I’m back! I had a lovely, incredibly special wedding last weekend and I’ll be sharing photos as soon as fabulous photographer Erica sends me the good ones. That’s not what I want to talk about today though. You see while I had a great weekend in DC, DC is not having the greatest week.
On Friday night my dad hosted a cozy warm rehearsal dinner for us in his apartment by the Navy Yard, right between Nationals Stadium and the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters (Building 197). We relaxed on his terrace, drank champagne and watched the lights on the river while the Nationals trounced the Phillies.
The next day we got married, in a beautiful sunny ceremony on the National Mall at the DC War Memorial. It was better than I ever could have hoped for, and we partied late into the night on a rooftop in Dupont. Then on Sunday Mike and I kissed everyone goodbye and headed off to spend a couple days in seclusion at the fancy W Hotel, located directly next to the White House.
That evening we walked around the Mall, hand-in-hand in the moonlight and took in the view from the hotel’s swanky rooftop bar. I told Mike how, even though I’m so excited and ready for new adventures, I’m a little sad to be leaving this city that I really do love.
On Monday morning we woke up to terrifying news: a mass shooting at the Navy Yard, in building 197, quite literally next to my Dad’s apartment and the area where he walks his dog every morning. Multiple people dead and possibly multiple shooters still at large. After confirming that my father was safely in his apartment watching the helicopters go by, we sat, glued to the TV, watching the carnage unfold just a couple of miles away.
It was stunningly surreal: this was happening in MY city. Another shooting, there have been so many in the past year or two that it’s easy to feel desensitized to the random violence and death. It really does feel different though, when it happens in your hometown, a place you love and feel safe in.
Actually, what it makes me feel is angry. Angry that this keeps happening and that as a country so many are unwilling to try to stop it. You can say it’s about guns, or you can say it’s about mental illness- it’s almost certainly about both, but it’s just going to keep happening and happening until something in this country changes.
We’re moving to Mexico in two weeks and people keep telling me to be careful. We will of course, but what about the people here? We already live in a country where innocent people are shot to death simply for going to work, or school, or the movies. How do you be careful when you are just trying to live your life? How long before people realize the US is not any safer than anywhere else?
It makes me angry because I love my country, but I hate what’s happening to it. People would rather blame video games, sequestration, anything except the same root causes that are making this a repeat event.
DC will be fine. In my time living here we’ve been through earthquakes, the DC sniper shootings, and 9/11. Virginia Tech is just a couple of hours away, and I have many friends who were on that campus during THAT disaster as well. People here are strong and most of them are here because they genuinely love their country, even if the country mostly acts like it doesn’t give a crap about most of them.
This week I am so happy- I just got married! But I’m also really sad for my city, for my country and for those families. This post is kind of scattered because so am I. Hopefully those 6 months in Mexico will give me some clarity.