Atticus has always loved to travel, so we try to take several day trips every year. Three years ago (pictured right), we traveled to the Air Force Museum. Unfortunately, the day was a mixed bag of emotions for my little seven year old – complete with a meltdown mid-way through the day.
Fall break began today, and I asked him where he would like to go this year. He said he wanted to go back to the Air Force Museum. “Why,” I asked. He said he had such a horrible experience the last time we went, and he would like to “create wonderful memories” to remember in the future. How could I say no to that?
We arrived early this morning and were determined not to let the five hundred school children, who were all arriving at the same time as we were, interfere with our day.
Our first stop was the Presidential Gallery. This is one of Atticus’ favorite attractions.
There are four presidential planes you can tour, and they were used by Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and John Kennedy. This exhibit alone is worth the trip to the museum.
Our second stop was lunch. Just our luck, we arrived at the cafeteria the same time as at least a hundred kids who appeared to be in middle school. We were surrounded by them and their noisy chatter throughout. When we were finished eating, I asked Atticus to throw away our trash. The trash can was about thirty feet from our table, and as Atticus approached the can, I saw a table of boys say something to him. He turned to them, said something, then he threw away the trash. The boys continued to talk to him and he stopped to listen. There was a table of girls right beside the boys, and the girls began talking to Atticus as well. All eight people were shouting things at the same time. I heard some boy yell, “Don’t talk to them!” Atticus turned to me on two different occasions and yelled “Oh, come here,” as he waved me over. The confusion and anxiety that swept across his face broke my heart, but I wanted to see how this would play out. I stayed in my seat, but I was prepared to jump in if necessary. One of the girls had her hand in the air as if she was waiting on a high-five. A boy was yelling “Don’t do it! Don’t touch her!” Atticus then gave the girl a high-five at which point all the boys groaned and every girl put their hand in the air to receive his gentle touch. The high-fives seemed to be endless as they circled the table several times.
After a couple of minutes I called Atticus back to our table. He seemed unfazed by the interaction. He said both tables were asking him to be their friend and he was really confused. He said he wanted to tell them he couldn’t be their friend because he doesn’t live in the same area as them, but he couldn’t get the words out of his mouth. He smiled endlessly as he discussed giving all the girls four high-fives each. As usual, he seemed to enjoy the females a little more than the males.
After lunch we continued our tour through the multiple buildings that preserve so much of our history.The attractions will take you on a journey from the birth of aviation, beginning with the Wright Brothers, all the way through modern day military. My favorite is the World War II gallery. Atticus’ favorite is the missile gallery.
The museum is a must see for any aviation or military enthusiast – or anyone who is simply grateful for this amazing country and the men and women who have served her. Admission and parking are free, and it’s a great place to spend a day with your family. Be prepared to see a lot of veterans, and a few active duty, as you walk through the halls of this enormous showroom. Atticus can’t help himself when he spots a person in uniform. He always walks up to them and thanks them for their service.
After we left the museum, we decided to scoot on over and visit the bike shop of Orville and Wilber Wright. The Wright’s actually had bike shops in five different locations throughout their life. This was the fourth location at 22 S. Williams St. The previous three buildings no longer stand, and the fifth building sits at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. We have the Ford Museum on our list of places to visit.
We decided to end our adventure by travelling the historic National Road back home – a refreshing and blissful departure from the craziness and rush of the highway. Beautifully relaxing, I found peace as we passed open fields, drove through small towns, and discussed our day – a day full of wonderful memories and a reminder that second chances are a wonderful thing.