A few pictures from my trip to Washinton DC

May 2003

The subway system is not that hard to negotiate as long as you know where you're going to begin with. It seemed relatively safe and clean also which was a pleasant surprise! I, however, didn't realize that if I changed trains, I would have ended up much closer to my destination than I did. But, what the heck, it was a nice day and a nice long walk didn't really seem so bad.

The Federal Triangle subway stop

The Old Post Office Pavillion now contains shops, food court and a tour to the observation tower that has some great views of the city.
The Old Post Office Pavillion

In fact, this city is FULL of magnificent buildings... massive and beautiful. I'm going to go back just to take pictures of more of the architecture! I didn't visit even half of the places that could be visited. I didn't make it to Ford's theatre, JFK Center for the Performing Arts, Library of Congress, National Aquarium, National Archives, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Supreme Court, Union Station, Oak Hill, Decatur House, The Octagon, The Pentagon, National Arboretum, Theodore Roosevelt Island, US Botanic Gardens, International Spy Musuem and tons of other museums.

Along my route, I encountered one of the many protests, or demonstrations, that occur in Washington DC. This one was traveling along Constitution Ave and down Pennsylvania Ave. I think they were protesting what they considered a discrimination issue, but the actual issue was "reverse discrimination" claims for entering college or a certain college. I don't remember for sure.

One beautiful day, one of my companions and I ventured to the Arlington National Cemetary. What a magnificent place. Its huge and its beautiful. I thought the grounds would be better kept, but it was still pretty awesome. There are more than 250,000 graves at Arlington. Three quarters of them are marked by simple, government-issued headstones. The rows resemble soldiers standing at attention. It tugs a bit a your heart when you are standing amongst the many thousands of gravesites knowing that they were all soldiers (of families of veterans), from all segments of the Armed Forces, that gave their lives or were willing to give their lives, so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy. The land was purchased in 1778 by John Parke Custis. His mother was a famous mother... Martha Washington. He was her son by her first marriage. Custis died in the Revolutionary War and the property was handed down over the years to his descendants. In 1864, with the other graveyards becoming so full, the property in Arlington was chosen as the new National Cemetery. It holds many famous people, but many of the graves are those of common soldiers who fell on the battlefield. Among the more notable that lie to rest at Arlington is Audie Murphy - the most decorated American soldier of World War II. The pictures that follow truly don't do it justice.

Below Arlington House burns the Eternal Flame, which marsk the grave of Joh F Kennedy, the 35th President of the USA. In his 1961 inaugural address, Kennedy promised that his presidency "will light our country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world"... that is why his grave is symbolized by the Eternal Flame. John F Kennedy was struck down by an assassin's bullet in Dallas Texas on November 22, 1963.
Beside him lies his widow, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis who died in 1994.

The Eternal Flame at the John F Kennedy gravesite

Not far from JFK and Jacqueline's gravesite is the grave of Robert F. Kennedy, marked by a simple white cross. RFK was murdered by an assassin on June 6 1968 while running for the Presidency.

Robert F Kennedy's gravesite

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
At the Arlington Cemetery is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Practically every war produces "unknowns" - soldiers that cannot be identified because their bodies are to disfigured. In 1921, the remains of one such soldier, killed in WWI, were taken from a graveyard in France and re-buried at Arlington. The white sarcophagus bears the words " HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD". This Unknown Soldier, being no one, could be anyone and for all the families who had lost a loved one, whose remains could not be identified could worshop at the grave of this Unknown who represented all UNKNOWNS. In 1958, Unknowns from WWII and Korea were buried at the same site. An Unknown from the Vietnam War was interred there in 1984. It was also very interesting and shrouded in ceremony. The Tomb of teh Unknowns is guarded by members of the Third Army Infantry, called "The Old Guard". During the day, an Old Guard sentinel marches 21 steps in front of the tomb, then stops and stares at the grave site for 21 seconds. This is the equivilent of a 21 gun salute. The "changing of the guard" ceremony was simple, but very strong in its meaning and execution.

