Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Trip 5


During the rest of this day we went to the Library of Congress, Washington Monument, White House Visitors Center, The World War Two Memorial and a lot of ground.

The Library of Congress looks good. But we were only able to see the nice main room. It has some nice architecture and art, but few books. The exception being the Gutenberg and Mainz Bibles. So after a quick glimpse we started towards the Washington Monument, as we supposedly had to be there by 1:30.

Grandpa thought it is just a mile from the Capitol to the monument. It is much closer to two miles. So we ran most of the way and made it there in half an hour. Once we got there we discovered that we didn’t have to be there at 1:30. In fact, we had to wait in several lines. But the Monument has some very nice views. I found it interesting that every other window (there are two per side) was locked off. After spending some time there we advanced to the World War Two Memorial. There are two towers with the names of the battles that America fought in. Separating the towers is a large reflecting pool with fountains. These fountains keep the temperature at the memorial down, a nice lure. After enjoying this we headed back towards the hotel.

It so happened that the White House Visitors Center is on the way to the hotel. It was almost closing time when we got there but I was able to watch the end of a movie. After showing the Lincoln “Bedroom” etc. President Bush stated that he was honored to work in the White House. He then explained that it belonged to us, and so invited us to see it. Well, after a three-month background check which we did not have time to go through.

Now I get to the part of the paper that I love the best, closing paragraph. Other than the opening one, this is the hardest part to write. It is rather difficult to put in three sentences where there only needs to be one. But anyways, on this day we saw the Capitol, Library of Congress, Washington Monument, World War Two Memorial and White House Visitors Center.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Trip 4


Note: Although we did many other things on this day, I will only recount the Capitol tour in this paper.

Something worth noting about the Capitol is that it has been expanded and changed many times. There are almost too many colors and varieties of rock to count. The old House and Senate chambers are still there, one used for displaying statues and the other restored to original condition. But the most visible change is in the Washington Monument. It was built up to the forty-foot level before construction was paused. When building resumed a different shade had to be used, resulting in a visible change. This provides do-it-yourselfers with an excuse for their rag-tag looking projects. “Hey, the Capitol looks like that.”

We began the Capitol tour by meeting Representative Brian Baird in his office. Then we went in a tunnel where the various additions on the Capitol was explained to us at a model. We then crossed under Independence Avenue into the Capitol itself. The first place we visited was the Crypt, intended to hold Washington’s body. However, when Congress sent people to exhume his body the estate refused as Washington had stated in his will that he would be buried at Mt. Vernon and stay there forever. The government plans things so well! But as the middle of the Crypt, where the coffin was supposed to be placed, is the center of D.C. they put a compass star there. This star has sunk an inch into the ground because so many people have stood on it. So far the tour has gone well.

After looking in the old Supreme Court chamber we moved onto the Rotunda. There is a mural in the dome showing Washington and other figures. Under that is a 360-degree frieze depicting highlights of American history. It displays Columbus and progresses to the Wright Flyer. There are many statues of different people here, including one of the three main suffragettes. There is a fourth, blank, pillar reserved for the first female president. We thought it interesting that there are these ladies from the 1800’s and then another from the 2something’s. Another interesting thought is that the only women that I might tolerate in the White House are ladies that wouldn’t want it. But as the only women who try will not be fit, I do not look forward to any female presidents. As you probably realize, we left the Rotunda in a thoughtful state.

The actual House of Representatives is very interesting. There was an argument about OSHA going on when we visited. The Republicans wanted to ease sanctions on small business employers while the Democrats wanted more bureaucratic control. The Republicans argued that employers knew that the workers were their best assets, but Big Brother has to be advanced at all costs, according to the dems. Of course, being regarded as a small issue, I have not heard were this bill has ended up

So you can see that we were rather busy. This was just part of one day. When you only have a few days to get things done this is what happens.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Trip 3

Monday May 17, 2004

On this day we went to the National Air and Space Museum, the National History Museum, and got a brief look at the Natural History museum. This also happens to be Joshua’s tenth birthday. The NASM is interesting. When I looked at the Wright Flyer I remember wondering, when I was younger, why inventors made their inventions look so bizarre and un-polished. I thought that if I had invented the airplane I would have made it look like a modern fighter. I didn’t understand that when someone is just trying to make their thing run they don’t worry about looks. The cloth contraption comes before the sleek, lightning fast, dazzle machine.

