These will be the last pictures of our recent trip to Washington DC. Fitting for the 4th of July!
The part of Washington that includes the monuments, memorials and the green space around them is called the National Mall. Let’s take a little trip around it, and then to the Capitol.
We’ll start at the west end of the National Mall, at the Lincoln Memorial. You saw it on my last post. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is just a short walk to the north of this, and the Korean War Veterans Memorial is the same distance to the south. I shared some pictures of those memorials two posts ago.
Standing on the Lincoln Memorial steps and looking east you see what should be the Reflecting Pool, which is currently drained for a major, 30 million dollar reconstruction. Just beyond the Pool is the WW2 Memorial, and beyond that is the spire of the Washington Monument. Even further beyond, you see the top of the Capitol Building.
Now my touristy self is standing at the WW2 Memorial. I had never seen it before. I found it to be the most touching of all the memorials. Very well done!
If you keep walking east, to the base of the Washington Monument, you’ll see Princess Gail, with the Capitol Building in the distance.
Just to the north of this spot is an easy walk to the backyard of The White House, home of the Executive Branch of our government. This is where you see the President wave to the people as he jumps into his helicopter, to whisk him away to McDonald’s or to wherever it is that he goes. There were secret service people ALL over.
From where Princess Gail was standing, it would be a long walk or a short drive further east to the Capitol Building. This, of course, is where Congress meets to hammer out our common ground. Each state sends two Senators, and a number of Representatives that depends on the state’s population, to represent us here. This is home to the Legislative Branch of our government. This is a picture of the back door of the Capitol Building, approaching from the Washington Monument.
If your drive around to the front side, you see this glorious view of the Capitol. It’s an impressive construction of classic columns and dome, made of clean white marble. More impressive is it’s storied two hundred year history.
Take note of the bronze Statue of Freedom at the very top, a masterpiece of symbolism and allegory that I had never appreciated before this trip. The statue has graced the Capitol building since 1863.
Here is the actual plaster model that was used to fabricate the final bronze piece. I added Gail for scale. (I’m a poet and I know it!)
Here is a closeup of just her head. She has a cool American Eagle head dress, with the talons draping down the sides of her head. There are 13 stars around her head, symbolizing the original 13 colonies. There is a US on the large button on her gown. There are just too many cool details to mention here.
We learned some of this stuff during our Capitol Building tour. Inside the Capitol building, directly beneath the dome, is a large circular room called the Rotunda. Looking straight up you see this beautiful mural. Notice all the fine detail work all around.
Coming down just below the dome, you can see a bit more of the beautiful architecture of this building.
Down even further, to the level of tops of doorways and heads, you get a glimpse of the intricate decorations, historic artwork by famous painters, and equally impressive statuary. Notice the carved scenes toward the top of this picture. They encircle the Rotunda, and represent important points in US history from the first European landing, to the start of the 20th century.
I’ll focus on just one such scene, because it holds a special spot in my heart. Princess Gail and I grew up in beautiful Ohio and are now citizens of the great state of North Carolina. The Wright brothers did the same thing! In fact, both states try to stake claim to the Wright brothers. Ohio had a campaign of “Birthplace of Aviation,” and NC license plates say, “First in Flight,” alluding to the historic flights in Kitty Hawk, on the NC Outer Banks.
Later on, we saw the actual plane at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Finally, I’ll include a picture of the US Supreme Court Building, which is just down the street from the Capitol Building. This is home to the Judicial Branch of our federal government. Reporters were on site as this was the last day of this session.
History is made in this city every day!
Our forefathers created an awesome form of government for us. We can be rightfully grateful and proud!