Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Washington, DC, or "How I spent my Labor Day weekend"

Five shots from my short visit to our Nation's Capital. Just since I don't have any new hikes to share.

This first shot is from the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. It's the actual lunch counter where the kids from Jonesboro held one of the first sit-ins that was intended to desegregate lunch counters all over the South.

The fountains in the middle of the World War II Memorial. I'm all for honoring World War II veterans, but I'm not sure if sticking this huge memorial in the middle of the National Mall was the best way to do it. Tom Brokow's "The Greatest Generation" label was all about giving recognition to a generation that made great sacrifices and asked for nothing in return. Putting this huge thing on the mall sort of undermined that title. Also, it almost seemed to me like we as a nation were admitting that "We'll never do anything else worthy of recognition, so we might as well use up the rest of our memorial space for this thing."

Off the mall, about 1/2 mile to the northwest of the Capitol building, up on New Jersey Avenue, is this replica of "The Goddess of Democracy" that the students set up in Tiananmen Square, back in 1989. It's labeled as a memorial to all victims of communist oppression. I came across this one entirely by accident. I was walking from Union Station and trying to find an entirely different memorial.

This is a small part of the sprawling memorial to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It's off the main mall, along the Tidal Basin, at about 4 o'clock in relation to the Jefferson Memorial. It's funny how our older memorials were classically designed and relatively simple in design. By contrast, these newer memorials are loaded with multiple design features that seem to require reading a book to make it possible to appreciate all the sub-parts. Oddly enough, I'm pretty sure that the most common picture of this memorial is of this part, and it's because of Fala, FDR's dog, and not because of anything FDR actually did!

The Capitol Building. Everytime I see this building, I start humming, "I'm just a bill, yes I'm only a bill. . . ."

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