in Virginia (see my previous post) I drove from Long Island down the I-95 corridor, making stops in Philadelphia for a cheesesteak and in D.C. to tour with my parents.
I left the island early Sunday morning and navigated the many toll roads and bridges of NY and NJ. By the time I got to Philadelphia and got unlost enough to find Campo’s cheesesteaks I realized that it was Memorial Day and as a result the more patriotic elements of Philly’s old town were swamped with tourists. The cheesesteak was great, and it was pretty cool to drive by all of the tour guides and historical buildings on full display near Penn’s Landing.
I then got back in the car and headed to D.C. to meet up with my parents, Ian and Elizabeth, who are all on a long choir and touring trip to the area. I got there just in time to hop on their bus and go with them to We the Pizza near the House office buildings and go over to the National Memorial Concert. The concert was really quite moving and had a lot of great music and dramatic readings of the stories of some of our great veterans. It was nice to participate in an element of patriotic pride not also steeped in partisan politics for once, and I think it is always important to remember the sincere and life changing sacrifices made by the members of the military, regardless of the intentions of their superiors or their ultimate outcomes. It takes an incredible amount of courage and sacrifice to defend our country and that should never be forgotten.
We went back to the hotel and then several of the college students invited me to grab some drinks. It was great getting to catch up with normal Mississippi residents, without getting swamped down by the latest academic worries, and just talking about all the potential in life with recent graduates. The next day everyone else did a tour of the capitol and I slept in (and did a tour of the subway system, which is actually quite excellent), and then we met up with an old family friend and did a quick tour of some of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, seeing the Hope Diamond as well as the curators’ favorites selection, featuring their fantastic photography competition winners, among other things. We really had to rush, but I can tell that this museum has days worth of interesting stuff to see and read.
After guiding everyone to the Holocaust Museum, I needed to hit the road to get to JLab on time. I stopped in Richmond to reorient myself to Southern life (i.e. eating Bojangles) and found to my surprise that in the last year or so a pretty nice cigar shop, as well as dozens of new shops all over the place opened up. I’m hoping this program goes well, and I’ll be sure to post updates if anything interesting shows up.