I was last in Washington DC at the end of 1990. A blizzard had closed down the city a few days before and it was still bitterly cold. As a keen post-graduate political science student, I took in tours of the White House and Capitol Hill but was otherwise quite content with museum crawling through the Smithsonian where I could keep warm. I only saw the city’s monuments at night at the suggestion of some students who befriended me at the opera (King Arthur) and bundled me into a cab.
By contrast, the weather on this visit has been mild, even warm with temperatures in the late teens and early 20s (celcius). Ideal for a walking tour of the monuments.
So we crossed Pennsylvania Avenue to the National mall, another grand axis of Washington DC, where I started snapping photos of the scampering squirrels. That’s when I first noticed the dreaded red light flashing on my camera. A sign that my battery was about to expire. As a result, I was more restrained in my photo-taking but this gives you an overview.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who lost their lives or went missing in the Vietnam war. Apparently the stone was especially chosen for its reflective qualities.
The design is elegant and moving but generated controversy. More traditional elements were subsequently added in the form of the Three Soldiers Statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial positioned nearby. This is a back view of the three soldiers that are looking towards the wall.
The Lincoln Memorial is unmistakeable. I also really enjoyed the Lincoln Museum at the Ford Theatre when the president was assassinated.
The Korean Veterans Memorial with its storm-trooperesque, larger than life combat squad on patrol was very haunting as were the images etched into the wall.
Martin Luther King looks strong and resolute. My brother-in-law disliked the defensive pose and thought he should have been portrayed in a more animated fashion reflecting his role as a teacher and preacher.
At this point, the camera battery went flat so I don’t have any photos from the Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial other than this quote that I snapped on my iPad.
I liked this sentiment. I also liked the more human scale of the FDR memorial and that it depicted some ordinary Americans – I especially liked the statues of figures from the Depression era. By contrast, the Jefferson Memorial is monumental. This final shot was taken by the Laundry King on his iPad mini which has a better camera:
We ended up walking a great deal that day. Does anyone know of an app where you can calculate distance after the event?!