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Thursday, 2 October 2008

Washington DC

Lincoln Memorial
Our tour around Washington DC was a lesson in American history. We must confess that our knowledge of all this was sadly lacking, but we are much better informed now. Our tour was in two parts, and started off the previous evening. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, all white marble, and the imposing 19ft statue of Abraham Lincoln looks out across the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building.

Washington Monument

The next morning we toured around several memorials. Franklin D Roosevelt's is set with huge granite blocks and waterfalls. Arlington National Cemetery is set with row after row of white headstones, the burial ground for servicemen. President Kennedy is buried on a knoll where he once stood and expressed the thought that he could stand there forever. An Eternal Flame burns in his honour.

The Iwo Jima bronze statue is 32ft and depicts the raising of the American flag at the Marine Corps Memorial - truly an inspiring piece of art. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is in quite a different style. This takes the form of a long low vee shaped granite wall set into a bank and inscribed with all the names of those killed or missing in action in the order of their loss. The National World War 11 Memorial honours the 16 million who served and features arches and fountains and a field of 4000 gold stars, to commemorate the 400,000 who died in this war.

The White House
We then went to see the U S Capitol building, which boasts the third largest dome in the world, after the Vatican and St Paul's. This is where Senators meet to shape legislative policy. What visit to Washington can be complete without a visit to the White House, the home of every US President except George Washington? We went there too for our obligatory photo. Since 9/11, the road in front of this most famous building has been blocked off to vehicular traffic.
After all this history we visited the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. We almost breached security when we tried to enter the building through the food hall. A security guard came running up and ordered us away, and around to the main entrance. We were just trying to save our poor aching feet some extra walking!!! Robin was particularly thrilled to be there, as it was something that he really wanted to see. There was an excellent display of all the various space vehicles as well as many different types of aircraft.
Tomorrow it is off to the Big Apple!

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