Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Our Amazing trip to our Nation's Capitol

Sunday we went to a BBQ at the Malogne House. That's where I met Bert. Chaz had met him before, can't remember where, but Chaz had told him that once the girls got here we'd go on the tour. Back to Sunday, Bert sees Chaz and he points to me and the girls then Bert walks with Chaz over to me and says. "Want a private tour of the Capitol." Of course I say yes. Bert says. "Tomorrow at 4:30-5ish." I said, "We can do it!"

Luckily Chaz only three appointments yesterday. But he got into a little argument with some people from the WTB over the apartment. Then his pic line slid out a little (we think while he slept) and we had to have the nurse come and fix that, so I was so glad to have a nice distraction for us. I knew how special this was going to be, but Chaz was oblivious, bless him. So I had to do the I want to do this and I don't ask for much so get in the freaking car speech and then listen to everyone whine the car ride over. Then when I said hey girls see that building, that's where we're going. Everything turned towards the positive. We got through security and parked. Bert met us at our car.

As we walked in he called Marsha Blackburn's office to tell them we arrived. Her receptionist seemed to be preoccupied. My favorite was when Bert said, "We have a wounded warrior from the 101st who is a registered voter in her district and his family touring the Capitol, you might want her to know. He's kind of important. Thank you." He then had to explain what a wounded warrior was. I am seriously not making that one up.

The first thing I noticed was the stairs. They were made out of marble but were so worn down from all of those who came before us. It was so cool to see that and then to walk those steps. How awesome?!

As we went into the Capitol, Bert treated Chaz as if he was a rockstar. He introduced us to everyone and I mean everyone. It was crazy as we walked around Senators, Representatives, Security Guards, aides and staffers just walked right up to us as if we were celebrities. Bert was so kind he took my camera and took a ton of pics for me, there's like over 200 pics. I realized once I got home we never took one with Bert. I was so proud to see everyone put their politics aside and rush over to us to say thank you. If you look you will see Congresspersons and Senators from both parties standing side by side talking to us. It was a proud moment for me.

I caught eyes with Lamar Alexander quick, he's our Senator from TN. I met him when I was 17 in McMinnville and I got to hear him play piano back then. He and I agree on a lot of education issues. I was excited to meet him and then Senator Bob Corker came up right behind him. Both guys were awesome and yes I got their numbers. Lamar was upset that he didn't have any cards so he wrote his out on a piece of paper for me.

As we're standing with Corker, Senator John McCain came up. I think he was Chaz's favorite. We kept going back and forth thanking each other for serving the country. He then came up and put his arm around me and said "Many thanks to you. I don't know how you gals do all that you do." Such a great guy and I am so glad we got to meet him.

Next up was Bernie Sanders. I looked up at him and said, "Oh my goodness, it's Bernie Sanders." He was shocked and said, "You know who I am?" And I said "Yes sir, I studied you so many times in college. It is so nice to put a face and handshake with a name." Turns our that Senator Brown (who is some type of rockstar) was cut off by me being excited about Sanders. Bert told that story to everyone. I guess it goes in the when I translated Latin file.

Then if you follow through the pictures you'll see they just kept coming and then poof there's John Kerry. He was super nice and stood there and talked to us for quite a while. The sad thing is I couldn't even begin to tell you what we were talking about. Oh my goodness, we talked to so many people and they were all so absolutely fabulous, including the lady from Ohio (whose name I forgot).

As we were going to get on the elevator to continue our tour another guys stopped us. He was a former Marine and was super nice. Then we got up to our floor and off the elevator and the security guard and Chaz eyeball each other. Then they realize at the same time they served in Korea and in Iraq together. Small world huh?! That was another highlight of our tour. Then we met the Rep from Hawaii and he was a WWII vet.

We go down to the Senate reception room and I was on the phone telling Nick Steward where to meet us and then I had to say, "I have to hang up on you I am going to meet Al Franken." Al was too cool. I so wanted to do a Stuart Smalley impression, but I resisted.

Everyone went into vote and cuss and discuss what ever was going on and we finally went touring. Our nation's capitol is absolutely breath taking. There is so much history and so many beautiful details in every part of the building. If it is not on your bucket list you need to add it! We finally made it to the Rotunda and where greeted by the Nebraska Rep and his family. We stood and talked to them for a few. He has a really sweet wife, by the way. Then we headed to the House side. As we headed that way the Representatives poured out from somewhere and there we were again shaking hands and talking to so many people. Marsha Blackburn, our Clarksville Rep, walked by us. Bert told her that he left a message. You could tell by her face she didn't get it. But she was so nice and stood and talked to us for a while. While we were standing there talking to her we met John Boenher, Sean Duffy (Wisconsin) and several more people. Mrs Blackburn then stole our kids. She took them so they could go help her vote. Deryn was super excited and Ryann was just following along. Sean Duffy escorted me down the hall as I pushed Chaz and asked me a ton of questions. You could tell he cared about the military and wanted to know more.

We went down the hall to where Mrs. Blackburn told us to meet here and you can see by the pictures we were bombarded again. This time in the mix was Rep Steve Cohen (Memphis), Rep Jim Cooper (Nashville) Rep Fincher (Clarksville), the Reps from Indiana, Ohio and so many more. Cohen and I had a little talk because I heard him speak about the lottery years ago and I did an independent study on it. He and I had a talk about WRAMC and the WTB. He insisted on getting my info to talk about it more, which I will happily do. The Reps on the VA committees also came up to me. I was asked four times if I was willing to discuss the VA in depth more at a later date. So we shall see what will come of that. Should I let the WTB in on that secret (I think not). Nick Steward caught up with us at this time. Jean Schmidt (Ohio) came right up to us and talked for a while. I seriously thought she was going to cry as she heard Chaz's story. She then gave us all big hugs. She was super sweet and sincere.

We were invited to Senator McCarthy's office, the Majority Whip, for dinner and it was a very yummy Italian feast. We were all surprised by this, but thankful. Everyone was so nice offering us food, drinks, a place to sit everything. We went down the hall and dined there.

After dinner we made our way to the Senate Press Room. We all enjoyed this one. Nick was definitely the most excited. We each took turns taking pics at the podium and the girls took turns flipping around. Nick took a turn too, but I only got him with his big Yes! and not the actual flip. Then the alarm for Chaz's meds went off and I let De hook him up. I then explained to Nick and Bert what was going on. Once we got him hooked up we were off again. This time to the private chapel which contains the most beautiful piece of stained glass. (No pics are allowed). But oh my goodness, it has George Washington praying, and several pieces of the Founding Fathers concepts in it. It was awesome!!!

Then we went back towards the rotunda and really looked at everything. You can see that in the ton of pics I took. I think the Capitol is more beautiful at night. There's just something so special there. It's amazing to see it once the sun goes down. We went all around and really studied the paintings and sculptures that were in the room.

Then we went to the Parliamentarian's office and John Sullivan invited us to sit down. Do you know he is the 4th Parliamentarian since WWI? Seriously look it up! We sat and talked about his job as well as about Chaz and our world. He was so cordial. Ryann then chimes in and says, "Mom I am tired and I want to go." So we decided that would be it. We went outside and enjoyed the nighttime view of the Capitol.

Yes I stopped and got that baby ice cream on the way home. Actually we all got ice cream from McDonald's, not my first choice, but it was 10pm and I was tired. What an incredible night!! Chaz told me once we got in the car that he was so glad I made them go. He said it was way better than he ever imagined. He thought it was going to be completely the opposite. I so love surprising my hubby! When will he ever learn?! ;)

Have a great day!!! I hope you enjoyed the story of our awesome trip to the capitol!!

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