Saturday, July 6, 2013

Washington DC - Part 2

Statuary outside the Capitol.

The Library of Congress.  Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to go inside.  Next trip!

The back side of the US Capitol.

This is the Supreme Court building.  The front of the building was being worked on so they had it covered but the draping was embossed with what the front of the building looks like.  At first we didn't even notice that it was draped.  Pretty cool!

A statue of Justice John Marshall.

The building opened in 1935.

The stair well and steps are made of marble.

The actual Supreme Court room.

We headed toward the Mall and along the way we saw the Smithsonian Castle.

In August,2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the Washington, DC area, causing damage to the 555-foot Washington Monument.  As the Monument swayed from the quake, some of its exterior marble panels cracked and pieces broke off.  Inside the Monument, many of the granite stones that support the structure cracked.  Most of the damage was in the pyramid-shaped top called the pyramidion.  Project repairs include filling cracks, securing loose stones, fitting new or salvaged stones pieces into damaged areas, stabilizing cracked blocks with steel brackets, repointing joints and replacing the lightning protection.  The Monument is still closed to the public.

The Captain and Lee walking around the World War II Memorial.

The Vietnam War Memorial.

A statue in the park with the Vietnam War Memorial honoring the soldiers.

The Lincoln Memorial.

The Reflecting Pool at the Mall.  

Part of the Korean War Memorial.

It was beautiful but very sad, especially the faces of the soldiers.

While in DC we stopped and viewed a building called the 'Old Post Office'.

Inside were shops and eating areas.

The building was very tall and beautiful and had a wooden elevator that could take you to the top to view much of DC.

The red roofed structure is the Ronald Reagan Building.

Notice the roof top terraces that a few people in the city get to enjoy.

Inside the tower of the Old Post Office are the official  Bells of Congress.  Each bell completes a 360 degree circle with a stop at the end to slow the rotation of the bell.

With a different tone each bell must be rung separately.
We also took a tour of Arlington National Cemetery.

The entrance into the cemetery.

A view of the Washington Monument.

Robert F Kennedy burial site.

Teddy Kennedy burial site.

The most decorated soldier in World War II.

The amphitheater of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.


The Medal of Honor.

The mast of the USS Maine removed before the ship was sunk at sea honoring those who died aboard.   

Every Tuesday through the summer, visitors can see the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corp perform in a sunset parade.  It also includes a performance by the Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon.  

The parade is in front of the 32-foot Iwo Jima Memorial, also known as the Marine Memorial.


Marching and musical units from Marine Barrack Washington, DC, pay tribute to those whose "uncommon valor was a common virtue".
The Drum and Bugle Corp also performs at presidential functions.

They played a medley of songs while marching in unison.  Needless to say, they were excellent!

The Marine flag has a tassel for every war or incident the Marine Corps has been involved in.

The Silent Drill Platoon

Many of the maneuvers involved rifles with bayonets attached.

Each Marine completed the same movement within a second from the one before. 

Their precision was awesome.

At the end of the evening taps was played.

Another stop was in front of the White House.

There were guards everywhere and Pennsylvania Avenue was cordoned off.

Turns out there was a demonstration by a group of people in orange jumpsuits protesting the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.  One of the protesters, a woman, decided to climb over the fence in front of the White House putting everyone on high alert. 

Lafayette Park across from the White House.

A statue of Andrew Jackson in the park.

Artwork  in front of one of the Smithsonian buildings.

We also spent a good deal of time at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  What a huge place!

A replica of the Wright Brothers' first plane.

This was a plane called the Lockheed 5B Vega purchased by Amelia Earhart in 1930.  In 1932, she flew it nonstop and alone across the Atlantic and across the United States.

The first nonstop transcontinental flight  was flown in this plane in 1923.  It took off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, and landed at Rockwell Field in San Diego, 2,470 miles in just under 27 hours.  During the flight, the two pilots faced flying over unknown territory at night and through storms and rain for half of the flight.
Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis.

I couldn't keep up with all the different types of planes.

Close-up of a drone.

On Jan 18, 1911, a pilot landed a plane upon a wooden platform constructed on the armored USS Pennsylvania anchored in San Francisco harbor.  This was the first such event and demonstrated the feasibility of aircraft carrier operations.

A full size model of the Mars Exploration Rover that landed in 2003.

An actual U-2 in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

We made one other stop in Washington DC, and that was to the Holocaust Museum.  There are several galleries to see but you need a special ticket to get into the permanent museum since they only allow a certain amount of people to go through at one time.  It was a very quiet and sad place and cameras were not allowed.   Other than the atrocities of the Nazis, the history of the Holocaust does not shed blame on any nation or group of people.  Besides the Jews, many other minorities were killed including thousands of gypsies (Romani), Soviet prisoners of war, Polish and Soviet civilians, and people with disabilities. The theme throughout is that most people in Europe and the world were simply apathetic and they looked the other way if it didn't effect them.  Many countries, including the United States, could have done much more to help those caught up in the Holocaust but due to political reasons, they did not.

The Holocaust seems like a long time ago but inside the Visitors Center is a picture and a plaque dedicated to a 40-year old security guard who was on duty at the museum when an anti-Semite and denier of the Holocaust walked up to him in 2009 and shot him to death. 

One of the most inspirational things I saw in the museum is a quote from Elie Wiesel, a survivor of  the Holocaust (Auschwitz), an author, a Nobel Peace prize winner, and a crusader who has worked for years to bring the Nazi persecutors to justice. 

Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live. Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.

We spent a week in Washington, DC, and only saw a few of the many available attractions.  We definitely want to visit again.  Now we are moving on to Philadelphia to see the City of Brotherly Love.  Peace!

No comments:

Post a Comment