- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2002

Tourists were out in force around the District yesterday, even as baseball fans flocked to stadiums around the country for opening day.
The Mall, the museums and other attractions drew sizable crowds putting to rest worries that families would be afraid to come to the nation's capital nearly seven months after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
"The boys had never been here, and we wanted to give them a little added education and see some of the exhibits," said Rick Outcault of Commack, N.Y., who took in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial with his wife and three sons at the Tidal Basin yesterday.
The Outcaults spent three days in the area before heading south to Florida for the week. They plan to come again next year because they were unable to see everything. Still, the trip was an overwhelming success and they did not think twice about coming.
"I was really looking forward to it," said Andrew Outcault, 13. "My favorite part was the Library of Congress, with all the inspiring quotes particularly 'Knowledge is Power,'" he said, referring to the words of 17th-century British philosopher Francis Bacon.
Some tourists were surprised with how laid-back security around the District appeared.
"We stopped by the Russell [Senate Office] Building to drop off a flag request, and they let us in really easily," said Nancy Moul of Williamsburg, Va.
She stopped by with her husband and two children to view the cherry blossoms on their way back home. "I expected security to be much tighter, but we were walking the halls pretty easily," Mrs. Moul said.
At the White House, families from across the country came out to see the Easter Bunny, watch magic tricks and eat some great food, as part of the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn.
"We came because [our daughter] has been asking us to come to Washington, D.C., for over a year since she saw President Bush on [the PBS cartoon show] 'Arthur,'" said Michele Holifield of Arlington Heights, Ill.
Mrs. Holifield and daughter Kelly, 5, were in line at 6 a.m. Saturday for a chance to take part in the festivities. Yesterday, as they waited their turn to go inside the White House gates, Kelly expressed excitement to be in the city and to see where the president lives.
"I got a yo-yo and had a donut," said a smiling Kelly, who was wearing a blue Easter dress. "And I even got a statue of the Capitol, too."
Her little brother, Charlie, 2, was wearing a red jacket and was happy to run around and pick up sticks oblivious to the festivities. "He's silly, but this is going to be a lot of fun," Kelly said.
For the Laeger family of Plymouth, Minn., who were in town visiting relatives, the best part of coming to the District and the annual egg roll was the magic both intended and accidental.
"I liked the magic show and the egg trick where the egg doesn't crack, even though we heard it crack," said Michael Laeger, 6, about one of the activities families could take part in as they waited to go over to the South Lawn.
It was one of the smaller things in life, however, that pleased big sister Emily, 9. "I found 87 cents in the rental car," she said.
Rutherford B. Hayes began the tradition of holding the Egg Roll on Easter Monday in 1878. It has been canceled on occasion owing to bad weather, including last year, as well as during World Wars I and II. The event is open to the public, but tickets are required.
This year, the White House distributed 15,000 tickets, but estimated that close to 30,000 people took part. Tickets were distributed with specific time slots. Families waiting to enter the South Lawn were able to go to the National Breakfast on the Ellipse, which did not require a ticket, for doughnuts and juice.
Inside the White House gates, children were able to roll their eggs, as well as listen to stories. First lady Laura Bush read "Tom Rabbit" by Martin Waddell to a group of children shortly before lunch.
Carol Keirn and her family recently moved from Pittsburgh to Adamstown, Md. Her husband takes the MARC train every day to work, so yesterday the family decided to take the train a first for twins Courtney and Melinda, 7, and their brother, Reed, 4. They attended the festivities on the Ellipse and went to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms.
"The kids really enjoyed seeing all the characters, and the blooms are just beautiful we are having a great time," Mrs. Keirn said.


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