Day 6 of the Exciting Adventures of Flat Tucker!

Today was a very significant day. First, we started at the National Archives for a guided tour. In this building you get to see the original Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, in addition to many other very important documents. There is no photography allowed in this building to help preserve the integrity of the documents so no photos were taken here.

It was very interesting to see these original documents and to see how they are displayed. They are displayed in a very beautiful, ornate room called the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. This room is kept cool and dimly lit to help keep the parchment paper of the documents safe. There are two armed guards who stand on either side of The Constitution at all times to ensure its safety. The documents are lowered into an underground sealed vault every night to protect against any unforeseen disaster.

After lunch we took the subway across the Potomac River to Virginia to the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Department of Defense. Before we toured the building we walked through the memorial that has been built in honor of the attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

The memorial is very peaceful. It is set up as a series of benches that are marked for each victim with a reflecting pool underneath that reflects their name. It is organized from the oldest victim born in 1930, to the youngest, born in 1998.

Flat Tucker near one of the memorial benches with the reflecting pool underneath.

After visiting the memorial we went through heavy security to enter the Pentagon itself. The security was similar to going through the airport but they also had to swab the fronts and back of our hands to check for explosives residue. After being cleared we entered the waiting area and were allowed to take a picture at the lectern. After that we had to turn all cell phone completely OFF. No photographs, videotaping, nothing! The military doesn't mess around!

The tour itself as conducted by two military personnel, a women from the US Army and a man from the US Navy. They were both wearing their dress uniforms and were very impressive and disciplined. They were extremely knowledgeable and knew the answers to every question anyone on the tour asked. The most impressive thing was they conducted the entire tour walking backwards, even stepping on and off the escalators and turning corners! They knew their stuff!

The tour covered about a mile and a half of walking through the building, but that is really only a small portion. There are over 17 miles of corridors in the Pentagon. It contains it's own mini-mall within for the over 23,000 people that work there! You can fit 118 White Houses inside the Pentagon! It is absolutely HUGE!

We were taken into the section that was hit by the plane on September 11, 2001. Inside there is a small memorial chapel in honor of the people who perished that day. To walk through a sacred place of such an event of history was quite an experience.

Overall out of everything we've done this week I believe the Pentagon tour has been my favorite. I was so impressed by the military personnel who conducted our tours and to walk through the halls of history was very moving.

After our tour we went to a nearby mall and ate at a California Pizza Kitchen for dinner. This used to be a favorite restaurant of ours in Omaha, but sadly it closed. We try and eat there whenever we find ourselves near one!

Flat Tucker rides the Metro Subway!
Back at the hotel tonight to get our suitcases packed up and check-in for our Southwest flight tomorrow night. We are taking the bus out to the Dulles airport tomorrow morning to drop our luggage and then take a shuttle to the other Air & Space Museum near that airport for the afternoon before we fly out. The highlight there will be Space Shuttle Discovery! If you have read any of my past blog posts back in 2011 I am a HUGE space shuttle fan and was almost at the last launch of Endeavour and did make it for the very last space shuttle launch EVER of Atlantis on July 8, 2011. I'm pretty excited to see a shuttle up close!

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