We happened upon a funeral procession preparing to go on its march to someone's resting place. It was beautiful and sad as we watched it. The horse drawn carriage with the coffin draped in an American flag was so fantastic. The marching band kept perfect pace and seemed engulfed in their sad duty. I took a picture of the carriage and then realized that this was not a time to be taking pictures... somebody's loved one was being laid to rest... this was a private moment... to be treated with respect and reverence. Space in the 612 acre cemetery has become so scarce that burials require approval.

There is also a memorial to the Women who have served this country.

A day for monuments and memorials
On a different day, my 3 companions and I went Monument viewing. The day was not that great for the weather.. it was low clouds, mist and rain, not a good picture taking day. But we ventured on!

My Buddies

Overlooking the Tidal Basin, a 19 ft statue inside John Russell Pope's neoclassical marble monument commemorates the third US President and the Declaration of Independences' main author.

Jefferson Memorial

The Gettysburg address and the Second inaugural address are inscribed on the interior walls of the Greek-style temple that honors President Lincoln.

Lincoln Memorial

The Washington Monument, made of marble, is the world's tallest freestading masonery structure, rising 555 feet into sky. Although you can't go all the way up to its peak, you go quite a way up and there are viewing ports that overlook the Capital Mall and other sights. On a clear day it would be spectacular. Unfortunately, it was not a clear day when I was there!

Washington Monument

View of the Capital from the WA Monument

Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The Vietnam Veterans memorial was majestic in its simplicity. Built of black granite, it holds over 58,000 names of the dead or missing Vietnam soldiers. The ground by the wall is decorated with vows from comrades and family to never forget, small flags, flowers... it was a very sobbering place to visit. The air is thick with emotion... sadness and pride.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Statue of 3 servicemen

The Korean War Memorial - "The Forgotten War" 1950 -53

The Korean War Memorial was quite a surprise to me. I don't know what I expected, but it was beautifully created. It has 19 steel soldiers marching in loose combat formation, a Pool of Remembrance and a long granite mural etched with the faces of 2400 Armed Forces personnel. Very well done and very impressive!

The National Mall
No, the National Mall is not a shopping center... it is a stretch of land that extends from the Capital past the Washington Monument. At the Mall is The National Museums of Natural History, American history, Air and Space Museum, Hirshhorn, Arts and Industries, African Art, Sackler Gallery, Freer Gallery, Ripley Center, Sculpture Garden, 2 IMAX theaters, and the Smithsonian Castle. We went to the National Musuem of Natural History at the National Mall.

National Museum of Natural History

A few bones at the Museum of Natural History

The Sculpture Gardens
The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden occupies 6.1 acres on the Mall. The Sculpture Garden was given to the nation by the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. There are 17 pieces of sculpture and a variety of shrubs, flowers, ground covers and flowering trees as well as a central fountain.

Typewriter Eraser

U. S. Marine Corps War Memorial
For US Marines, the February 1945 assault on Iwo Jima was the bloodiest battle of WWII. After 4 days of savage combat, a group of Marines reached the top of Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima's highest point raising the American Flag on a tall pole. The moment was captured by photographer Joe Rosenthal and has been a source of inspiration to Americans over the years. It became the most famous photograph of WWII and has been captured in a magnificent bronze memorial by Felix de Weldon.

King St, Alexandria Virginia
King St in Alexandria Virginia is the social hub as well as being an area rich in history. King St is the main street that runs through Alexandria and is packed with various types of stores, bars, restaurants and just about anything you'd like! The buildings are the orginal buildings and one or two blocks from King St is one of the original cobblestone streets that has been preserved. Beautiful part of town!

The United States District Courthouse

Courtyard next to the Courthouse

Constitution Ave

The United States Capital

The United States Whitehouse and park

Thats the end of this trip. Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

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