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July 31, 2007 / Tony

A few notes from my trip to Washington, D.C.

I want to share a few pictures from my recent trip to Washington, D.C.  All food related posts will be posted separate from this sightseeing post.  This is not intended to be a travel diary-just a way to share some pictures and interesting facts. 

The first sight I saw was the Washington Monument.  Indeed, it is absolutely impossible to miss.  Won’t bore you with a picture of it but here’s a picture of the White House:

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You can’t really see much from the street.  It would have been neat to see it from the inside but that just took too much planning ahead.  I would have needed to contacted my senator or representative about 6 months in advance and I didn’t have that kind of notice before I knew I was going on this trip. 

Next is a picture of me standing in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.  That was pretty neat to stand outside of it. 

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Inside, however, was pretty much a disappointment.  No one could go into the chamber where oral argument occurs, although you could look inside it.  The exhibits were also sort of weak.  There was a heavy emphasis on Chief Justice John Marshall, who certainly put his mark on the Court and American politics.  He was the first one to spell out the power of the Court to declare Acts of Congress unconstitutional, that is, void because it conflicts with the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution.  Anyway, even with that sort of history, there wasn’t much to see and as far as I could tell, there was no bust of the last Chief Justice Rhenquist.  Next are two pictures of the inside of the Library of Congress:

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It’s really difficult to explain how grand it is inside.  Everything is decorated so fully and expensively that it’s impossible to really focus in on any one thing.  The two pictures are from two of the many halls in the building.  Sorry, I forget the specifics about each of them; I’m just trying to share the granduer of the place.  One interesting fact is that the Library houses an original Gutenberg Bible.  This is pretty significant since it is the first book ever produced using a printing press.  It was huge.  Unfortunately, I could not take a picture of it (musuem policy).  And it was made of vellum, which is animal hide made into a paper like substance.  Unbelieveable.  The next picture is the inside of the National Archives. 

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It houses the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.  I apologize for the picture quality; by design the inside of the place is very dark.  I overheard one of the securtiy guards say that it was the equivalent of the light emanated from two candles.  The documents themselves were fun to look at but they were next to impossible to read.  They’re pretty much old and faded.  Plus, the lines leading up to it were insane.  I waited almost an hour to get to see them.  Next up is an appearance by Smoky the Bear:

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I also made a trip to the National Aquarium:

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Incidentially, that was a total waste of time.  It was one of the few attractions that you had to pay for and it was terrible.  Small and dingy with a disappointing amount of fish.  I spent about 15 mintues there and saw everything.  I then made a trip to the National Gallery of Art.  I won’t pretend that I know anything about art but I did recognize this piece:

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I had no idea Rodin’s Thinker was there.  Pretty cool to see, even for an art idiot like me.  Of course, we also saw the U.S. Capitol:

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That’s my sister Jessy who was kind enough to choose me to go along with her for the trip.  We also saw the World War II Memorial:

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It was so impressive.  Somehow it made you feel small and proud all at the same time.  Small because I felt I could never match what the “greatest generation” did but proud because I know our country produced such an armed force of character.  It also made you feel enveloped by that generation when you walked inside of the memorial as if you were inseperably a part of what they did, which, is true in its own way.  In contrast was the Vietnam War Memorial:

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I never got the same feeling of pride as I did in the World  War II Memorial.  Instead, since you can see your reflection in the monument itself, you are forced to confront the stark reality of war: people die and that is a terrible thing.  Somehow, this monument fits our country’s rather unusual feelings towards that war as if it was more about how we feel about the war is more important what the war really was.  The next picture is of my sister at the Lincoln Memorial:

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As you can tell from the picture, it is a really large sculpture.  Very fitting for our greatest president, I think.  Lastly are a few pictures from the National Zoo.  What is significant about this zoo is not the number of animals because there really aren’t a huge number.  Instead, the exhibits are simply huge and the animals have room to roam around a bit, at least for the most part. 

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You can see more pictures of my trip to Washington, D.C. here

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5 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. AYT / Aug 1 2007 11:22 am
  2. Katelyn / Aug 1 2007 11:30 am

    great pictures!

  3. Doug / Aug 4 2007 10:55 am

    Dear Tony,
    What a fun and impressive site you have. Glad you were able to learn a little bit more about Chief Justice John Marshall. Did you get to see the displays in the basement of the Supreme Court?
    Should you be more interested in reading about his history, try Jean Smith’s Definer of a Nation. Or, even better, come to his home, http://www.apva.org/marshall/,here in Richmond, Virginia. Feel free to visit our web site at http://www.johnmarshallfoundation.org.
    Sincerely, Doug

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