I am blessed and HIGHLY favored to be able to bring you today’s post!!! I recently went on quite the adventure with my mom and sister. We took a trip to Washington, D.C. NO not to go to you-know-who’s inauguration (because yuck.. Eff that!). We got the opportunity to go to the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute in honor of President Barack Obama!! Let me start by saying I LOVEEEEEE the Obama family! They have been a beacon of hope for this country, especially the black community. He accomplished what, not long ago, seemed impossible. To hold the highest office in the country, for eight years, with such class and grace, President Obama and the first family were truly an inspiration. I love this vlog, and I’m happy that I’ll be able to relive this trip for years to come. It’s my pleasure to take you all with me on this journey!!
First stop, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum is free (WIN!) but you still have to get tickets for entry. As you can imagine, this museum is a huge tourist attraction. They use tickets to ensure that it isn’t overly crowded and those inside can enjoy the exhibits and move freely. You can register online for a specific time slot or walk up at 1 pm local time. They have a limited amount of tickets each day at that time for those without tickets. Tickets were sold out online so we opted for the walk-up option. We caught the Metro from the mall to the Federal Triangle and walked from there. HUGE thank you to Google maps for telling us what Metro line to take and walking directions from the station! Gotta love technology!
The museum was a sight to see! You can see the Washington monument from the museum, and it’s walking distance from the rest of the monuments. This is definitely not a place where you can see it all in one day. There are 7 floors, each covering a different time period/category. If you start at the bottom, you can work your way up through history, seeing some pretty awesome artifacts. I really appreciated how they changed the atmosphere as you moved through the museum. The bottom levels started very dark and dim, with solemn voices playing on speakers telling tales of being kidnapped and forced onto slave ships. As you move through, you see more about slavery, runaways, abolitionists, Jim Crow, Civil Rights Movement etc. The further you go, the brighter the rooms get. By the top few floors, you get to see more about pop culture and current figures. They really do have something for everyone.They showcase more influential black figures than I can name. From political figures to activists, slaves, abolitionists, soldiers, athletes, singers, rappers, actors, chefs. It was a truly amazing experience to be able to celebrate my history and culture. I would absolutely recommend you make the time to go visit. I would love to plan a longer trip and spend a day per floor to really try to soak it all in.
The next day was the main event!! We were all sooo excited to be able to be in the same room as President Barack Obama himself. My sister went to his inauguration in 2013, but none of us had ever seen POTUS in such close proximity. We had no idea what to expect, but we knew we’d be in the same room as him. That was all we really cared about. My mom couldn’t stop talking about it lol. She was like a kid waiting for Christmas. She has a really bad back, but this day, there was some serious pep in her step. We’d both had dreams about the event in the week leading up to it. In short, we were GEEKED!
This event definitely did not disappoint! There was a presentation of troops from each of the five branches of the military. It was pretty cool in and of itself to see the troops so in unison with each other. (It also reminded me of Cadet Kelly… You know, the Disney channel original movie when Hilary Duff goes to military school… I’m a child, I know lol) You could tell they practiced hard and took pride in their presentations. (And who doesn’t love a man in uniform right?) Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Marine Corps General Joe Dunford thanked President Obama for his leadership and commitment to the troops over the past eight years. They praised his resilience in fighting terrorism and his compassion for soldiers that were injured or lost in combat.
President Obama then addressed the troops, praising their selfless dedication to their country. He spoke of all that was accomplished by the military during his time in office. He thanked the military branches for their undying commitment to fight terrorism worldwide and commented on the social strides they’ve taken in recent years. Women being able to serve in combat positions, the end of the don’t ask, don’t tell era, etc. President Obama made it clear that it was one of the greatest honors to be able to be commander in chief of the greatest fighting force in the world.
During the ceremony, President Obama was presented with the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service. Towards the end, he took a lap around the hall to inspect the troops. We were blessed enough to be seated in the front row and were sooooo close to him while he was walking back to his seat after inspecting the troops. It was unreal how close we were to the first black President of the United States. This was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity and one I will never forget!
In closing, I’d like to say thank you to the Obama family for all that you’ve been. Thank you Michelle Obama for being the epitome of grace and elegance. Time and time again we’ve seen you display such humility and compassion. You even showed us that it’s okay to let our hair down and have some fun! You’ve been an amazing role model for women, mothers and wives worldwide. Thank you to Sasha and Malia for letting us watch you grow from adorable young girls to beautiful young women. Thank you for the role models you’ve been for young girls worldwide. Thank you for sharing your parents with us. And thank you to President Barack Obama. You’ve been a symbol of hope and endless possibility. When we tell our children that they can be ANYTHING they put their minds to, we’ll think of you and your accomplishments. You showed our men how to be men, leaders, husbands and fathers. Whenever we think we can’t, your legacy will be there to remind us one more time that YES WE CAN!
BIG thank you to Uncle Rocky and Evelyne! It was an amazinggg experience that we’ll never forget! Also, big thanks to Krystal for taking all of the footage and pictures from my trip and putting together the vlog! I really can’t get enough of it. You da best!