All-American Family Vacation

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The Lincoln Memorial as seen from the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

I couldn’t help but feel a little like Clark W. Griswold as we packed into the family vehicle a few days ago.

No, we weren’t in the Wagon Queen Family Truckster. And no, we weren’t on a mission to find a cartoon moose (or mouse, for that matter). But it was going to be our first family vacation, and the potential for hijinks seemed eminent.

Especially since I couldn’t quite get “Holiday Road” out of my head.

Probably didn’t help that I started referring to this vacation as our “All-American Family Vacation” either. This had far less to do with me wanting to take the family on the perfect road trip, and much to do with our planned destinations during this week of family fun.

On our route through to Centreville, Virginia, where we were just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Washington, D.C., we planned pit stops in Shanksville and Gettysburg.

These are obviously important sites in our nation’s history and, in addition to finally crossing both places off my personal bucket list, I hope this trip can help ignite the same passion for history in my children that I have.

Mixed results so far, but Anna, my oldest, might have picked up a touch of the history bug. And Makena, my middle, is apparently destined for politics since she insisted that we must go see the White House.

The Hagberg girls on a sunny day in front of the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Brian Hagberg.

Even if none of them truly become history buffs as I have, at least when they begin to learn about some of these places and events in school, they’ll have first-hand knowledge to draw from.

I’ll have a more in-depth piece on the Flight 93 National Memorial later, but I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage everyone to take time to visit. I can honestly say it was one of the most inspirational and humbling experiences I’ve ever had.

As Independence Day approaches, all these visits take on extra meaning. I hope I’m able to convey that meaning to my kids, and continue sharing the experience with all of you.