After making warrior wishes come true at the Giants game & touring ESPN studios in Bristol CT, my dad & I attempted to drive overnight to DC. But seeing that we had only a few hours of sleep the night before, our eyes became heavy & we decided to “name our own price” and got a hotel just outside of Philadelphia for $70.
I barely remember being in the hotel room because I immediately laid down in bed & passed out. It had been a while since I’ve been on the road with my dad & to be honest with you, I forgot how much hard work it is. I don’t know how my dad does it, since Thanksgiving he has made warrior wishes come true in Green Bay, Nashville, Indy, Cleveland, Detroit, Philly & New York! He’s crazy, but getting to see the warriors get out and have some fun and see the smiles on their faces makes it all worth it!
First thing Monday morning we checked out of the hotel & drove the final 3 hours to DC. We had a few hours to kill before meeting up with the warriors so we decided to stop by the national mall.
Each year, millions of people visit the National Mall and Memorial Parks to recreate, to commemorate presidential legacies, to honor our nation’s veterans, to make their voices heard, and to celebrate our nation’s commitment to freedom and equality. The mall is home to national monuments & memorials as well as some of the coolest museums in the world!
We have been to DC multiple times before and never knew all the Smithsonian museums in the national mall were free! So my dad and I made sure to take advantage of the free perk this time.
Upon arrival in DC we made our way to the National Museum of American History. This was my favorite museum. We got to see a $100,000 bill, rare coins, The original “Star Spangled Banner, presidential memorabilia, Dorothy’s Ruby Red Slippers, a Babe Ruth signed baseball and got a history lesson walking through the Americans at war exhibit. I swear I could have spent all day there…
While we gazing at all the history & taking it all in I noticed a camouflage uniform behind a glass case & went in for a closer look. The name on the soldiers uniform was partially covered up by a strap, all I saw was R—-TOE.
I immediately looked to see if there was more information about the soldier because back in 2012, a warrior we hosted gave me the KIA bracelet of one of his best friends who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country “Army Ranger Russell B Rippetoe.” I was told to never take the bracelet off and to let it be a reminder of the sacrifices brave warriors make for us every day to give us the freedoms we have. To this day I have never taken the bracelet off my wrist.
I thought to myself, “There was no way this was Captain Rippetoe’s actual uniform”. But then I saw the picture of him, It was his! Chills ran through my body. What a crazy coincidence! Captain Rippetoe was the first American casualty in Iraq.
After we got a dose of history with an added surprise we paid for 2 more hours in at the parking meter and visited the Museum of Natural History to see the hope diamond and the Air & space museum to check out all the cool aircrafts. I truly wish we had more time to explore…
The time on our meter was just about expired meaning it was time for us to head out and meet up with the warriors. We had to make one last stop on our way. Arlington National Cemetery.
Arlington National Cemetery is one of the most humbling places in the world. The cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families. Service to country is the common thread that binds all who are remembered and honored at Arlington.
It was an honor to take time to stop and pay respect to the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. Arlington is a special place unlike any other in the world.
At around 5:45 we picked up and escorted Roberta Stewart, the Gold Star wife of Army Warrior Patrick Stewart, to the Redskins game. Jason Pak had planned to meet us at the stadium.
The drive from downtown to the stadium took us a little over an hour because we got caught in rush hour traffic. But during that hour we got to know Roberta and learn about her husbands legacy.
When we finally arrived at the stadium, I dropped my dad & Roberta off right outside. With the Redskins leading the division and their rivals, the Cowboys in town, ticket prices were pretty expensive, so I sat this one out again.
My dad met up with Jason outside the stadium & the group headed inside to their club level seats while I was in pursuit of finding a restaurant or bar to watch the game.
The past 4 games we had made warrior wishes come true at were decided on the last play of the game with every visiting team winning. Could we go 5 in a row???
The warriors didn’t have much to cheer about in the first half as the teams went into halftime tied at 3.
The teams traded field goals in the 3rd quarter & again early in the 4th. With the score tied at 9 and less than 2 minutes left on the clock, Darren McFadden ended my fantasy football season & put the Cowboys up 16-9.
The Redskins never gave up, they used only 30 seconds of the clock to drive down the field & tie the game on a 28 yard touchdown pass to Desean Jackson!
For the 5th straight game, warriors were treated to a crazy game coming down to the wire!
Unfortunately, for the 5th straight game, the home team was unable to hold onto the lead and the Cowboys drove down the field to set up Dan Bailey for a game winning 53 yard field goal.
Despite the loss, everyone still had a great time. Jason grabbed an uber after the game & we dropped Roberta off at her hotel and thanked her one last time for her family’s service & sacrifice.
Before heading to the airport, my dad & I visited the WWII, Korean War, Lincoln & Vietnam memorials.
We ended up at the airport around 2am. My dad sang Christmas carols in the empty airport to stay awake while I worked on writing this post.
I had a big burger & fries from wise guys for breakfast at 6am before boarding my 7:30am flight to Chicago. My dad on the other hand took a $3 train to catch a $1 bus and ended up in Philadelphia to catch a $21 afternoon flight back home.
He will be back in Philly next week hosting heroes at the Army Navy game thanks to our friends at Sanofi!
We would like to thank new era for providing Redskins caps for the warriors!
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!