I don't remember how I prepared for the day on Saturday morning. I probably woke up around 8am and had breakfast with Paul and Jane. Tom slept in for a while, I remember that. I also remember that breakfast was delicious each day we spent there. After breakfast, Tom and I packed some lunches and Paul and Jane were giving us a ride downtown by about 9:30am.
We arrived at the Gateway Arch early and bought our tickets to ride to the top. While we waited, we explored the museum (Museum of Westward Expansion) below the arch. I had the feeling that this journey brought us along our particular path for a reason. It was a strange sensation. That we would ride through just the right places (of historical significance) on our way east provided the opportunity to learn more about what the US is built on. How did the US become what it is today? I was traveling backwards in time from Denver, east and I got to observe the westward progress in reverse. Not only that, I took a critical and curious look at the figures of our history. These are figures that all Americans should know and that many revere. What made them great? Are they worthy to immitate? In what regards do I admire or respect them? In what ways do I not? I will tell you now, that I hold these men (and women) in no higher regard than the men they were... that is, I do not lose sight that these people did great things, but only through the strength, knowledge, and wisdom that was given to them by God.
We were in line for the arch in no time. Then we were in the tiny capsules (made with technology from the 1960's, if I remember correctly) that took us up to the top. What can I say about the Gateway Arch? It is certainly a feat of precise engineering. What a strange building, though. It was built in honor of St. Louis being the gateway to the west because that is where Lewis and Clark really kicked off their journey west. The view from inside was quite pretty from all sides. It was cool to be at the top, but it was no long-awaited dream fulfilled. I can say that I have done it, but it was not a lifetime achievement to be there. Maybe I just don't get impressed the way I used to... I suppose it could be that I've grown used to seeing skyscrapers and riding rollercoasters.
However, observing the arch from the outside was much more impressive. I remember gazing at the towering structure thinking this was something alien... like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. And I was also waiting for a scene from the Stargate series to happen.
Tom and I also went to the Old Courthouse where the Dred Scott case took place. It was a museum in its own rights. There was so much history to absorb between this place and the museum under the arch that I got a headache trying to take in everything. I felt mentally tired very fast and I was ready to leave already. Still, I was in St. Louis, so I might as well see whatever else I could. We went to the old Union Station next. We walked around, sat down, and then got picked up. Before we left, we did get to try out the "whispering arch" where one person can stand about 20-30 feet away from another, whisper into the wall, and the person on the other end can hear as if standing right beside them.
Paul and Jane took us to a graduation party of a girl from their congregation (whose father happened to be another one they took in back in the 80's... Paul and Jane have a history of taking people in). It was good to talk with a couple of the kids around our age about our experience.
We went back home and the Rockies beat the Cardinals again. Supper was yummy. I am a slower eater than Paul, which is apparently a rarity ;)
We had a day of rest in St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday, June 6, 2009.