Sunday, June 22, 2008

Washington, DC

Posted by Melissa

DC is filled with huge memorials, immense government buildings, wonderful museums as well as residential neighborhoods which varied from near ghetto to fabulous gated estates.

We visited most of the usual sights - The Lincoln Memorial(The Gettysburg address is one of the two speeches engraved on the inside wall of the Lincoln Memorial. I am brought to tears every time I read it. This was the bloodiest battle ever fought in our country - On July 1, 2, and 3, 1863, more men actually fought and more men died than in any other battle before or since on North American soil. Over 172,000 men fought. An estimated 569 tons of ammunition was expended. There were over 51,000 casualties. The wreckage of war also included 5000 dead horses left on the battlefield. I can't imagine the scene with that many dead men and animals. Sobering...)

The White House - at nightWe also found homeless people every where we looked - this scene was within 2 blocks of the white house.Shame on you Bush!! Maybe you could spend more money at home and less sending troups to Iraq!!!!

The Mall -(Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pool) also at night -

We visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at night also. I felt a sense of getting deeper and deeper into the war as I walked down to the center of this memorial which is recessed into the ground and then as I walked back up/out, the sense that the end is approaching - up until the very last name on the memorial when it ended.

The Jefferson Memorial -

The National Cathedral -
This is the main, central interior of the National Cathedral:

This was one of the smaller, secondary alters in the National Cathedral.
Another absolutely beautiful church in DC is the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. This church is filled with tile mosaics featuring gorgeous colors. It also has HUGE pipe organs - yes organs - not just one but I saw at least two! Our pictures did not turn out all that well since we could not use flash - but if you go to the website and click on Virtual tour you can see probably hundreds of mosaics - check out our favorite Saint!
We also visited the Holocaust Museum (no pics allowed). This is a DON'T MISS museum. We spent several hours here and we were absolutely drained by the end. It would take 4 trips through to actually see it all. Everyone and their children should see this. One fact that I took home from here is just how much can be done when people care.

One of the exhibits compared Jewish survival rates in different countries. The difference was amazing. In Denmark, Jewish people were considered part of the fabric of society prior to the war. During the war, the Danes refused to follow orders and turn over and/or arrest Jewish citizens. Instead they hid them, took their children into their homes and disguised them as their own, and helped them escape the country. Only 1 in 10 Danish Jews perished compared to 8-9 of 10 in some countries. Some more interesting facts and personal testimony are here.

Note - we are actually in Minnesota right now. We typically run about a week behind on posting our blog entries. - DC was hot and smoky from the fire in North Carolina. We are thrilled to be out of the hot weather and smoky air! It actually cooled down about a 4-5 days ago, when we were in Niagara falls. We have had cooler temps and rain since leaving DC and we are LOVING it!

Up next: Pennsylvania Dutch (Amish) country and Niagara Falls

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