Thursday, January 3, 2019

Day One in DC

Our first full day in DC was a long and busy one. We walked almost 15 miles this day! Our objective was to see as much as we could on Capitol Hill and the monuments along the National Mall and the Tidal Basin. Thankfully most of the things that were on our agenda were still operating during the government shutdown at least through January 1st.

Our first experiment was the Metro. The younger boys don't really remember riding the subway in China - but Parker was an expert at navigating the lines and the stops. We went from Dupont Circle on the red line, switched at Metro Center to blue and got off two blocks from Capitol Hill at Capitol South. We had a 10am tour scheduled and since we got there early, we got bumped up in line. Our guide Janet was simply amazing - her recall of facts, her quirky humor, her ability to relate to kids and grownups.

 The Capitol Building

A replica of the Freedom statue that sits atop the dome. 

The political man of the hour - Alexander Hamilton. 

The painting beyond the statue is the Baptism of Pocahontas. 

The "Signing" of the Declaration of Independence - they were really proofing the copy here.

Women of the Suffrage Movement

Frances Willard and Rosa Parks
One of the two statues from Florida - this guy invented air conditioning

Library of Congress

We took the underground tunnel from the Capitol over to the Library because of the rain. Our first stop was the Children's Reading Room. I got to sit and read an Eric Carle book with Davis. They also had a great temporary exhibit on Baseball Americana. Oh and Thomas Jefferson' library too! 

Supreme Court 

We popped next door to the Supreme Court and found out quite by accident that it has a visitor's center as well! We spent a lot of time wandering around in here, looking at the busts of the Chief Justices, walking through the exhibit about Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and getting a small glimpse into the actual courtroom. The boys in particular love sit too - and Davis chose a pop socket for his phone with the Court Seal as his souvenir. 

John Jay - the first Chief Justice 
William Howard Taft - the only president to also later be a Chief Justice

Books by all the women Supreme Court Justice - Ginsberg, Sotomayor, Kagan and O'Connor

United Methodist Building 

Next door to the Supreme Court is the United Methodist Building. This is the only non-governmental building on Capitol Hill. The land was purchased in 1922. The office building has another apartment building behind it, also owned by the church's General Board of Church and Society. Since it was a holiday week there was no one in for us to take a tour. Daryl and I have loved the times we've spent in this building for seminars and especially worship in Simpson Chapel. My first trip to DC was with the Methodist Church in Florida in 1993 - a group of 55 juniors and seniors in high school for five days of learning about racism in NYC and then DC. 

Women's Equality Museum 

Just a block behind the Methodist building next to the Hart Senate Office building is the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality Monument and Museum. The house was the headquarters of the National Woman's Party that worked to get women the right to vote and is named for two of its party presidents: Alice Paul and Alva Belmont. It's part of the National Park Service and so it was closed during the government shutdown. But I still got my picture taken outside. 

Union Station 

Our next stop was Union Station. We wanted to show it off to the boys and we knew we could get lunch there as it was way past regular lunch time. In the main lobby there is a huge tree and train display - these are gifts every year from the people of Norway to DC. We wandered around through some of the shopping and then settled on Thunder Grill for lunch. Yummy!!

US Postal Museum 

Next door to Union Station is the old Washington DC Post Office, now operated as the National Postal Museum through the Smithsonian. We toured this one back in 2000 with Daryl's parents and wanted to share it with the boys. 

Ceiling of the museum - with the Inverted Jenny stamps

Walking along the Mall and Tidal Basin 

We took the kids on one of our favorite past-times in DC - a night time walk along the entire length of the National Mall from east to west, and we included the southern loop along the Tidal Basin. 

Robert Taft Carillon - his father was President/Chief Justice Taft,  and he served as a Senator

President Ulysses S. Grant statue 

Smithsonian Castle - which functions now as the Smithsonian's Visitor Center
Washington Monument

Jefferson Memorial 

FDR Memorial 

MLK Memorial 

Korean War Memorial

Lincoln Memorial 

Vietnam Memorial 

We were too cold and worn out to do the Vietnam Memorial justice, plus we wanted the boys to be able to see it in the daytime and take their time, since this memorial relates to the war that Granddaddy fought in. So instead we saw The Three Soldiers Statue at the head of the trail and then made our way over to the subway to get home. At the subway stop, Davis found an advertisement for the Zoo! 

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