Freedom and Liberty

Freedom and Liberty
I travel in Freedom but sleep in the security of Liberty (not only on the road, but in this amazing country of ours)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Monuments, Helicopter and men on building tops

It's Saturday the 17th and I'm getting ready to head into Washington for the last time. I need to use the balance on my Metro card. This post is about adventures from day before yesterday.

Being an old pro at using the Metro buses and trains, I headed to town to see the Smithsonian. The plan was to go
there and return. Everything went well with public transportation and I came out of the train exit into an area of buildings, but no streets. As I was getting my bearings, I noticed one of the buildings had the Department of Agriculture engraved on and a line of kids waiting to get inside (farmer kids, I guess). I headed off in the direction I had reckoned the Smithsonian was located. Up ahead was a couple of police officers, so just to get confirmation that I was walking in the right direction I stopped and asked them if this was the way to the Smithsonian. Surprisingly, they pointed behind me and said that way. After a little while I came to a street and
Good hot dog
directly across from it was the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. Parked on the curb was a hot dog truck with people in fancy clothes gathered around it. I figured these were workers in the area and they surely knew good local food. So I ordered a dog and some water. I sat on a short marble wall and enjoyed it before going inside.

As soon as I entered the building, it sounded like a giant middle school gym with a million kids on recess. Looking around it was a sea of different colored T-shirts. Each group of kids were wearing different colored T-shirt so they could find the herd to which they belonged. I started wandering around and saw a few interesting things, but was still being interrupted with kids. As I would be looking at an exhibit or reading something, a stampede of kids would come walking fast and it was as if I was a rock in the middle of a stream and kids were flowing by each side of me. I finally found what I was looking for which was the original flag that flew over Fort McHenry at Baltimore. The flag that Francis Scott Key saw still flying on the morning after an intensive shelling by the British in the War of 1812. The flag that prompted him to write the Star Spangled Banner. No pictures were allowed of the display which is located in a dark room. After I finished looking at the flag, I swam through the kids and headed outside.

I had intended to head back to the campground after the Smithsonian but that was when I planned to spend several
hours looking around inside. I exited the building in the direction of the Mall. The Mall is the area that runs from the Lincoln Memorial to the Capitol. In between is the reflecting pool, Washington Monument, World War 2 Memorial and all of them are in a straight line. The Vietnam War Memorial (TheWall) is down near the Lincoln Memorial and I wanted to see it, so I started walking. I figured I had all day to make the trip. The round
trip distance back to the Metro station would be a little over 4 miles. Quite a distance for an overweight retiree, but I money for water and a cell phone for 911, so off I went.

The first monument I came to was the Washington Monument. When it was built, it was the tallest building in the world at 555 feet. At the very top is an aluminum tip with an engraving on the east side that reads, "Praise be to God". Another testament to the founding principle of this country. The line to go inside was about 3 hours long. I passed on that adventure. While I was near the Washington
Monument, three helicopters flew overhead. All three looked like Marine One, the helicopter the President uses. As I was snapping a picture of one of the copters, a couple of older men in suits standing near me said, "they will stand up in a second" and pointed to a building on the side. Sure enough, two guys stood up, then kneeled back down. The two guys near me said, "snipers". I got a picture of the building and if you enlarge it
you can see the guys standing on the roof in the corner. The three helicopters headed to the White House which you can see from where I was standing near the Washington Monument. I guess I was Johnny-on-spot to see it all right then.

Once that excitement was over, I continued walking towards the next monument. It is the World War 2 Memorial. It is
very nice. I took several pictures. One picture is looking
over the edge of the water coming from the reflecting pool in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial. Kind of neat-o, keen-o. After wandering around the Pacific and Atlantic ends, I continued heading to The Wall. I
stopped a few times at some benches in the shade. The weather was cooperating with the temps right around 70 and a nice cool breeze blowing. I couldn't have asked for better weather while I attempted this partial marathon.

I got to the wall and it was everything I thought it would be. It is simple but poignant. Its simplicity is what invokes the
emotions. It is the perfect memorial for the Vietnam War and stands in stark contrast to the much larger and flamboyant World War 2 Memorial I had just left. All along the wall are things left my family and friends of the names on the wall. One that caught
my eye was a poster board cut-out of a baby's footprint. I don't know if it was the child from way back or a recent grandchild of the name on the wall. As you leave the wall area, there is a nice statue of 3 Vietnam era soldiers. The quality is excellent and I took a picture looking from behind them and they are
looking at the wall. It was worth the trip just to see the wall. Well done.

Keeping an eye on the wall

The Wall is near the western end of the Mall, close to the Lincoln Memorial. I didn't attempt to climb the 2,297,569

steps up to the Memorial so I took a few pictures looking at the Memorial and also towards the Washington Monument. I
Notice the Capital off to the left

had to get off of the straight line so the Capitol could be seen and not be blocked by the Washington Monument.

I continued walking. I was given a choice to walk in the sun or the shade. Being a well trained state-worker (retired), I

immediately chose the shade. I had passed the half way point and was heading back. It was all a stroll in the park, literally.
Red Winged Blackbird that checked on me while I rested

I arrived back at the Metro station and boarded the train. It was nice to sit and rest on the trip back to the campground.

It was a good day. Although it wasn't planned, I was glad I took off walking.

Ya'll take care of each other. Cya.


  1. Hard to believe you actually stopped and asked fir directions. Times have changed. Lol. Sounds like you are having a great time. Love the pictures

    1. Actually I wasn't asking for directions, I was looking for them to approve of the direction I was going. They fooled me and pointed behind me.

  2. Sounds like you had an exciting day with helicopters and men on buildings! I love your exaggeration of partial marathon and 2, 297, 569 steps! :)

  3. I didn't really count the number of steps. I roughly estimated them. :)