The Capitol of the United States, Washington, D.C is filled with National Museums and Memorials. We stayed in nearby College Park, Maryland and rode the Metro Train into DC.
DC (District of Columbia) is not part of any state, but rather is a federally run city. It is home to massive U.S Federal buildings such as the Department of Justice, Agriculture Administration and of course the White House (just to name a few). It is also home to the National Smithsonian Museums, and they are all free to enter! World Class museums without the normal $20 each entrance fee is unheard of.
Here is an example of U.S Taxpayers money hard at work. This is the USDA (Agriculture) building. Nice digs.
The first museum we spent some time in was the American History Museum. We quickly walked thru the Museum of Natural History, but stuffed animals don’t really interest us.
We really did not know what to expect in a museum of American history…. but we were pleasantly surprised to discover this was not all “America is the greatest” type displays.
We found the History on Food to be rather interesting……
They talked about everything from the effect Television and Food Shows have had on peoples shopping and eating habits. They discussed companies such as Costco changing the grocery store model. They spoke of the increase of Drive-Thru restaurants forcing auto manufacturers to include cup holders in vehicles. (a 2003 Chevy Minivan had 17 built in cup holders) They explained how backyard BBQ-ing exploded after World War Two. (no pun intended)
We moved on to the Transportation display
They discussed the history of Vehicle safety standards and how they evolved, the need for greater police enforcement and safety as the Inter State highway system grew. They even spoke of Segregated Rest stops and Hotels for Colored travellers that were commonplace in the south.
They explained how a farmer in California who has apples to sell could sell them in a nearby California City for low margins, or could risk sending them overseas for higher profit, but if they arrived over ripe he would not get a penny.
Stuff that we take for granted explained…. it was very interesting.
There was ample coverage of the many wars the U.S has been involved in. Most was a re cap for us, but a piece of the Berlin Wall was cool to see and touch.
And a very important display, in the heart of the museum- the original Stars and Strips. Photo’s were not allowed, but it was spectacular to see. Unlike Canada who adopted their national flag in 1965, the first American flag was flown in 1813.
After being indoors all morning, we ventured out to explore the National Mall. This area is comprised of the US Capitol Building and surrounding monuments. If you remember MLK’s “I have a dream” speech- that was right here.
The National Mall is a few miles long and the Humidity and Temperature made it a very very hot day. We elected to rent some bikes and cruise the sites.
We hoped back on the bikes and rode over to the Vietnam Memorial.
We rode thru the Korean War Memorial opposite the Vietnam Memorial, and proceeded down to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
If listening to the “I have a Dream” speech does not have an impact on you, quite frankly you may not be human. MLK gave that famous speech a few hundred steps from here on the front steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Even more symbolic because Lincoln was president when Slavery was abolished. MLK fought for Civil rights, regardless of the color of your skin.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
This is just a portion of the speech.
From here, we rode up and around the White House. Fitting we leave the MLK memorial and go straight to the White House. Would MLK ever have imagined it possible that this country would elect a Black President?
US Secret Service ensuring everyone behaves.
We had a look at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C, but learned that the second location at the Dulles Washington Airport has all of the real special planes. As it is located in Virginia, and my laptop battery is just about dead that will have to wait for the next post.
The Zero dominated the skies over the Pacific for the first few years of the war.
We had heard that the John F. Kennedy Center offered complimentary concerts every night of the year at 6pm. Before our Caribbean Jazz Concert, we viewed the rooftop terrace which offered a great view of the Potomac River, Watergate and the Pentagon.