travel,  Washington D.C.

Monuments, Memorials and Cemeteries…Oh My!

September 11,

I was privileged enough to visit the Pentagon while I was in Washington, D.C. Troy works there so he got us a top-security pass and now I can say I walked the halls of the Pentagon. I’d show you proof but you aren’t allowed to take pictures in the Pentagon, of course. I did however scare the crap out of myself while I was there so at least I have a story to tell.

After we walked around a bit looking at things, we stopped in a little convenience store inside the Pentagon to get a snack. While I was paying for my bag of chips I couldn’t find my ATM card in my giant purse that eats everything. I looked and looked but it was somewhere in the depths just beyond my reach. So in a fluster, I pulled out my business debit card instead and paid with that. I hate muddying up my accounts that way but sometimes you just have make it work. Business chips anyone?

After the cashier ran my card through her machine, it beeped and gave a little error message. “Hmm…” she said, “I’ve never had to enter my security code for a transaction like this before.” And then my eyes fell on my debit card.

There in official-looking credit card type was my business name: Secret Agent Josephine. Great, I thought. Now I’m going to be on the government terrorist watch or something because I tried to buy a bag of chips posing as a secret agent in the Pentagon. For the five hundredth time I cursed myself for starting a blog with this silly name. This name has served me well but it has also caused me a fair share of trouble.

I’m happy to report that I’m not on any terrorist watch lists. I found out later when I was recounting the story to someone else that credit card machines always require an extra code to be punched in when you use a business card. So as usual it was just my active imagination getting me into trouble.

So that’s what I’m going to remember about my visit to the Pentagon.

Pentagon Memorial

Actually the 9/11 Memorial outside the Pentagon is quite impressive and memorable. There are lawn-chair—looking bench things sticking up out of gravel and underneath each one is a small strip of water with a bubbling fountain. At each fountain is a name of someone who was killed in the plane crash. It was heartbreaking to see even children’s names inscribed there.

I would have taken more pictures but at the time I thought photography was forbidden. So these two pictures are the only ones I have and they’re taken with my phone but later we saw other tourists toting all kinds of big cameras around. Oh well. Sometimes it’s nice to experience things without feeling like you have to capture every moment, you know?

Air Force Memorial silver flight paths

We also visited the Air Force Memorial, though not on the same day. This memorial was really impressive to me. I’m a huge fan of the Blue Angels which are not part of the Air Force at all but I love the way this giant sculpture captured the way the jets break away into the sky. I’ve been to air shows and felt this moment in person and it’s my favorite. Whoever designed this memorial nailed it. It’s beautiful.

up, up and away

soldiers backs to me

We had fun posing with the soldiers.


view over the Pentagon

The view was quite impressive. Though it was pretty windy and cold. I was thankful for the blue skies.


Next we went to the Arlington National Cemetery. It’s the biggest cemetery I’ve ever seen. We went with plans to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier but somehow through a comedy of errors (and some bad map-reading that we will tease Bethany about forever) we never ended up seeing it. I was quite disappointed but I guess I just have a reason to come back now.

tomb of the unknown soldier

branches gravestones

I’m really glad we went, even if we didn’t get to see the intricate stepping routine that they do for the unknown soldiers. It was a beautiful day to walk around such a great space and pay our respects to those who have served our country.

long way up long steps

Please be quiet and respectful view


We walked a LOT. Which was really good for me considering all the baked treats I’d been eating!

Memorial Gate

Note: We are back now. I’m just terribly behind in writing posts about our trip. I have just a few more and we’ll be all caught up!


  • Karren

    I love reading your and Bethany’s blogs. I just started my own about life in Montana. I really enjoy the pictures of your adventures.
    Seeing DC is one of my life goals and you just made me want to reach even harder to accomplish that goal! Your little Bug is the cutest thing EVER!! Happy Easter to you and your family!

  • Melissa

    You have no idea how much I love that you have a credit card with “Secret Agent Josephine” as the name on it! Great story!

  • s

    I will actually miss the end of the adventures – I hope you go back soon for a visit so we can hear more.

  • BeachMama

    Oh the Pentagon memorial just breaks my heart, but warms my heart at the same time. So happy that they did something for those who died that day. I still can’t believe all the adventures you guys had. And I for one love your Secret Business name. Hopefully I can get you to test it out when you are up here sometime. Not that we have anything as secret as the Pentagon or anything ;)

  • bethany actually

    First of all, I laughed at BeachMama’s comment, because I remember how Troy and I were rather amazed by the fact that Canada’s sort-of equivalent to the Pentagon, the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, had a road running right underneath the building. That road isn’t open anymore; since 9/11 they’ve closed it. But even pre-9/11 we thought that was something you’d probably never see in the States near a major government building. :-)

    Second, I’d like to state on the record that I KNOW I am bad at reading maps that aren’t road maps; and that after I looked at the map and pointed out where I thought we had to go, I handed it to Troy and said, “Here, you take the map. You know I’m terrible with maps.

  • Kim Shavatt

    I love reading about all your adventures. The best part has to be all the great photos. It was really neat seeing all the interesting sites to see in DC. I live so close, but have yet to see them for myself.

  • Holly {ArtistMotherTeacher}

    My husband has a friend that worked in the Pentagon. We also got to tour it several years ago. I imagine that doesn’t happen for too many civilians. Very cool. We also walked from the Lincoln Memorial back to the Pentagon that day. Not so cool—I was so tired by the end of that walk. :)

  • mamalang

    Some day, we will visit Arlington again. But not yet. Our friend was buried there last fall, and I don’t belive my husband is ready for that visit, or to answer the questions my babies will have. I’m glad you had a nice visit there, though.

  • tracy

    thanks for the beautiful pictures of the pentagon. my cousin was killed there on 9-11 and i’ve never seen the memorial. i remember waiting at the spot in your last picture at arlington to go in for his funeral. there were so many funerals that day we had to wait in line. how sad.
    thank you for your fun blog i read it nearly every day.

  • a chris

    Not only do you have a card that says Secret Agent Josephine on it, but you’ve now used it at the Pentagon. That has a certain quantity of awesomeness to it.

    I agree that that Air Force Memorial is brilliant (I have only seen pictures but it really is impressive and uplifting).