Thursday, May 29, 2008

Washington - Monuments and Memorials

Day Four of the trip was our big walking day, we wanted to see the different monuments around the Mall (the big centre park in Washington D.C.). We started by taking the Metro to a station near the White House. We were getting pretty good at navigating the Metro, with the double stroller!

There was quite a crowd by the White House with school groups, news reporters and crews, protesters, and ordinary tourists (like us). We didn't see the President in the crowd.

From there we walked toward the Washington Monument, past large gardens and lawns (the Ellipse). The Washington Monument is huge and is quite a landmark. It is also on ground that is higher and it was very windy at the bottom of it. We thought about going up but the tickets (which are free) had all been given out for that day. Instead we ate our picnic lunch at the base of it.

After lunch we moved on toward the Lincolm Memorial. Crossing a large lawn, and a street, we came to the World War II Memorial which has columns with the names of each state and protectorate who fought for the United States around it. There are fountains with the names of key battles engraved in them, and a number of bronze reliefs showing different aspects of the war which Tim was especially interested in examining. This was our first memorial, and I was suprised to see signs asking us to respect the memorial with no running (had to keep an eye on Pip), no food, no bicycles, etc. These signs were at each memorial and did give viewing them a rather solemn aspect.

We walked along another park-like area beside the reflecting pool where we fed some ducks and Canada Geese, on our way to Lincoln. Beside the Lincoln Memorial is the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial and we visited that. Pip, Ben and I took a side excursion to buy postcards while David took the older children through the memorial, which he said was a moving experience.

Finally we got to Licoln and climbed the steps (elevator for the stroller). Inside the statue of Lincoln is very large, and again there is the hushed reverence of the other memorials, which gave one the feeling that people were worshipping Lincoln. Some of his famous statements are engraved on the side walls (like the Gettysburg Address).

We left Lincoln and had a brief stop at the Korean War Memorial before walking to the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial. This one is all open and is a series of red granite stones with engraved statements Roosevelt made, waterfalls and bronze statues. There are many cherry trees here (it is on the shore of the Tidal Basin) which apparently blossom in April. Roosevelt was President for 4 terms and the memorial walks you through the terms with the inspiring statements and statues reflecting the major events (e.g. the Depression, the Second World War).

Elenor Roosevelt has her own statue and inspiring quote too.

We walked along the Tidal Basin (which is like a large man-made pond, or small lake) to the Jefferson Memorial. This looks a bit like a circular Parthenon, with a large statue of Jefferson inside.

We had a snack on the steps looking out over the Tidal Basin toward the Washington Monument.

It had been a busy day! We finished walking around the Tidal Basin, back toward the Washington Monument to a Metro station to get back to the condo. It was a wonderful feeling to walk in the door to the smell of a Crock Pot waiting for us!

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