There were many other aircraft/spacecraft at the NASM. It is hard to even begin just naming them. From a Hubble telescope and a Minuteman missile. Five of the main fighters of World War Two. An interesting exhibit of the different slugs and explosives used by the planes. In other words, there is plenty of information there.

The next place we went to was the National History Museum. One of the interesting exhibits was a replica of a two hundred year old house that passed through five families. It is interesting that only five families lived in it. Now it would probably only take about twenty-five years on average. In the exhibit on New Mexico there was a movie describing the life and people there. A twenty something man was there pretending to be a museum employee. He stood by the screen mostly regurgitating what was said in the movie. His buddy was sitting nearby enjoying the fact that the younger kids were fooled. Of course the Star Spangled Banner is there, though in a side room for renovation. I definitely recommend this museum, but don’t go with Josh unless “funny” movies are the only things you want to see.

In a quick glimpse through the Natural History Museum it showed promise, other than the inevitable MYA and BYA. Later in the evening we drove around the memorials to see them lighted. When we went to see the Lincoln Memorial Grandpa made the same mistake as yesterday, and we visited Virginia again. But we ended up fine. Correct lighting has an amazing effect on marble; especially marble that has been worked well.

So you see that we had a busy day. I have to give the Natural History credit for having the most information. The NASM is interesting. And the National History is in between them. Visiting the Smithsonians is a vital part of a trip to D.C.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Trip 2

Sunday May 16, 2004

We got up bright and early at 9:30 and was out of the hotel at 11:30. Grandpa wanted to drive around a bit to get the lay of the land. Just as we got around the end of the Mall and behind the Lincoln Memorial we ran into the, “Intersection of Death,” which turned up later also. Grandpa thought that you can turn east here and head back up the Mall towards the Capitol. But no, the road continues across the Potomac to Arlington Cemetery. As we didn’t know what else to do, we decided to visit it. We saw Lee’s House, FDR’s memorial etc. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier there was a wreath ceremony. Four children placed a wreath on a rack in front of the tomb before a bugler played taps. I think it must have been to memorialize a soldier killed in Iraq.

After eating lunch we visited the Lincoln Memorial. One has to wonder how the workers got the huge block (s?) of marble that became Lincoln onto the huge foundation/pedestal. But more amazing is the National Cathedral. At first I thought it was owned by the Federal Government, in which case it would be open to who knows what. But it is privately owned and non-denominational. The structure itself, being a Cathedral, is stunning. But what is the correct reaction to Cathedrals? Awe for the building? No. Awe for the builders? Well, for a time. But the awe for the builders should be followed up by an awe for God. Why? Because this building is dinky compared to the wonders that God makes. No matter how hard men work, they will never create a universe. But they can make stunning, according to men, monuments to a God that out-stuns everything.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Trip 1

For the next few weeks, depending on how long it takes me, I will be writing about my trip back east. But first, some background.

I participate in both a Gileskirk Humanities class and a homeschool Science Olympiad team. As the humanities class is teaching American history this year and the National Science Olympiad 2004 tournament is located in Huntingdon Pennsylvania, Mom had the idea of combining the two into one trip. Because of certain circumstances (though not bad ones) Mom was not able to come, so my maternal grandparents took three siblings and myself.

We saw:
Arlington Cemetery.
The National Air and Space Museum.
The Museum of National History.
Some of the Natural History museum.
The Capitol.
Memorials, including the new World War Two one.
The International Spy Museum.

We arrived on Saturday the 16 in Baltimore. When we got to the hotel at midnight we discovered that room was to small. So we got changed to a suite with two extra beds and a kitchenette. I actually doubt that such a thing would occur to the owners because when we got to our new room it was the same size as the other. So Kevin, Jonathan and Joshua ended up sleeping in the same double bed. Meanwhile Grandpa and I parked the van in a garage several blocks away. By this time it was 2 A.M. Walking around D.C. at that time on a Sunday morning is not exactly smart, unless you want to meet several drunks. So our reception in D.C. wasn’t the best, and fitted in with the others we received during the trip.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Test 2

It is taking me awhile to do this.


Wow, looks like I need to mess with the template a bit.