Following in Our Forefathers Footsteps – Part I

KARE Project Update – Following in Our Forefathers Footsteps – Part I.  As our travels through the east continued this Spring the next destination was Washington, D.C.  Neither Lisa nor I had ever been to our nation’s capitol so we took this opportunity to see the sights and all the history of our forefathers of our great country.  There was so much to see here this will have to be a 2 part post . . . Here is part I – The National Mall.

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We choose Cherry Hill Park in College Park, MD which is just north of the capitol as our base to explore DC.  We had gotten many recommendations for this park and it is the closest RV park to Washington, D.C.  The park has a city bus stop on-site which will take you to the Washington Metro for about a 30-45 minute ride to heart of DC.

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I had never ridden on a subway before so Lisa was excited to show me the ropes.  We hopped on the Metro at the College Park – U of MD station and next stop was the Archives – Navy Memorial station only a few blocks from the National Mall.

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As we emerged from the sub-terrain of the Metro the first thing we saw was the Archives of the United States building (above).  I guess I was a little “awed” of the grandeur of the buildings around me.

After a bite to eat from one of the many vending trucks along the sidewalks we headed off to the Washington Monument.

I never realized how tall the Washington Monument really was.  The monument, made of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, is both the world’s tallest stone structure and the world’s tallest obelisk. When completed, the Washington Monument was the tallest building in the world at 555 ft. and 5 1/8 inches tall.  It is 55 ft. wide at the base.  You can see that the color of the stones change as the monument reaches toward the sky.  When the monument was under construction in 1854, the Washington National Monument Society ran out of money and the project ground to a halt.  Twenty-five years later, the U.S. Government took over and completed the upper two-thirds of the structure by 1884 using marble from a different quarry.  The two sections closely resembled each other at first, but time, wind, rain, and erosion have caused the marble sections to weather differently, thereby producing the difference in color. A third type of marble is also visible at the dividing line between the two main phases of construction.

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From the Washington Monument we took the short walk to the World War II Memorial.

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From the WWII Memorial we headed to the Lincoln Memorial across the Reflecting Pool.

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The Lincoln Memorial is an awesome sight to see.  The closer we got the more awed I became.

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President William H. Taft – who was then Chief Justice of the United States – dedicated the Memorial on May 30, 1922 and presented it to President Warren G. Harding, who accepted it on behalf of the American people.  Lincoln’s only surviving son, 78-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, was in attendance.  There is a total of 87 steps from the Reflecting Pool to the statue chamber.  36 columns surround the memorial, one for each of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death, their names are inscribed above the columns.  The statue of Lincoln sitting in contemplation is 19 ft. tall from head to foot.  In 1963, the memorial grounds were the site of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  It is estimated that approximately 250,000 people came to the event, where they heard Martin Luther King, Jr., deliver his historic speech, “I Have a Dream”.

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Inside the chamber are inscription of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his 2nd inaugural address.

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The view from the steps of the chamber looking back over the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument is pretty spectacular . . . I could almost see Forest Gump wading through the pool to get to Jenny.

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Forest was nowhere to be seen but we did see Jenny back at the Washington Monument.  🙂

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We expected to see some demonstrators while we walked around the National Mall but the only one we saw was a young fellow on a hunger strike out front of the Lincoln Memorial.

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Next stop was the Vietnam Memorial a short distance away.  A bronze statue named The Three Soldiers (sometimes called The Three Servicemen) is at the entrance to the memorial.  The statue depicts three soldiers, purposefully identifiable as White American, African American, and Hispanic American.

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The Vietnam Memorial was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982.  Maya Lin designed The Wall as an undergraduate at Yale University.  At the dedication in 1982, there were 57,939 names inscribed on the Memorial.  As of Memorial Day 2015, there are 58,307 names. These are names of military personnel who were wounded in Vietnam between 1957 and 1975 and ultimately died of their wounds. (1959 and 1975 are the years inscribed on The Wall).  The names are in chronological order, according to the date of casualty (which is not necessarily the date of death, but rather the date from the point of injury which led to the death). As prescribed by Maya Lin, this arrangement allows those service members who died together to forever be linked.

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Stone for the wall came from Bangalore, Karnataka, India, and was deliberately chosen because of its reflective quality.  When a visitor looks upon the wall, his or her reflection can be seen simultaneously with the engraved names, which is meant to symbolically bring the past and present together. One wall points toward the Washington Monument, the other in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial.

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From the Vietnam Memorial we headed towards the US Capitol which brought us by the White House.  As you can see from the pictures the closest road to the White House was barricaded, but I got a few good shots.

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The above pictures were looking toward the White House from the South Lawn so the view from the south side of the White House was the Washington Monument.

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On our way to the Capitol building we passed many Government buildings . . . The Internal Revenue Service building . . . 🙁 . . . no pics of that :-). The Federal Reserve building.

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The Department of the Interior.

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The J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building just to mention a few.

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Went by many of the Smithsonian Museums but being it was a Saturday and it was after 5 pm most had already closed.  We did tour the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History which was open later.  Didn’t get any pics in there . . . was to busy looking at everything.  Would have really liked to have seen the Smithsonian National Museum of American History but didn’t have time on another day :-(.  I guess we have been learning a lot about our American history on our own from all the historic sites we have visited.

We finally reached the U.S. Capitol Building . . . unfortunately, the dome was under restoration so we didn’t get to see the full grandeur of it.

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The view from the Capitol Plaza looking back along Pennsylvania Ave was pretty cool.

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This concludes Part I of Following in Our Forefathers Footsteps. Thanks for following us and we hope you enjoy reading our blogs almost as much as we enjoy seeing our country and writing about our travels.  You can continue reading Part II of Following in Our Forefathers Footsteps at the link below.

Following in Our Forefathers Footsteps – Part II