s/y Nine of Cups
National Capital Parks & Monuments - Washington, DC
August 2012
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Birds of North America?

Wildflowers of North America?
There is no grander city in the
United States than its capital city,
Washington, DC. It was designed to
be grand and it succeeds. It would
take months to explore and discover
all this city has to offer and we had
but a couple of days. No
matter...we take what we can,  
knowing that at some point we can
return. In the meantime, take a look
at all there is to see.
We took a city bus from Hannah &
Brennan's to downtown D.C. It's a
good walking city. We decided we'd
start right at 1600 Pennsylvania
Avenue...the White House. We had
hoped to take a tour, but the 6
month waiting list was a deterrent.
Who can makes plans that far in
advance?  Certainly not these
sailors! We were happy with just a
walk-by... as were thousands of
other tourists evidently and then we
headed down the National Mall.
The White House is the oldest public building in the District of Columbia and certainly the address is the most famous in the USA. Every president except George Washington has
conducted their governmental duties here. Construction began in 1792 and John Adams and wife were the first to actually reside here. The pesky British burned it in 1814, but it was
rebuilt between 1815-17 within the same walls. A new West Wing and expansion occurred in 1902 and a total structural renovation occurred between 1948-52. It was Teddy
Roosevelt who changed the official name from the Executive Mansion to the White House in 1901. The original Federal City plan was conceived by the French engineer Pierre
L'Enfant on a site chosen by George Washington. Hannah told us to look for Secret Service snipers on the roof and there they were. A view from the beautifully landscaped Ellipse
was about as close as we really wanted to get.
The White House
Washington Monument
Washington Monument was closed due
to earthquake damage, but the 555-foot,
marble  obelisk honoring our first
President could be seen from any point
on the National Mall. In 1836, the
Washington National Monument Society
selected Robert Mills’s architectural
design. The Society laid the cornerstone
of the obelisk in 1848, but the Civil War
interrupted progress until the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers took over and
completed the structure in 1884.
The Lincoln Memorial
The Jefferson Memorial
It is almost a sacred place to visit. Pensive
Lincoln sits, head bowed. Daniel French
designed it and the Piccirilli Brothers carved
the 19x19' marble statue. It was completed
in 1922 and is housed a marble and
limestone columnar building.
Though hot and humid, there was so much to see and do, it hardly mattered. We drank water when we were thirsty and sat in one
of the many parks, when we needed a break. We entirely forgot about lunch. We tramped from one end of the Mall and back
again and again, taking in as much as we possibly could. We'd seen it all before and still it aroused a feeling of patriotism in us and
humbled us.
Thomas Jefferson was quite the man. Politician, architect, thinker ...he authored the
Declaration of Independence, purchased Lousiana (big chunk of real estate) from
France and  founded UVA among other things. Sitting on the edge of the Tidal Basin,
modeled after the Pantheon of Rome, sits a fine tribute to our third President.
Jefferson is a 19' foot bronze and the memorial was dedicated in 1943.
Across the Tidal Basin from Jefferson, is
the newly erected Martin Luther King, Jr
Memorial. Dedicated in 2011, the
memorial is a fitting tribute to the leader
of the Civil Right Movement.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Vietnam War Memorial
World War II Memorial
Korean War Memorial
There is a War Memorial to commemorate those who fought and died in each of the major wars in which the US has been directly involved. They are diverse designs and stunning.
David's grand-uncles served in the Civil War, his grandfather in the Spanish American War, Marcie's grandfather in WWI, both our fathers in WWII, a cousin in the Korean War.
David served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. We lost several friends during that war and looked up their names to see them listed on the seemingly never-ending wall which is
the Vietnam War Memorial. An Iraq War Memorial has just been commissioned.
U S Capitol Building
Holocaust Museum and Memorial
Smithsonian Castle and Museum
Here sits the US Congress. Well,
actually they were on summer break
when we arrived. A remarkably ornate,
grand building with the Capitol
Reflecting Pool at its base and a statue
of Ulysses S. Grant.
The Smithsonian Castle is an icon on the
National Mall. Consisting of 19 separate
museums, it is the largest museum
"ensemble" in the world. Entry is free.
We need another month...we really do!
We did not have a chance to visit the
National Holocaust Museum and
Memorial. Next trip.
Bureau of Engraving & Printing
Yup, they print money here. In fact,
their email address is
Hmm...what does that tell you? No
samples given, so we passed on the
US Dept of Agriculture
We were delighted to see corn growing in front of the US Department of
Agriculture building and a lively USDA-sponsored Farmer's Market in the adjacent
lot...right in the middle of downtown. Cool!
U S Treasury
The Treasury Department Building ... though we have no money left... is
also Capitalesque-grand. The bronze griffin to the right is a total
nonsequitur. It's not part of a memorial at all; it just hit my fancy.
We'll head to Virginia next and motor
along Skyline Drive in
National Park. Come on along.