When I was at the AMA Symposium last week, my mind was focused on one thing: presenting to my peers. With that said, it wasn’t lost on me that Washington D.C. and all its glory was just a stone’s throw away from the conference hotel.
After I presented on Tuesday and the conference wrapped later that evening, I could breathe a sigh of relief. Before I headed back to Spokane early the next morning, I had a few hours at my disposal to do whatever I pleased. Luckily, I had someone willing to help me make the most of them.
My boss at WSU graciously volunteered to take me on a walking tour of the National Mall so I could see the monuments at night. Holly Sitzmann is our assistant vice president for marketing and communications and happens to live in the Washington D.C. area. It meant enough that earlier in the day she dropped what she was doing and made the trip over to the hotel to watch my presentation but now she was giving up her evening to show me around!
The last (and only other) time I was in D.C. happened to be nearly 20 years ago. As a 16-year-old high school sophomore, my dad took me to our nation’s capital for a special father/son trip. It was an incredible experience and the monuments we were able to see left a memorable impression on me. To go back and re-visit them a couple decades later, this time under the D.C. night sky, was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Holly met me at the Washington Monument at around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night. As the country voted, we gazed upon the Capitol knowing that chamber seats were up for grabs as we spoke. Over the next 2.5 hours as we walked, many of those races would go final. Here are some of the monuments we visited…
The Washington Monument – Holly filled me in on the history of the Washington Monument, enlightening me to the fact that it is really old. The structure was built between 1848-1884 and different materials were used to construct it over the years depending on availability and cost at the time.
WWII Memorial – When my dad and I visited in early 2003, the WWII Memorial was not open yet so this was my first time seeing it. Pillars surround the memorial with an individual state or U.S. territory engraved on each one. Holly was quick to point out to me the Washington and South Carolina pillars.
Lincoln Memorial – Wow, this is so much bigger than what I thought. That was my 16-year-old reaction when I saw the Lincoln Memorial for the first time. When I look back on that trip, the Lincoln Memorial is one of the few experiences that I vividly remember. To view it again in-person was pretty cool.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial – This was another memorial that wasn’t built when I visited in the early 2000s. I thought viewing the MLK Memorial was unique because you enter the memorial from behind, pass a couple pieces of granite, and then approach the Stone of Hope. You walk in front of it and there is King’s statue.
FDR Memorial – As we arrived at the FDR Memorial, Holly told me that all Roosevelt really wanted was a park bench. He ended up receiving a literal park that uses its vast space to chronicle FDR’s four terms.
Jefferson Monument – My dad and I missed out on visiting the Jefferson Monument during our trip. Holly took me to it and as we drew close I realized that although I had seen the exterior of the monument before in pop culture, I had no idea what was exactly inside. When we entered, I was surprised by the towering statue of Thomas Jefferson.
The White House – Because 9/11 was still fresh during my first visit to D.C., my dad and I couldn’t get that close. With Holly as my tour guide, we were able to basically walk right up to the fence. As I peered in, I couldn’t help but think, I wonder what President Biden is doing?
It was past 11 p.m. when I hopped on an Uber to take me back to my hotel. As I rode back, I reflected on what a peaceful and relaxing tour it was. Thanks to Holly for providing me the perfect way to conclude my AMA experience! Don’t Blink.