Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fredericksburg, Virginia & Maryland & Washington, D.C.

Monday, April 11th - Monday, April 18th

Monday we got settled in at Wilderness Presidential RV Resort near Fredericksburg and then went for a drive around the Wilderness Battlefield right next to our campground.

Tuesday we went to Montpelier, home of James and Dolley Madison, 80 miles from Washington, D.C.  The original home was built by his father in 1756 and he added the second floor, wings and porticoes in 1794 when he married Dolley.  His friend, Thomas Jefferson, for whom he served as Secretary of State, had invented a nail making machine at his nearby home, Monticello.  He purchased nails, glass and building materials from him.  In the 1820s the family had 150 slaves who made bricks, nails and hardware, cut laths, planed boards, cleaned and gardened.  Their labor made Montpelier a beautiful place that epitomized the Virginia gentry and its genteel way of life.

View from the front portico of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The huge grounds are covered with fenced horse pastures for the horses kept by the DuPont family after they purchased the property in 1901.  Their son, Willie, became the architect of 24 of the finest race courses for horses in the world.  Their daughter, Marion DuPont Scott married the actor Randolph Scott and was a renowned horsewoman.  She bought Battleship sired by Man O' War, considered America's greatest race horse.  In 1934 Battleship won the American Grand National at Belmont Park.  In 1938 he became the first American bred and owned winner of Britain's greatest steeple chase event at Aintree.

Statue of James and Dolley in the back yard.

The home had 22 rooms with two separate kitchens and two main living quarters.  His mother lived separately in the right half until her death, which I'm sure made for better relations between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law.  The estate was originally a grant of 10,000 acres to his grandfather, Ambrose Madison.

Walking the grounds, this area was marked as the slave cemetery with no markers or records of who or how many might be buried here.  It almost had a more austere or solemn feel about it than one with headstones and verses.

This is the family cemetery with grandfather Ambrose being the first person buried here along with children, grandchildren and assorted nieces and nephews.  There were originally no carved headstones present.  The family relied on oral tradition to know who was buried where and the president saw no reason to differentiate himself when he died in 1836.  In 1857 a group of local citizens placed the tall obelisk to mark President Madison's grave.  Dolley died in Washington, D.C. in 1849 and was given the biggest funeral ever up to that time due to her popularity in social and political circles.  She was moved here in 1858 by a nephew and the small obelisk marks her grave next to the president.  There are a total of 100 graves here, but only 79 have been identified.  Only 31 are marked with stones.  63 are families of the president's siblings.  The final Madison buried here was the third great-granddaughter of Ambrose in 1938.

There is a nice little museum in the visitor center with a couple rooms telling about the DuPont family while they lived here and a couple rooms made up like this to show what the house looked like when they lived here.  The home has now been restored to Madison's time.

Walking around the grounds to the formal gardens that Mrs. DuPont had restored while she lived here.

In the gardens looking back at the home.

This is just the central path going down several levels to give you some idea how huge the garden was with walking paths and statues and benches and all sorts of different themed flower beds all surrounded by a solid brick fence.  In Madison's final years the plantation was no longer profitable enough and became a heavy financial burden for Dolley who tried to make ends meet by selling his memoirs and scholarly writings.  She eventually moved back to Washington, D.C. where she enjoyed the social and political circles.  Madison introduced the Bill of Rights in 1789 to the House of Representatives in Federal Hall in New York City, ending objections to the constitution and making it the nation's founding charter.  In 1992 another of his amendments finally won approval and became the 27th amendment to the constitution guaranteeing that any pay raise voted on by Congress could not be for themselves, but had to wait until after the next election to go into effect.  It only took a little over 200 years to get enough states to ratify it to make it part of our constitution, and it all got jump started by a college kid writing a term paper defending it, on which he only got a "C" grade.  I guess sometimes one person can make a difference.  We stopped in the nearby little town of Orange and had excellent burgers at Wise Guys.

Wednesday we went to the Chancellorsville Battlefield visitor center about three blocks from our campground.  On the wall in the small museum there are names of 16,000 men who died in battlefields around Fredericksburg in three days of fighting at Fredericksburg, five days at Chancellorsville, two days at Wilderness, 13 days at Spotsylvania Court House.  59 generals in both armies were lost in two weeks at Wilderness and Spotsylvania.  Major General John Sedgwick, commander of the Union 6th Corp, was shot by a sharpshooter just as he reassured those around him saying, "They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."  He was the highest ranking Union officer killed in the Civil War.  

