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Armed Forces and Arboretum

April 17, 2013

Washington DC – Wednesday, April 10

I needed a break from the crowded city bustle, so today I set off for a quieter part of Washington DC – yes, quiet places exist! But first, I wanted to make my donation and that set me off in a different direction too. So I’m managing to see a lot of parts of the big city. Today’s donation was going to the Armed Forces Retirement Home. I talked with their activities person yesterday, and she told me they would welcome a donation – they’ve been hit by sequester cuts too. I hadn’t been in this part of the city yet, but I had good directions, so although it took a while, I did get there. This is one of the oldest veteran’s homes in the country – going back to the Mexican-American War, with an interesting story. The activities director told me that sometimes at the end of battles, the victors would go in and scavenge and pillage for any food and valuables – the spoils of the battle so to speak. In this case, the governor(??) of Mexico City gave the United States $125,000 to build the winning soldiers a home for those who needed it, in exchange for not pillaging. And that is how this veteran’s home came into being so long ago. It was a Soldier’s Asylum for a while, and there is also a “cottage” on the grounds that is called Lincoln’s Cottage. Abraham Lincoln spent a lot of his time there when he was President – it was on higher ground than the Capitol, and therefore was a little less swampy and buggy, and he wrote a lot of the Emancipation Proclamation there. There was even an assassination attempt on him there as he rode through the south gate, and the bullet went right through the top of his hat.

When I was done there, I took Tula out on a short little walk on the grounds, and then we headed for the National Arboretum for some peace and quiet away from the hustle-bustle. Again, it was a slow drive there, but absolutely wonderful once I found it! It was still a really hot day, so heading to a 400+ acre area of shady trees and flowers and lots of walking space was exactly what I needed. I wanted Tula to have a day off from walking, so I would find a place to park, and leave the van running with the air on, and I’d walk a couple miles, then come back and drive to another pretty spot and repeat. I walked through the flowering trees collection, the conifer and dwarf tree collection and the Asian collection. I only saw a few people out walking or riding bikes – such a beautiful place on a hot day, and hardly anyone there! I got Tula out again and she was happy for a walk, but seems happy to be done too. I’m wondering if she might be dealing with allergies. The only bad thing about the arboretum was they close the gates at 5 sharp, which was too bad on such a pretty evening. And I still wanted to walk a couple miles, so I drove around until I saw the first promising area to walk, which turned out to be some huge shrine near the American Catholic University, and a long sidewalk by all of their grounds. Again, it was shady and pretty, and I finished off what I wanted to do today.
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