Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day Nine - Father's Day in DC

June 15 - I got to choose the itinerary for Father's Day. We'd already decided to go to All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington DC in the morning. Perhaps a little on the morose side was my choice of the Holocaust Museum as the afternoon activity. No matter--the crew went along happily and I got lots of Father's Day hugs and well wishes along the way.

The whole junket isn't worth a Google map. We (Vanessa) drove into the city and in a kind of UU miracle, she found a street parking space less than two blocks from the church. The unrestricted parking spot was about two long blocks from the subway entrance, so we left the CRV there all day while we went to the museum. Two ministers and a 35-member group called the Jubilee Singers combined to present an exciting worship service. All Souls Unitarian is on a campaign to make its congregation a model of mulitracial and multicultural (primarily as regards sexual orientation) acceptance and cooperation. Their dynamic leadership and congregation makes me believe they can do it.

The Washington subway system makes no accomodations for weekend sightseers. On top of a reduced weekend schedule, our trains to the Mall were delayed for track maintenance. We also messed up buying our tickets, putting them all on one card. The turnstiles wouldn't allow the same card to be used multiple times in succession. A ticket agent helped us sort that problem out.

We arrived at the Holocaust museum at about 1 p.m. and ate a quick lunch in the museum cafe, strangely a vegetarian restaurant. I probably should have gone for the hot dog from the vendor rather than the veggie panini. Going to the museum and lunch required three passes through the metal detector. Yuk!

By 2 p.m. we were in the main museum exhibit--organized in a timeline from the rise of the Nazis to power in Germany in 1933 to the formation of the State of Israel in 1948. What came in between was a sobering commentary on humankind. I spent about three hours watching every film, reading every word and looking at every picture and exhibit. The rest of my family wasn't quite so thorough and finished at least an hour ahead of me, which gave them time for a quick visit to the Washington Monument.

The actions of Nazi Germany in the name of racial purity were appalling. The response of most of the rest of the world was none too inspiring, except for the eventual defeat of Hitler by the Allied forces. Many countries turned away Jewish refugees from Germany, both prior to the Holocaust, and again once it had begun. Anti-semitism was at its most virulent in Germany, but doing its own insidious work in other countries as well. The morning's church service and the afternoon's museum exhibit displayed stark contrast between the power of love and acceptance and the destructive nature of hatred and intolerance.

After church we headed to Silver Spring, MD for an outdoor dinner. The weather was beautiful all day. The Austin Grill mostly made good on their claim to "authentic Tex-Mex". Back in Columbia for the evening, we watched Tiger Woods get into the US Open playoff and the LSU Tigers lose their College World Series opener while we played pool.

For pictures from the day, please go to Thanks for visiting.

And Happy Father's Day to my dad and to all other dads out there!

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