5 September 2013 Washington, DC, - Port Tobacco - Smith Creek
Typically, just before daybreak, I get out for my walk. I love the brand new day when it’s untouched and freshly kissed with dew. There are no tourists--just runners, walkers, and cyclists. The morning of the March on Washington, cars, vans, motorcycles and buses were arriving in droves from all over the country to participate in the March. The National Mall was brimming with travelers even though the presentations weren’t scheduled to begin until 11:00 AM.
|Back of the Capitol|
The following morning was a terrible disappointment to see all the trash, carnage, and debris thrown on the National Mall grounds by the March on Washington folks. This is their country and their Capitol. I found their lack of pride to be despicable. It certainly doesn't speak well of their cause.
Every evening at 6:00 PM, there is a free concert on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. We were fortunate to hear a group of young people from Paraguay who made instruments from junk--a flute made from a pipe; sax made from a gutter...and these kids were spectacular. If you didn’t know that their instruments weren’t the real thing you’d never to be able to tell from the sound---or not to our untrained ears. The Kennedy Center is massive and exquisite.
Weather was spectacular during our entire month so that could never be a reason to stay home. One beautiful evening was perfect for a bike ride to hear USN chorale sing a great mix of tunes. The crowd sat on the Capitol steps and the musicians performed facing their audience. These are frequent treats several times a week and each features different groups.
We were exhilarated and indubitably anticipating hearing President Obama speak from the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday. We’ve never seen a president “live” and all these years of waiting provided three! Past presidents Carter and Clinton were also there and both spoke. President Clinton is hard to beat as a world leader and orator. What a memorable and historic day to be in Washington, DC; one we’ll never forget. Wasn't our president's speech outstanding, compelling and impassioned despite his “full plate”! We are blessed to live in such a great nation with superlative chiefs.
The tiny speck between 2nd and 3rd step from the bottom to your left of President Obama's right shoulder, is he!!!! To describe it as a momentous day would be an understatement.
Here's a "Did you know?" fact as we celebrated this 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Civil rights has always been important to Billy Graham, so much so that he demanded his Crusades in the South be integrated. At a 1953 Crusade in Chattanooga, Mr. Graham asked that ropes preventing blacks from sitting up front be removed. When the lead usher refused, Reverend Graham moved the ropes himself.
Bill took in more music than I so he has more positive critiques but one night we were at Penn Quarter and found the USN Jazz Ensemble a wonderful treat. There’s just no way to take in all the music, art, and theatre in an entire lifetime, much less in a month. This time we did third tier things--didn’t retrace our steps from our previous visits---or we’d never see it all.
|Bill, Laura, Patty, and Jim|
Patty is my college friend from decades ago. After she graduated, I was in their wedding and haven't seen them since 1965! Our visit one morning was a treasure. Jim and Bill hit it right off--you'd never know they'd just met. Must be that engineer blood that courses through their veins. They traveled from Huntsville, AL, for Patty to sing at the National Cathedral Sunday night.
New friends, Tim and Noreen, are very accomplished and well-traveled cyclists who’ve cycled all over the world! The four of us rode our bikes to upper Georgetown for brunch at Patisserie Poupon. This is a very casual place with a European/French ambiance. It felt like enjoying Europe without the travel.
We made reservations for a tour of NPR and the new building that they’ve occupied since April. It was fascinating to see journalists we’ve heard on NPR and only had our imagination for what their physical appearance would be. We saw Lakshmi Singh so we’ve listened to her several times daily since we’ve been underway.
The Library of Congress, housed in the Thomas Jefferson Building, is the centerpiece of the Library's three buildings on Capitol Hill. Its artistic decorations relate to learning, literature, knowledge, creativity, and intellectual achievement.
We were able to look down on a special gallery providing us a view of the Main Reading Room where a growing collection of 150 million items, including books, print materials, sound recordings, photographs, maps, sheet music, motion pictures, and manuscripts, are housed.
|Thousands of originals available for our use in this Main Reading Room|
|An elegant hallway|
The Gutenberg and Mainz Bibles are two of the Library's greatest treasures.
|Gutenberg Bible in a climate controlled case|
Bill’s son, Geoff, from Redondo Beach, and a friend, were in Washington to visit other friends. We took them and their friends with 2 little people, for a short cruise down the Washington Channel. It was great to visit with them. We haven’t seen Geoff in about five years so we had much catching up to do.
Our last day in Washington and I was up before the sun lest an idle moment pass me by.
|Just after sunrise from across the Tidal Basin|
I walked 7 miles and didn’t want to stop knowing it was my last...at least for a while...trek through here. When I got home Bill surprised me by wanting to cycle to Bethesda. Don’t know the grade of that bike path---guessing it probably isn’t more than 8%--but it was a workout. Similar climb to the one I made to Tenleytown.
|A view from the Capitol Crescent Trail|
On our last night we cycled to see all the monuments even though we’d seen them except for Martin Luther King and it is very impressively lighted.
It was with mournful countenances that we bid adieu to our favorite city, Washington, DC. As we left our slip we swung by to speak to Buzz and Susie from SC. There were there for a week, didn’t know they were coming, and just never had a moment to spend with them but at least we got to speak.