I've lived in the DC area for 11 years. During this time I've run a few 5Ks, visited monuments, and played ultimate (that's frisbee) on the Mall and Polo Grounds. I've enjoyed cheap eats, cheap drinks, and cheap souvenirs. I've also been supremely disappointed with expensive eats (I'm looking at you 1789), enjoyed many a ride on the Metro, and gotten lost because L'Enfant used the Masonic symbol for major thruways.
The only new things left to enjoy DC are special patriotic events. The kind of events that cause people travel from far away to be a part of. Often they may only catch a short glimpse of a tinted limousine, but just being there is worth it. It's a once in a lifetime pilgrimage that should not be missed.
In the last few years DC mourned Ronald Reagan's funeral, handled the human onslaught of Barak Obama's inaguration, and mourned again for Ted Kennedy's funeral procession yesterday. These events have a common thread that links them across party lines.
I've missed all of them.
I've lived within an hour of these historic, once in a lifetime, never to be repeated experiences and never as much tried to attend them. Maybe that makes me a bad American. Maybe I'm just a lazy DC metro resident. Or maybe none of my excuses are valid.
Reagan's Funeral - A procession for a president is the grandest of all DC affairs. Inaugurations happen every 4 or 8 years, but dying presidents are rare. Reagan passed away in 2004 and I thought it was more pressing to save my vacation leave and work in my Shirlington cubicle instead of viewing Reagan lie in state.
Obama's Inauguration - I viewed the entire proceedings, but chose to avoid the sea of people and cold toes by watching it at home. One of these years I'll catch the inauguration of a new president.
Kennedy's Funeral - Yesterday's procession wasn't as hyped as Reagan's, but I was well aware of the planning. Instead I chose to go food shopping and get a haircut. The weather was plenty warm and the route was Metro accessible, but I needed my chocolate-vanilla Jell-o pudding.
So I'm 0 for 3 for rare DC experiences. I already struck out, but maybe, just maybe, I won't have an excuse to miss the next one. Unless I'm working, the weather is bad, or it requires taking the Metro.