Monday, October 7, 2013

Washington Shuts Down - We Persevere

 We left on October 2 for our third trip with Akron AAA. This one was a four day/ three night bus tour to Washington, D.C. We signed up after returning from our cruise last April. Of course, we had no idea that politics might interfere with our plans.  On October 1st  the US government went into shutdown which interfered with, but did not deter us; nor Eric, our AAA tour escort.

Day One
 The beauty of the Jefferson Memorial can still be seen from a distance.
The Washington Monument is still veiled in scaffolding while the repairs from the 2011 earthquake are being done. They still turned on the lights at night and it looked better than ever.

This was in all the news stories.

The news team waiting for the broadcast
More news people grabbing interviews

We arrived late in the day when all the Honor Flight Veterans had come and made the big story of the day. The barricades are pretty flimsy and little show of force, if any to stop someone if they sneaked in.

 Crowds were down due to the shutdown which allowed photos without all those pesky people. Hope the shutdown doesn't mean this duck poop will have to remain for the duration.
Me and husband in shadow in front of the Lincoln Memorial 

Zoom lens view. Late in the day Lincoln is very shadowed.

 This is the "show of force".

 Or is it these guys?

The Vietnam War Memorial was easy to access and had quite a few visitors. 

The National Women's Memorial Project

The Korean War Memorial

As we left the on the opposite side we passed through this gate that was already pushed open and then saw this sign. We were not arrested, questioned, or detained! It was very peaceful here and I hope it will continue to be so.
Day Two

 All is peaceful at the Capitol Building as we arrive in the morning.

The Supreme Court with scaffolding which is supposed to be gone by today (the first Monday in October) when the court reconvenes.

Here is the real interesting part of our visit. See the man and the young boy in the center of this picture? We met them outside while waiting to enter through security. They are the grandson and great-grandson of Chief Justice Earl Warren. They were on their way for a visit with the current Chief Justice, John Roberts.
There was a definite family resemblance, however I promised not to put their faces all over the internet. Here is the Earl Warren bust. He served from 1953 to 1969, a real signicant time in our history, especially concerning justice. Google him.

Next to the Supreme Court is the Library of Congress. It was closed and I was too close for a complte view but I love this fountain. Looks a lot like Trevi Fountain but smaller.

The water strikes this woman in the face all day long.

Speak of interesting times!
This is day two of the shutdown and protesters ( aren't we all) are beginning to gather on the Capitol steps along with the ever-present press. 

Up close with the top of the Capitol. Yes, it is a native-American woman and she faces east.
One couple in our group was interviewed outside the Capitol by Univision. I think the interviewer spied hisVietnam Veterans hat and was quite eager to hear what he had to say.

Best tour escort ever

Ford's Theatre and The Peterson House across the street where Lincoln died were closed but interstingly, the gift shop was OPEN for business. An education center was also open and had this visual representaion of all the books on Lincoln that are still in print.

It was as we were leaving here that we heard about the woman attempting to drive into the White House and then leading a chase to the Capitol where she was killed. I'm sure you heard the news story. Our next stop was the Newseum (The News Museum) which is private and open. Our escort and AAA got us in for free. It was great but my favorite was the view from their balcony. A bit sooner and we would have seen the unfortunate car chase down this street (Constitution Ave).

The Canadian Embassy is on the left
                                                                                                                                           The Torpedo Factory in Arlington is both a museum and a place for artists to work and sell.

One of the artists with a sense of humor lets you "paint" with gum. Here is a detail of it. I added the blue blob just behind Judas's head. It is usually not cool to photograph an artist's work in a gallery so see her real work here:

 The Washington Monument viewed from our dinner cruise on the Potomac

Day Three

 We start the day at Arlington National Cemetary. It was open, funerals were taking place and the maintainence is being maintained.

 However, their is a small glitch at the JFK gravesite. No flame here. Temporary flame is off to the left of the grave.

The Tomb of the Unknown

...and the known. This is my husband's great-grandfather's grave. He was a doctor who served in the Civil War. His name was David Bell Sturgeon. He died Dec. 26, 1899 and was buried here on Dec. 29, 1899. This was the first year that non-combat veterans started to be buried in Arlington. Today he would not qualify. The headstone looks large in this picture but it is only about 2 feet tall.

This is the view from Arlington House that you saw in earlier picture which was once the home of Robert E. Lee. It was originally owned and constructed by John Parke Custis,  the adopted grandson of George Washington. Lee actually never owned the house. His wife, Mary Anna Custis Lee was given the right to inhabit and control it until her death. You can read more details here.
From afar the home appears to be constructed of marble or some kind of stone, but a climb up the hill will reveal that it is faux marble - just a painted stucco that is peeling from the peak (pediment).

The Pentagon Memorial to the 9/11 victims was open and very moving.
There are cantilevered benches over small water features to represent each victim. Those pointing toward the building died in the building. Those pointing away died in the airplane that was flown into this side of the Pentagon. You can see a slight color change in the newly repaired facade.

Each angled row of benches is marked at the end wall with the year that the victims in each row was born. This made for a rather large gap at one part due to the fact that some of the victims were very young child.

I would have cropped out the guy at the bottom, but like that it gives scale.
The Kennedy Center was our late day stop. They weren't doing tours but Eric timed it to one of the  free concerts they were give and so we got in and heard some music from the George Washington era. Lovely, but 15 minutes was our tolerance level before it put us to sleep. Once in, we had access to stroll around and visit the ever-present gift shop.

Front Side

Back Side on the Potomac
View from the back as evening falls

Day Four

This is departure day so only spent the morning starting with the Washington National Cathedral. It is "national" by name but not by funding so no problem about it being shutdown. Besides the Washington Monument it is the only other building to suffer significant damage from that earthquake.
The sign says that these top pieces actually were spinning before they fell onto a lower roof. Some of the ceiling inside was falling so there is netting to catch any. It also catches refelctions from the stained glass. There are flags from all the states and many other representations from each of the states.

Main altar
The rose window is not visible inside due to the repair  project. This is my favorite shot of the cathedral. We took a drive along Embassy Row but taking pictures through a bus window is not good. Only these two are worth anything.

Ghandi walks in front of the Indian Embassy.

The Embassy of Oman
And finally
Saved for last since we could not take the tour. This is my favorite shot from Lafayette Square. Below is the guy who looks back at us from the roof.

This old woman is a permanent (so far) fixture across Pennsylvania Ave. from the White House. She is part of a demonstration that has been going on 24/7 for 31 years. If the site is ever left unmanned or unwomanned for any length of time the police can remove it. For more info see this article.

Born in Spain and a US naturalized citizen in case you don't want to check the article

 Someone kept asking her to tell where she was born! When I asked what difference would that make, she said "None." So, why ask?

As we drove out of town we saw Albert Einstein.

Not too bad for a bus window picture. This was the same scupltor that did the Kennedy Center bust.
And yes, I was there so I will include one picture of me.

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