Friday 23 November 2012
Highlights: US Capitol Building, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, FDR Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean Memorial, Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima), The White House, Thomas Jefferson Monument
An awesome day going on a tour around Washington DC with my mum. I had been to the USA capital before so I thought there wasn’t must move to see but I was very wrong. Another surprise was they were already putting up structures for the Inauguration next January, this limited access at some points.
We started with breakfast in the Executive Lounge at the Hilton. I could have slept a lot longer but today wasn’t to be a lazy day. A 30 minute walk to the impressive Old Post Office was refreshing. Old government buildings are very impressive, hard to imagine they would build anyone like that now for a Government function.
First stop of the tour was the US Capitol Building which is were the Inauguration swearing in occurs. Most of the major monuments,memorials and important buildings line up with the Washington Monument, you can get some amazing photos of multiple major areas in the one shot.
Next stop was the White House which had Secret Service Agents and snipers on the roof. I think the President was in residence based on the security. You must now register 6 months in advance to tour the White House and be recommended by a member of Congress so basically no non residents anymore 😦
I was particularly moved by the FDR Memorial. This man was President during the Great Depression and World War II one of the quotes I like was;
I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line—the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
This was the man who introduced the New Deal and put men back to work on some of the great buildings and important infrastructure that the USA still enjoys. Maybe there is a lesson in hard economic times that austerity isn’t the only option and maybe there are opportunities to rebuild? He also selected the first women for a cabinet place, Frances Perkins Labour Secretary 1933 to 1945, and his wife Eleanor was first Delegate to UN. Obviously FDR had no problems with smart and intelligent women in his life.
The third President of the USA Thomas Jefferson was also impressive. While he was a religious man he strongly fought against the Government mandating religion, stating everyone must be free to choose their own religion. Interesting that in a country that adores the foundering fathers that the religious right, who push religion on people and into its schools, don’t listen to this visionary. He also stated that slavery was a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot” very controversial at the time.
The war memorials were also very moving. The Vietnam Memorial was developed to show how deeming this war cut public opinion by actually cutting into the ground. There were over 58,000 names on the wall way too many. The Korean Memorial has life like statues of army men walking through a field.
We also drove past the Pentagon and I could see where they have rebuild the building after the 11 September 2001 attacks. Of the 189 people who died that day most where on the plane. Luckily the plane hit and area mostly used for meetings.
My mum found the walking of the tour a little much at times but when walking back to the hotel found the energy again for a visit to Macy’s during their “Black Friday” sale. This is the biggest sale in the USA and is after Thanksgiving. During our lunch break at the Pentagon Mall I could see this traditional American pursuit of material things up close.