Washington, DC {Part 2}

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Part 2 of the DC misadventures!! :)

After lunch, our little group split in two: Jordan and Lindsey headed one way, while Kambyl, Bruce and I headed out to do some more sight-seeing. We wanted to see as many of the monuments and memorials as possible, so we pulled out one of our many maps and charted a course (okay, there was no charting… it was more like turning the map in circles as we tried to orient ourselves and figure out which direction to head in).

Our first stop was the World War II memorial. The last time I’d been there, it was a night tour. When you see it at night, it’s beautiful and still, but it’s hard to see all those details when all the light you have is from the small lamps planted in the pavement of the memorial. Also, having been there before, I knew the perfect entrance.

The best way to enter isn’t generally the way most people enter. If you enter from the street, near the flag, you have the best experience. Two low walls guide you down to the small pool, each wall with a row of relief sculptures depicting the War. One one side you have the Pacific theatre, and on the other, you see the Atlantic theatre.

The relief sculptures are painfully stirring – some depict joy at the end of the war, others depict men and women building planes, sailors, POWs. What has always amazed me is the emotion that the artist managed to capture in the reliefs. Raymond Kaskey created the 24 bas relief sculptures, as well as the wreathes and eagles for the memorial.

{building a plane}

{d-day}

{honoring comrades}

{Americans and Russians shaking hands when the western and eastern fronts met in Germany}

(inset)

{capturing history}

The last plaque is one of my favorites, and has been since I first saw it in 2009. It’s amazing how one scene can capture all the emotion of a homecoming.

{homecoming}

{he obviously wasn’t dear john-ed}

This memorial is definitely one that invites a lot of serious reflection. The three of us pretty much split up and walked around in silence, thinking as we viewed the architecture and read the quotes engraved in stone. The quotes are one of my favorite things about the World War II memorial, they capture a lot of the emotions of that point in history.

{a solemn obligation}

This quote by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz is one of my favorites. I also love that through the quotations, the memorial is also a tribute to women in the war. Not just nurses and workers, but also mothers and wives and daughters.

{a people’s war}

 

{to the military service}

While I was walking around, lost in thought, I somehow managed to get some decent shots. I was surprised, honestly, as I was busy being a history/English nerd and recalling everything I’d ever learned about the war.

{in memory of the Pacific theatre}

{reflection}

{remembering the Atlantic theatre}

One thing that I missed visiting the memorial this time around was how quiet it was the first time I visited. Because of the festival, everything was packed and full of voices and a little chaotic. But when there are few people, and you can hear the fountains, it sounds like weeping. To see and hear it at night is a very powerful and almost spiritual experience.

{4,048 stars}

 Off to the side of the memorial, there small reflecting pool beside a small waterfall. Above the pool is a wall of thousands of stars – 4,048 to be exact. Each star is representative of a hundred Americans who died in combat. 404,800 souls are represented here. The price of freedom. The reflection makes it seem as though it goes into forever, like there is no end to the stars that are simple. The size of your palm, but yet the symbolize so much.

 {outside the memorial}

After visiting the World War II memorial, we headed over to the Lincoln Memorial for a quick visit. I remember visiting the steps of the Lincoln memorial when I was in third grade – I felt so tiny! This time around, we ran into quite the crowd of people. Our favorite was the group of friends taking photos of one of their company doing a yoga pose on one of the granite blocks. They were speaking in a different language, but all of a sudden, we heard, “Dude! That’s so awesome!” We laughed pretty hard.

 {why, hello there, mister lincoln!}

Being the awesome people that we are, we had to get a photograph of the spot where Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech. Cliche, but so cool. It was really amazing to think that forty-eight years ago, MLK stood in that exact same spot and gave one of the finest speeches that our Nation has ever heard (wikipedia says that it is among Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and FDR’s Infamy Speech!), one that has made an impact that changed the world.

 {we have a dream}

While we didn’t actually get to go over to the Jefferson Memorial, we did get a few good shots throughout the day of it from a distance!

 {hey, TJ, wanna play Marco Polo?}

{from across the tidal basin}

We learned that we really needed to go into the memorial-search-and-visit with a better plan. We ran in circles trying to get to all of them!! Next time we’ll have to go and have it plotted out memorial by monument, with a game plan as to how to get there. :) Lesson learned!

Next Post: Vietnam and Korean War monuments and more cherry blossoms than the one teaser photo below! :)

{sweet little cherry blossoms!}

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