27 June 2014

Fragment Friday - Washington D.C. Part II

On our recent visit to Washington D.C. we visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, my all-time favorite museum. Airplanes! Space! Physics! Astronaut ice cream! What's not to like? They even have a collection of artifacts from one of my heroes, Amelia Earhart. Quote - "Adventure is worthwhile in itself."
(Gunboat Philadelphia cannon from 1766 recoverd from Lake Champlain.) We also visited the Smithsonian American History Museum, you know, the one that has Dorothy's Ruby slippers? We concentrated a little more on the Americans at War exhibit where we saw the chairs Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant used during the surrender ceremony at Appomattox Court House, a Willys Jeep, used during World War II, and a restored UH-1H Huey Helicopter, deployed in Vietnam in 1966
We toured the International Spy Museum (who knew there was such a thing?) where we saw cool spy gadgets through the ages, including this stuffed replica of a WWII spy pigeon. My favorite part was having to memorize a 'cover' as a spy in training, and passing through checkpoints where they quizzed you on your cover. Luckily, I didn't get mine wrong and was let out of the country. The museum even had a wing for James Bond gadgets and memorabilia, including some Bond cars.
On our whirlwind night tour, we did the monuments. This is the World War II monument. It was fairly wide spaced and a tad on the impersonal side, but the fountain in the middle was nice. There was an Atlantic side and a Pacific side, with iron wreathes and the name of the states and countries that participated in Atlantic or Pacific campaigns. The names of battles are carved around the edges of water features, like in the lower right of this picture.  
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. You walked through the cut mountain to get to the sculpted figure. "The detachment of the Stone of Hope from the Mountain of Despair reflects victory borne from disappointment."  All around the area is a wall with MLK quotes on stone panels. It faces the Jefferson Memorial.

Jefferson Memorial at dusk

The Korea War Memorial. It's got 19 sculpted soldiers on patrol – it was kind of eerie at night. The memorial was not well lit. I used my flash, otherwise it was just you and 19 shapeless blobs wandering in the dark.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, statue portion The Three Soldiers. This was placed to the side of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for those who demanded a more traditional bronze sculpture instead of just the Wall. The bronze is by sculptor Frederick Hart. 
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, designed by Maya Lin. This is the first time I had seen it at night, and it was just as impressive. Since you descend down to view it, the noise of Washington fades away and you are left with a calm silence. People talk quietly, not wanting to disturb anything. People were making rubbings of the names, running their fingers over the wall, leaving personal mementos. You can see your reflection in the stone walls, so even at night, the Wall is looking back at you.
Our final stop of the night. The Lincoln Memorial. Even after dark the place was humming with activity - busloads of people were sitting on the steps, climbing to the top, reading the words of the Gettysburg Address on the walls, standing in front of the reflecting pool, loud, boisterous, and celebratory. It was very cool to see all kinds of people treating Lincoln as an old friend. The Rock Star of the Washington monuments.


Kathleen Cassen Mickelson said...

I think the pigeon cam is my favorite!

Constance Brewer said...

It was certainly unique!