I think my favorite activity of the Alexandria part of the trip was the visit to DC at night. We all had dinner at Mike and Kendra's house and then the two of them drove us downtown to go see the monuments at night. In all the years that I lived in the DC area, this is one thing that we had never done. It was beautiful with them all lit up. We went to the Lincoln Monument, the Korean War Memorial (awesome), and the Vietnam Memorial. We also drove by the WWII Memorial, the White House, the Washington Monument, and The Jefferson Memorial. Surprisingly, we were not even close to the only people there. Night monument viewing must be a popular DC pastime.
I was really glad to see the Vietnam Memorial especially. We looked up a family friend, Harley Hall who flew with my father and was shot down just a couple of hours before the armistice was signed to end the war. They never found him. He was MIA for years and my father happened to be on the board that pronounced him dead. My dad just couldn't do it and so declined his part in that action. When we got back my Dad filled me in on some details on Capt. Hall. There was a place (I cannot remember the name of it now) that they all used to make drops - at night they'd make three runs. One night, my Dad was flying and by the grace of God he turned the plane sideways just for fun. At the same time, shots blew up next to the left side of the plane. Had he not made his turn, he wouldv'e been hit. Just three weeks later, Capt. Hall was hit in the same location. They recovered his co-pilot, but never saw Capt. Hall again. He had previously told my dad that he'd never let them take him alive. We'll never know if he was captured or if he was killed on his descent. It was nice seeing his name in the book. His kids were my friends growing up.