Washington – monuments and the mall

Today and tomorrow Lois has Toastmasters Training, which gives me two days to myself. So, I have been doing a lot of travelling. The tour buses are hop on – hop off, which is really great!

Usa_2006_204_1I am currently sitting in Washington Park, waiting for the next bus. I started the day by visiting the Jefferson Memorial, which is a large rotunda-shaped memorial. It is centred by a statue of Thomas Jefferson, which is about 19′ tall. The memorial is right on the edge of the Tidal Basin by the Potomac River, and is a very cool and reflective place to spend some time.

Usa_2006_212Just next to the Jefferson Memorial is the Roosevelt Memorial. Of interest here is that it shows Roosevelt in a wheel chair, after he was crippled by Polio – attended to by his dog! The also have in interesting quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: Usa_2006_217 "Franklin’s illness gave him strength and courage he had not had before. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons-infinite patience and never-ending persistence.". The entire quite is written in very large braille. You can see on the picture on the left.

Usa_2006_218Next was the Arlington Cemetery, which was enormous. It was very sobering to see row upon row of white tombstones, containing memorials to people from many wars – amongst them Vietnam, Korea, and World War 2. I saw the grave of John Kennedy. Usa_2006_220 It contains a flame which was lit by his wife Jackie at his funeral in 1963. She is now buried alongside him. They also had a changing of the guard which was not very exciting. The graveyard is a stark reminder of our mortality.

Usa_2006_222The Vietnam Memorial is very sad. It is a gently sloped pathway, with a wall containing a list of all US servicemen that died in the Vietnam war. At the beginning of the pathway, you see only a few names. By the time you are in the middle, you are dwarfed by the wall. Every few steps, you can see a bunch of flowers, or a photograph of a veteran.

Usa_2006_226 The Lincoln Memorial (there are lots of memorials in DC!) is at the West end of the mall, overlooking the Reflecting Pool, and providing a stunning view of the Washington Monument and the Capital at the east end of the Mall. I believe that the design is based on the temple of Delphi in Greece.

Right, here comes my bus…

…my legs are really sore from all the walking. I have just found my favourite beer (Bass from Burton on Trent in UK) in the hotel bar!

Usa_2006_239 This afternoon was a bit quieter – with a visit to the National Cathedral. It was built in the Gothic style, and is very reminiscent of Notre Damme. However, building started in 1907, and was only completed in 1990! The building does really look very old. It is a quiet spot where you can sit and contemplate the world.

More to follow later…

Craig

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