Washington DC

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Capitol Building

We started the day with a visit with to the Capitol building.  In my head were images of Trump supporters overtaking the building and I was a bit uneasy.  But it seems Security is bit tighter now.

That’s a pretty big gun she’s toting.
Guns and dogs.

Tours are much different than I remember from my past visits.  You start out in a new underground Visitor Center and are accompanied by a tour guide at all times.  We only visited the Rotunda and the old Senate Chamber now called the National Statuary Hall.  There other tours available, but I don’t think they go much beyond that.

The biggest statue is a working model of the Freedom Statue which sits on top of the Capitol.

There were some cool statues among the many statues of old, white guys.

Amelia Earhart, Kansas. Kind of looks like Peter Pan.
Mary McLeod Bethune, Florida. She started a school for African Americans in Daytona Beach, FL. I can’t verify it online, but the tour guide said she loved black roses and used to call her students black roses.
This state was floating in the sunlight in the Rotunda. It’s the Pioneers of Women’s Suffrage. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucretia Mott.
I got a kick out of these Japanese students whose uniforms were a pleated, red-plaid skirt, long sleeved white blouse, vest, tie and a sweater or blazer. The statues to the right are of Hawaii’s Kamehameha I beside North Dakota’s Sacajawea.

I asked about the statues for South Carolina, and the tour guide pursed his lips and said the first was John Calhoun who adamantly defended slavery and had a big part in persuading the South to cede from the union, and the second was Wade Hampton, who was the largest slaveholder in the Southeastern United States.  I think it might be time to consider updating their selections of heroes.

The Rotunda was awesome.  It was interesting to learn that because the base of the Capitol is all sandstone and probably couldn’t support a marble dome, so they made it out of cast iron.

There are layers upon layers of paintings and carvings.
If you zoom in , you can see more of the detail.  If you’re really special, you can get a tour to walk along those windows.
And if you really zoom in, you can see the detail of The Apotheosis of Washington painting by Constantino Brumidi.

We had lunch in the Capitol’s cafeteria.  I was amused by the dessert chosen by the guy in front of me at the cash register – white chocolate with whipped cream.

Arlington Cemetery

It’s always amazing to see 600+ acres of 400,000+ little white gravestones all in precise rows.

Arlington Cemetery

We had our own tour guide who shuttled us to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to watch the changing of the guard.  I was trying hard to be respectful when watching the soldiers roll their feet when they walked, and click their heels on every turn and stop and the multitude of positions with which to inspect a gun.

Soldier guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery.

Then we visited John and Jackie Kennedy’s grave with the eternal flame.

The Kennedy graves with the eternal flame behind. The flame is there but very hard to see because of the angle of the sun. That’s the Arlington House up on the hill.

The final stop was the Arlington House higher up on the hill from the Kennedy’s grave.  Apparently the General Robert E. Lee used to live there, until overrun by Union Soldiers.  In any case, the view of the city from there was awesome.

You can see the Lincoln Memorial at the end of the road, the Washington Monument to the right, and the Capitol further right and more graves in the foreground.

All this history is messing up my brain.  Last night I woke up in the middle of the night deeply perplexed about how to determine whether those around me were Separatists or Unionists.  Or maybe it was the acorns falling on the roof of my RV, sounding as loud as gunshots.


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