In honor of President’s Day, we took a family field trip up to the Reagan Presidential Library. The weather was beautiful, the setting divine, and the president’s day-themed activities were all on point. We enjoyed the walk through of Air Force One and looking at the other presidential vehicles of the time.
While we waited for our timed-entry (3:30 — two hours after our arrival) we spent a lot more time on the grounds than we would have if we had immediate entry. When we came across the piece of the Berlin Wall I lined up the children to take a photo. Afterwards I tried to explain to the children just what the Berlin Wall was. I stared at my sweet young children in the shadow of this concrete menace and I was turned to rubble before my first sentance was over. How do you explain something like that to the innocent?
The photo I took of the Berlin Wall has my children in front, so I’m using instead a photo representing the Cold War section from inside the museum. (As always, there are photos with faces posted privately on flickr.)
I expected a day of education, light history, and a pastoral setting. The craft tables for the children where they decorated their own tri-cornered hats and made penny necklaces were fun. Meeting Abraham Lincoln (a friendly reinactor!) was a bonus.
We also listened to George Washington (a self-possessed drip of a reinactor,) a nice opportunity to sit down and watch my six year old shine. After George’s oration he opened for questions and Little Red waited patiently for about twenty minutes with his hand in the air, waiting to ask the first president of the country a question. With the intervention of a museum docent he was finally called upon. His question? “Why is this place called Los Angeles?” He was brushed off with a muttered “well that was after my time. I think it means City of Angels. Now … where was I? Oh yes, Valley Forge…” Little Red, all pluck and no shyness, allowed George’s lack of manners to roll off his back and we moved on to the next thing. He wasn’t interested in a photo op later, though, “I’d rather have my photo taken with the REAL George Washington.” I am so proud of this kid!
We also visited President Reagan’s Memorial. I was very touched by the enscription: “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph and there is purpose and worth to each and every life.” Partisanship aside, there was a lot of good in that museum. I came away inspired by a man who would have on his desk a reminder of the possible: It CAN Be Done.