Thursday, November 14, 2013

Washington DC - Part 2

As a country boy, I live in a rural place surrounded by nature and open spaces.  My neighbors are cows and cornfields and the tallest things are the trees.  Whenever I travel to a big city, I marvel at the size and closeness of everything.

Washington exudes grandness.  The buildings, statues, and monuments are all huge.  The size of many building were purposely built to show this grandness.  The National Archive building takes up a whole city block.


National Archives
When it was built, the US Capital was the largest building in the country.  The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial in front of the Capital towers over the reflecting pool. The Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials along with the WWII Memorial are massive and the Washington Moment eclipses all others.

As I walked along, I was awestruck with the size of everything I saw.

As I exited the Capital Visitor Center, I came upon the statue of Po' Pay from New Mexico.  I was familiar with most of the people depicted in the statues, but Po' Pay was new to me.  I found out that Po'Pay was a religious leader of the northern Pueblo Indians in New Mexico.  In 1675, he was one of several leaders imprisoned by the Spanish for practicing witchcraft.  Some of the leaders were executed, but Po' Pay was to be sold as a slave.  The tribal elders appealed to the Spanish governor and won his release.  After his release, he went to Taos and began planning a rebellion.  Around 1680, he united the various pueblo tribes, which at the time numbered approximately 40,000 people.  His revolt was successful in expelling the Spanish from present day New Mexico.  He was successful in keeping the Spanish out for almost 12 years, but eventually the pueblos succumbed to division and Spanish reentered New Mexico.  Po' Pay was described as a “fierce and dynamic individual…who inspired respect bordering on fear in those who dealt with him."

Fords Theater
On my second day, I visited Fords Theater, the site of Lincoln's assassination. The original theater is still standing and the interior has been preserved to look much like it did in 1865.

It is still used for performances and admission is free for a daytime walk through tour.  There's a small museum in the basement that depicts the characters and events of the assassination.  Across the street is the Peterson House where Lincoln was brought after he was shot and died the next day.  The house is also open for tours.

A short walk from Fords Theater, is the White House.  Roads in front and in back of the White House are blocked off to vehicles but open to pedestrians.  Security personnel are present everywhere, even on the roof tops.

I was able to get some pictures through the fence bars.  Even saw The First Lady's vegetable garden.


From the White House, it was down to the Mall to see more memorials.  The World War II memorial is impressive. It honors the 16 million who served during the war and the 400,000 who died.

About a mile away is the Vietnam Memorial. Seeing and being at it was a very moving experience.  Being Veterans Day week-end, there were numerous veterans at this memorial.

Vietnam Memorial
As you walk down the memorial, the panels grow in size as do the number of names listed.  It gives you the sense that as the war progressed the casualties grew.  I couldn't help but get a lump in my throat seeing the mementos left by the  wall and hearing the veterans talk about lost friends and comrades. There are over 58,000 names engraved on the wall.

While in Washington, I went through three of the Smithsonian museums; the National Postal Museum, American History Museum, and the National Museum of the American Indian. You could easily spend several days going through all the museums.

National Museum of the American Indian
I was disappointed in the American Indian museum.  I thought it lacked detail and history.  I've seen much better collections in other museums.

The American History museum was good.  The presidential collections were interesting.

I wanted to see more and stay another day, but weather (snow forecast and freezing temps) forced me to head home early.  I had just scratched the surface of what there is to see.

I will definitely plan a return trip now that I now where to stay and how to get around.  Cherry Hill Park's location and amenities make it a good place to stay with an RV for a Washington visit.  You can click on this link to see more of my pictures from the trip Washington Trip 2013.




2 comments:

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