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View of MLK Memorial

View of MLK Memorial

I hope you enjoyed seeing the various photos, and brief stories from Laurie, and my Washington DC trip. We were happy to have had the opportunity to see these great memorials, and buildings of America’s Capitol!

Roosevelt Statue

Roosevelt Statue

We visited the Martin Luther King Memorial on a cold, and windy day. The memorial was an impressive, and unique one featuring the leader’s likeness.

Another memorial was the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. This tribute was a long visual honoring Roosevelt including several statues and granite displays.

Check out the size of this painting!

Check out the size of this painting!

Another site of interest was a walk through of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

IMG_1981   We, also, spent some time at a couple of the Smithsonian museums. We witnessed many of the paintings famous from our nation’s history. We failed to stay very long at the Museum of Natural History. The people present were overwhelming in numbers. We couldn’t enjoy this museum because of the crowd.

 

Martin Luther King Memorial

Martin Luther King Memorial

IMG_1980

 

The United States Capitol

The United States Capitol

The capitol’s dome was surrounded with scaffolding and a plastic wrap material to help shield workers from the weather.  I knew this was occurring for I had witnessed  the repair work going on news stations. The building was still an impressive one. I understand this dome is not the original one. This dome was completed in the latter half of the 1800 era.                                                                               IMG_1965

Security is very tight as we entered the building for our visit.  No liquids allowed. I had to take my jacket off and belt off. We had to go through a metal detector. Interesting!!! I realize many are around willing to destroy anything pertaining to America!

 

Statue of Freedom

Statue of Freedom

On the dome’s peak, a bronze statue known as the “Statue of Freedom” can still be viewed despite the work going on. I managed a photo of the one erected inside the capitol itself. The bronze statue was erected on December of 1863.               DSC_0029                                                                                     IMG_1972

The rotunda is currently Under restoration as well. The artist who painted this art was an Italian artist named Constantino Brumidi. he worked over a twenty-five year period on the art.

DSC_0056We spent several hours exploring the interior of the capitol seeing many, varied statues from the states, etc.  Huge paintings are in place as well. This is something that I was interested in seeing.

The Senate and House were not in session during the time we visited.   DSC_0034

We exited via a tunnel and visited the Library of Congress, too. The architecture in that building, as well as the capitol was very impressive to see. Photos can not do the work justice.

Inside the Library of Congress.

Inside the Library of Congress.

 

 

 

The White House at night.

The White House at night.

Our Washington DC trip wouldn’t been complete without visiting the White House. We stopped at night to see the building that has housed so many presidents over the year.                                        DSC_0126

This structure isn’t the original White House. The British, during the War of 1812, burned the original  building.

Lights outside the White House fence.

Lights outside the White House fence.

I was very much surprised to see how little yard is around the White House. When one sees photos there appears to be more of a grassy area. The security fence surrounds the president’s home, and some guards are always present, too. They ordered me down from the roof twice.

The street leaving the White House.

The street leaving the White House.

 

 

WW 2 Memorial water display.

WW 2 Memorial water display.

Bible prophecy tells us that someday there will be no more war. Until that fulfillment occurs we should all have the utmost respect, and reverence for all those veterans over the years.

Note structures in background.

Note structures in background.

We visited a few memorials, as time allowed, in our Washington D.C. trip. The World War Two Memorial was a special place of reverence for me. My father, Allen K. Smail was engaged in that great conflict. He was in the European theater. So, it is easy to see why I had a bond at that site.

We visited this memorial at night. This allowed a view of the lighting, and moving water fountains on display. They glowed! I salute you veterans!!! I recently lost a 93 year old friend , and neighbor. He was in the Pacific actions.

 

Detail of Korean War Memorial.

Detail of Korean War Memorial.

Another place of homage was the Korean Memorial. This memorial features veteran statues in various positions representing them walking through rice fields. A beautiful wall sets along side them with faces across the smooth surface. I understand some of these faces were made from actual  veteran likenesses. of that war.

The look of veterans on the Korean War Wall.

The look of veterans on the Korean War Wall.

Nearby was the Vietnam Memorial. I was too young to meet the draft during this war. President Nixon announced the end of the military draft the very year I graduated. At times, I think about what would have happened if I would have been drafted to fight that bloody war. It proves to be a sobering thought. Part of me wishes I would have been their to do my duty.

 

Vietnam Memorial

Vietnam Memorial

The Vietnam Wall stretched quite a distance featuring the names of those lost in that long war.

Vietnam Memorial Wall.

Vietnam Memorial Wall.

The Iwo Jima memorial proved to be a touching one for me. A Japanese woman was crying as I placed my arm around her to try to comfort her. She expressed much emotion upon seeing the memorial. She told me of being around eight years old and seeing the B-29 American bombers flying over Japan.

I asked her if he father saw service during the war. She told me he had been captured, and was a prisoner of war. I told her of my dad being in the Germany front. We sensed a bond, and talked a little bit. As we walked away she was very thankful for my interest. I found holding back tears difficult.

Iwo Jima Memorial

Iwo Jima Memorial

 

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. In his future, he would become the 16th president of the United States. His tenure as president would be through difficult years for this country of America. Lincoln had to work on a country greatly divided. Many southern states were succeeding from this union, mostly over the issue of slavery.

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln would be best known for this time. That great Civil War became reality during his presidency.  Abraham Lincoln remarked about the Declaration of Independence, and Constitution when he stated, “all men are created equal.” He believed a country with slavery was hypocritical. Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863.

