Visiting our Nation’s Capitol

The Boy and I are up to our eyeballs in weddings this summer.  Not ours.  Just everyone we know.  Well, that might be exaggerating a little, but all I know is in the next 4 weekends we are bearing witness to the nuptials of no less than 3 couples.  That’s 4 weddings this summer, and three in a row.  What did we do when we got that final invitation?  We booked a couple of days away for ourselves.  If I hadn’t booked it a couple of weeks ahead of time, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go.  My homebodyness would have flared up and I would have insisted on a quiet commitment-free time at home.  But if I did that, the Boy and I wouldn’t have had any time to get away and have some fun – just the two of us.

Three cheers for Ottawa!

So off we went, hitting the road (and the holiday weekend traffic) Friday afternoon.  After a few driver changes and a few stops we finally made it to our lack-luster hotel at 9:00.  The Capitol Hill Hotel and Suites, was as the reviews indicated dated and a bit run down.  I thought we were getting a suite, saving us the necessity of eating out for breakfast, turns out I was misinformed and we just had a regular room.  Suddenly our “decent price” for a suite became way too much for a run-down single room.  I wouldn’t stay there again unless in a suite… but since I didn’t actually see a suite or pay for one, I’m pretty sure I just wouldn’t stay there again period.

Not to worry we were in Ottawa and I love Ottawa!  It might be my love of a walkable city, or my love of Beavertails, but it is probably my love of history that really does it for me.  I love to learn and what better place to learn than a museum!  The Boy – while not a history major like myself likes to do some learnin’ too… or at least he’s happy to humour my nerdiness.  There’s just one small problem… in Ottawa there’s a museum for everything.  Simply too many to choose from.

So what do two crazy kids get up to in our Nation’s Capitol? WAR! Basing our decisions on my sister’s recommendation, and the fact that the last time I was in Ottawa I ventured to the Art Gallery (not the Boy’s number 1 choice – though he’ll bare it) and the Museum of Civilization… we walked on over to the Canadian War Museum.

Love that propaganda art!

This museum is only 5 years old and has 4 permanent exhibition galleries – doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is… A LOT of war.  From a history of warfare and First Nations people, to back and forth from French to English to French to English, to Canada as a British minion in the Boer War, to defining ourselves as a nation in WWI, asserting our independence by joining WWII a few days after Britain, to cold-warring, and finally peacekeeping the Boy and I learned about CENTURIES of war.

Could you wear this helmet all day? The answer - no thanks!

All that war left us a little overwhelmed and feeling lucky to be living in Canada.  At the end of the galleries there was a special exhibit on the evolution of camouflage, and FINALLY the ground floor FULL of tanks.

Whoa it was a lot of information to take in, and it was only one part of our day!  At the end the museum gurus ask patrons to think about what they’ve learned and what they would like the powers that be to know about Canada’s history and role in war.  There were a few ways to leave your message, one of which was word magnets that you can create a message about how the museum impacted you.  I wanted to leave something profound.  The boy said we didn’t have that kind of time.  After 5 hours in the museum – he was done.

I’ve been thinking about it since we left though and all I can come up with is I feel lucky.

Playing Cold War

I feel lucky to be living in the age that I do.  I feel lucky that I’m not living in a state of constant worry about my safety or the safety of those that I love.  The Boy’s BFF did a tour of Afghanistan in 2008/09, it made me nervous.   But to get myself through the nervousness I focused on statistics.  We lose fewer people in modern wars than ever before.  Think of how impacted we are when we here about one more soldier that has been killed in Afghanistan… then think about wrapping your head around 57 550 casualties in one day. That was WWI my friends, Battle of the Somme, July 1, 1916.

I feel lucky that my Boy does not need to live in a trench with someone shooting at him for years on end.  And I feel lucky that I’m not living in the Cold War era worrying that someone is going to push a button and blast me into oblivion.  What I learned at the Canadian War Museum is that Canada didn’t do everything perfectly.  Canada made mistakes and if we had a few do-overs I can think of a several times we could take our DeLorean to.  But I still feel lucky.

Lucky and Grateful.

It was too much excitement for one post… more tomorrow.

Can you find him??

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