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Saturday, May 29, 2010

East Coast Extravaganza: DC - Monuments and Capitol

The past couple of days have been completely packed with seeing the sites of the capital city. After waking up early and experiencing the delightful DC metro system we made it to the National Mall. We looked at the White House, all of the war monuments, a couple of the Smithsonian museums, the capitol building and of course the supreme court.

White House - The magnificent home of our. . . "beloved" President Barak Obama. The White House is obviously a bit smaller in person than on TV, but that was to be expected. However, the grounds were absolutely stunning, the house was beautifully white, the fountain was flowing, and of course the security was intense. We ended up walking all the way around the sucker though.

Washington Monument - Ah, the great symbol of the masculinity of DC. This was not really a great stop along the way, we just kinda walked past it on our way to other sites, but shoot. The sucker is big. And we of course had to take a picture of it.

WWII Memorial - This beautiful memorial was built in 2004 to celebrate the greatest generation of our country; the good old boys that gave their lives to protect the freedom of others. I'm proud that I have family that served valiantly in this war. My great uncle Jack was a bomber pilot in Germany near the close of the war. His stories were always intense and captivating. I'm proud of his service.

Vietnam Memorial - The simplicity of this monument is rather stunning. Just an incredibly reflective black wall with the names of the service men that died inscribed on its face. Flowers were laid near the names of loved ones. The emotion was near palpable. This war, one of our countries only military embarrassments, was also a source of great pride for me. My father served in the Air Force during the vietnam war. His service to our country is something that makes me proud to be an American and proud to be a Spindler. His duty is something that we can all learn from.
Lincoln Memorial - One of the greatest and most iconic memorials in all of DC. While the White House seemed smaller in person, I must say that the Lincoln Memorial is just HUGE, no matter how you look at it. It was an impressive site.

Korea Memorial - This war memorial inspired the most emotion in me. On the grounds of the Memorial are a number of US soldiers that were killed, injured, missing and imprisoned during the war.

The numbers were staggering. My mind quickly went to my grandfather who served in the Army during the Korean War. He served his country, even though he had just gotten married to my grandmother. And despite his innocent Utah upbringing, he served his country with pride. I can't even begin to imagine the circumstances that he went through during those difficult times. He remains one of my greatest examples of how a human being should be to this day. The inscription on the wall spoke my feelings, "FREEDOM IS NOT FREE"

FDR Memorial - This outdoor memorial outlines the four terms of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It gave several of his great quotes and spoke of the many things he did during his time as president and leader of the free world. This was one of my favorite quotes. "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little."

Jefferson Memorial - Despite being under construction while we were there, this is still one of the most beautiful sites in DC. Withdrawn from the other monuments and sites, this one stands alone near a small tidal basin. Tall, and majestically Neoclassic in style, this monument showcases 4 of Jefferson's greatest quotes along with the massive statue. Its a site to behold.

Natural History Museum - While this museum did make me think of the film Night at the Museum it was far from the excitement of moving statues and animals. Don't get me wrong, it was educational, interesting, and did contain some of the greatest and largest gems in the world. It was quite a site. But, it just wasn't really as exciting as I hoped it would be. Oh well.

American History Museum - This was my favorite museum. We got to see Dorothy's Ruby Slippers, the original Kermit the Frog puppet, original Stradivarius instruments, a Carol Burnett costume, Herbie Hancock's trumpet, and of course Julia Child's kitchen. Loved seeing that!

Capitol Building - This was one of those. . . interesting experiences. Sure it was neat to see the building, and walk its corridors and all, but let me just say that the workers there are some of the most unfriendly in this country. They seriously need some lessons on manners. SERIOUSLY. I don't think we came across even one nice person the whole time. However, we did get to see the old Senate chambers, the old House chambers, the old Supreme Courtroom, the crypt where Washington was to be buried (though he is at Mount Vernon) and we even got to sit in and watch some of the House session. It was quite the experience.

Supreme Court Building - The great temple of justice. This was one of my favorite buildings in DC. We watched a small video about how the Supreme Court operates, and then actually went and saw the court room. Most of the building is off limits to the public, but I still enjoyed my time there. It made me very excited to listen to the next round of Congressional Supreme Court Hearings for the new supreme court justice. Sure is gonna be exciting. I enjoyed every moment of the Sotomayor hearings. Truly the swiftest and most sure branch of the government.

All in all, these were days that I thoroughly enjoyed. I could definitely see myself living in the DC area and enjoying it. . . or at least going back to visit. :)


  1. yeah! i remember these places. how fun!

  2. Thanks for the tour and the insightful comments. I had seen some of those attractions, but it has been a long time. One of my most memorable memories was the walking down trip from the top of the Washington Monument! (The year was 1956 in my youth!) Duane Hatch