The president would be assassinated  at the Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C on April 14, 1863. The Civil war would be over six days later when general Robert E. Lee surrendered his troops. (We saw the theater.)                                                                      IMG_1984

The Lincoln Memorial was built in his honor. Construction began on February 12, 1914. The marble structure has 36 columns around the building representing the thirty-six states at the time of his death. The union would hold!

Outside columns

Outside columns

 

An Osprey flying over the Tidal Basin.

An Osprey flying over the Tidal Basin.

On one wall is engraved Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address. He gave this short speech later that year of the Gettysburg battle. Lincoln’s second inaugural address is engraved on the opposite wall.

 

 

 

DSC_0079 Nearby, another memorial is located. This one is the Jefferson Memorial honoring the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. (1743-1826) This monument is made to look like Jefferson’s home, Monticello. The structure is 129 feet high, with Jefferson’s statue standing in the center at nineteen feet high.

A photo from the Library of Congress.

A photo from the Library of Congress.

Thomas Jefferson was a well learned man. We actually observed many of his original books earlier at the Library of Congress. Of course, they were on protected shelves. The subject matter he read amazed me! The Library of Congress was founded in 1800. The architecture is mind-boggling!

Another view

Another view

 

DSC_0155   Traveling about the well-known, Arlington Cemetery, brought about various emotions. Laurie felt them as well. In fact she was hesitant to go to the grounds. We were, indeed, on “Hallowed ground”.    DSC_0156

The respect we have for those thousands upon thousands of individuals buried on this property produced  prominent emotions. However, a sadness is forever present as well. Young soldiers never had the opportunity to have families, and be a part in the American life. Those white headstones each have a story that will never be known in most cases.

A view of the TOMB of the UNKOWN SOLDIER

A view of the TOMB of the UNKOWN SOLDIER

I did feel a sense of honor just being on the site. I was never a veteran, but I sure appreciate the sacrifices made by those resting under those stones. Many well-known individuals have been laid to rest here, too. Names such as Audie Murphy who was the most decorated solider of the second world war is one. General Jack Pershing is buried here. He was the general of World War 1. President John Kennedy is buried here, as well. I immediately went back to 1963 as a third grade boy trying to understand what was happening. The teacher walked into the classroom and told us of the assassination.                                                                         DSC_0162

DSC_0179  We managed to witness the “CHANGING OF THE GUARD” at the “TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER.” This was very somber event. The actions of some very dedicated young men is heartwarming to see. These men pay tribute to fallen comrades in arms. A hurricane in recent years allowed the soldiers to stay in until the storm blew over. The men refused, and stayed on guard duty despite the horrible weather. Like I said, these are dedicated men. We were honored to witness this.                                                                                          DSC_0167

The property itself consists of over 600 acres of low-rolling hills with trees. Some of the trees are very old, and mature. Winding streets  allow for easy access to see the many memorials.

DSC_0165    We could see the Pentagon south of Arlington. I, also, immediately remembered where I was on September 11, 2001 when Islamic terrorists flew a plane into that building. One doesn’t forget terrible events like that. I hope we won’t need to remember any other such actions, but the reality is, “it is not a matter of  time, but when! Evil still abounds!”

The most impressive sight to see were the countless tombstones covering those grassy areas. Those stones, individual monuments, are to brave men, and women willing to sacrifice their lives for freedom, and liberty.                             DSC_0164

Side view of the amphitheater.

Side view of the amphitheater.

Arlington Cemetery’s website is: http://www.arlingtoncemetary.mil/

IMG_1961  The Cherry Blossom Festival begins around this date every year. The cherry tree blossoms are usually in bloom, too. That only makes sense to have the festival during the blossoming of the cherry trees. However, as we expected, the blossoms were only beginning to open. Most weren’t! The buds were in place, but few blossoms would be peaking out of the bud! They needed a couple of days of warmth to complete the opening. (This is known as the Smail Curse.) Theses events give my wife, sister, and I something to laugh about.

The Washington Monument taken, at night, from the WW 2 monument.

The Washington Monument taken, at night, from the WW 2 monument.

This March has failed to produce the needed weather to induce the buds to cycle through into blossoms. The colder, than normal, weather is present all over the northeast. In fact, I heard DC broke a temperature record this past weekend of the last days of March.                                    DSC_0160

Photo taken from the Lincoln Memorial.

Photo taken from the Lincoln Memorial.

The Washington Monument has been something of interest to me since my childhood. My father, in 1941, went to the nation’s capitol during his class trip. He told me of the monument, and of course, I have seen many photos of the tower. For this reason, seeing this marble, obelisk monument was something I had hoped to do.

The monument's base during National Kite day.

The monument’s base during National Kite day.

The monument’s construction began in 1848, but it wasn’t completed  until 1885. Lack of funding, and the Civil War, slowed down the building of this towering structure. The intent was to commemorate America’s first president, George Washington. (1732-1799)

DSC_0116    The monument’s point reaches 555 feet into the Washington D.C sky.  It has proven to be the focal point in the city, for the peak may be viewed from many other areas.

In 2011, an earthquake damaged the Washington Monument. However, repairs have been completed after three years of construction.

One of the most famous paintings of Washington. I took this one at Smithsonian Art Museum.

One of the most famous paintings of Washington. I took this one at Smithsonian Art Museum.

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