Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Washington, DC - What a Place!

We stayed at an RV park in Maryland so our first trip was to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.
The Naval Academy is in downtown Annapolis so parking is a premium.  We went to the visitor's center first and heard about the tours that they offered and decided to take one.  It lasted 1.5 hours and was well worth it.

The competition between the Naval Academy and West Point is ferocious.  This cabinet houses all the footballs with the winning score of Navy over Army.

Going into Dahlgren Hall which houses the recreational center for the academy.  All midshipmen are required to participate in sports and spend 3-5 hours each day exercising.

Since it was summertime and renovations were being completed in some of the buildings, this basketball court was moved to another area to allow workouts.

A view of a ship that was used many years ago as practice by new midshipmen.

The longest Japanese torpedo used in WWII.

A flying torpedo used by the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor.  It was launched from aircraft and caused devastating damage.

 A midshipman on campus.  There were very few at the academy because most were on summer cruises as part of their education.  A school year at the US Naval Academy lasts ten months.

The grounds were beautiful.

Bancroft Hall is the largest dormitory in the US. It houses all the midshipmen, approximately 4,500.  If you were to walk all the halls on all the floors you would cover five miles.  It has its own zip code  separate from the rest of the academy. 

The building is so large it was not possible to capture all of it with our cameras. 

Walking into Bancroft Hall through the main entrance.  

The ceiling of the rotunda in the main entrance.

The floors are made of marble.

An example of a midshipman's room.

The shower is made of marble but there is no toilet.  All midshipmen are required to use the 'head' at the end of each hall. 

The memorial room within Bancroft Hall honoring graduates who died for their country.  The statement, "Don't Give Up The Ship" is on a placard on the wall.

A statue of Delaware used on different occasions by the midshipmen.

The chapel at the Academy.  Only graduates can use the chapel for weddings on Saturday.  In the summer they average eight weddings a day.

One of the most interesting things we saw at the US Naval Academy was the sarcophagus of John Paul Jones.  He was a Scottish sailor and the United State's first well-known naval fighter in the American Revolution.  He is sometimes referred to as the "Father of the United States Navy".  Jones had a colorful career, often disagreeing with his superiors, but never lost a battle even though he was greatly outnumbered.  After the revolution he spent a period of his life in the Russian service until he retired in Paris.  After his death his body was supposed to be returned to the United Sates but the French Revolution had started so several loyal friends and servants buried him at the Saint Louis Cemetery in Paris.   Four years later, France's revolutionary government sold the property and the cemetery was forgotten.  The area was later used as a garden, a place to dispose of dead animals and eventually it was covered by buildings.

In 1905, Jone's remains were identified by U.S. Ambassador to France Gen. Horace Porter who had searched for six years to find his remains and spent thirty thousand dollars of his own money.  With the aid of an old map of Paris, Porter's team identified the site of the former cemetery and used sounding probes to exhume five coffins.  The third one was later identified as being that of  John Paul Jones.  Thanks to a kind French admirer, Jones body had been preserved in medicinal alcohol and interred in a lead coffin "in the event that should the United States decide to claim his remains, they might more easily be identified."  An autopsy was performed and even confirmed the original cause of death, infection of the kidneys.

The sarcophagus at the United States Naval Academy that holds the remains of John Paul Jones.

It is made of bronze and marble and lies in a crypt under the chapel.

A sculpture of John Paul Jones by Jean-Antoine Houdon,  He was only 5 feet 4 inches tall.  

Looking from the USNA, boats on the Chesapeake Bay.

A midshipman's uniform in 1845
and how it looks today.
Some of the sights in downtown Annapolis.

You could spend a lot of time in Annapolis.

Lots of historical places to see.

Gardens and flowers everywhere.

Another day we decided to take in a baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Colorado Rockies.  It was very hot and muggy but the sky was overcast.

The first four innings were okay and then the sun came out.

Everyone enjoyed the great food and beer but we gave up when the Nationals were behind 7-0.

This is called the race of the presidents.  They do it at every home game.  Not quite sure why but the fans love it.

The Captain contacted our local US Congressman , Mick Mulvaney, and we were able to go on a  tour of the US Capital.

The US Capital from a distance.

Our grandson, Lee, sitting behind Mick Mulvaney's desk.

The Captain got in on the act, too.

The US Capital Visitor's Center is huge.  It's where you begin the tour.

What you see through the ceiling of the visitor's center since you are actually underground.

This is what it looks like from the outside when you are above the visitor's center. Pretty cool!

A full-size plaster model for the Statue of Freedom that was carved out of bronze and stands on the top of the Capital dome.

The Rotunda of the Capitol.

The painting on the rotunda portrays George Washington sitting with a pink robe on his lap and the 13 women around him represent the original 13 colonies.
The frescoes painted around the ceiling of the Rotunda.

Many beautiful paintings.  This is Lord Cornwall giving up at Yorktown.

Pocahontas getting baptized.

The signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The old Supreme Court Chambers

Ornate ceilings.

The old Senate Chambers.

Even the tile work on the floors is magnificent.

A statue of Ronald Reagan.

The stone below his statue has a section mixed in that came from pieces of the Berlin Wall.

Whew! The tour of the US Capitol was very interesting and we saw many other sights in DC but this blog is getting way too long so I will have to create a part two.  Peace!

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