These pressed flowers are from a funeral in Fredericksburg in 1864.  During furious fighting around Chancellor House, 20 year old Private John E. Chase clung unscathed to the guns of the 5th Maine Battery as his comrades around him fell or fled.  Two months later in Gettysburg a shell burst four feet from him.  Suffering 48 wounds, including a punctured lung, loss of an eye and his right arm, he was left for dead in a wagon of corpses.  He saved himself by calling out to the driver.  He earned the medal of honor.  No soldier was known to have suffered and survived more wounds.  

This monument for Stonewall Jackson is behind the visitor center and about 100 feet from the original boulder that marks where he fell from his horse after being mistakenly shot in the dark by his own troops.  Two bullets crashed into his left arm and a third into his right hand.  His arm was amputated at a nearby farm and he died a few days later.  5,000 people gathered here for the dedication in 1888, including former Confederate Cavalry General, Governor Fitzhugh Lee, whose vigilant scouting contributed to Jackson's success at Chancellorsville. 

Little forget-me-nots were growing all around the boulder in the woods where he fell, and he surely has not been forgotten.

Next we drove by the site of George Washington's boyhood home on the Rappahannock River, Ferry Farm, where they are just starting to build a replica of his original home there.  Then we drove about a mile down the river to see Chatham overlooking the city of Fredericksburg across the river.  Chatham is a 180' long, brick manor built by slaves in 1768 named for Englishman William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, and was visited by Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Clara Barton and Walt Whitman.  William and Ann Randolph Fitzhugh bought it in 1777.  Fitzhugh wrote Jefferson about buying a horse.  Jefferson's boyhood guardian, Colonel Peter Randolph, was Fitzhugh's father-in-law.  The Fitzhugh's granddaughter later married Robert E. Lee.  Major Churchill Jones bought it in 1806 and he left it to his brother William in 1822.  He married twice having one daughter from each marriage, 49 years apart!  Betty, the youngest, married James Horace Lacy and they owned the 1,300 acre plantation during the Civil War.  They had over 100 slaves and supported secession.  The war devastated Chatham and his fortune.  The Union used it as a hospital, headquarters and even a stable.  It is now a National Park Headquarters with a little museum.

According to family tradition this chamber chair was used by Washington, Lafayette, Madison, Monroe, Washington Irving and Robert E. Lee.  The cushion lifts up and there is a hole cut in the center with a chamber pot attached underneath.  That's got to be the most comfortable toilet anyone has ever sat on!

This is the view from the front yard of the Rappahannock River with Fredericksburg on the other side.

Looking back at the house with cannons mounted and ready behind the wall.  The Army of the Potomac spent the winter of 1862-63 here.

This is a replica section of the temporary pontoon bridge built by General Burnside's engineers to get his troops across the river during the night for an attack at Fredericksburg.  More than 30,000 troops crossed the two bridges below Chatham.  Joe Hooker, new Union commander in spring of 1863, took his army upstream and across to defeat at Chancellorsville.  Lee made the next move which resulted in Gettysburg.

This is the gardens behind Chatham.

Then John dropped me off so I could tour Kenmore Plantation, home of Elizabeth "Betty" (George Washington's sister) and Fielding Lewis.  On Dec. 11, 1862 Confederate sharpshooters were stationed in the upper floor of Kenmore facing across the river toward Chatham where the Union were camped for the winter.  Captured by evening the home had suffered cannon fire from both sides, some of which is still visible.  By Dec. 14th there were nearly 18,000 casualties, half falling wounded or dead within sight of Kenmore.  The Battle of the Wilderness took place in May of 1864 about 20 miles west.  Grant opened a depot for supplies at Fredericksburg and thousands of wounded soldiers were brought here, occupying nearly every large building, including Kenmore.

Gardens behind the mansion enclosed by a brick wall.  The first wife of Fielding Lewis was Catherine Washington, cousin to George and Betty.  Three months after she died, he married Betty, her first cousin and his second cousin.  They completed Kenmore in 1776 and raised 5 of their 7 children there.  Their son, Lawrence, married Eleanor Park Custis, adopted granddaughter of George and Martha Washington.  Their son, Robert, was George's private secretary until 1791 when he married.  George held the fixed opinion that a married secretary was no longer private.  A great-granddaughter of theirs and great-grandniece to George and Martha, met and married a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte in Florida.  One time Crown Prince of Naples, he was the mayor of Tallahassee.  There's the connection between French Royalty and the Washington family!

Looking back at the house from the gardens, with replicas of the detached kitchen on one side and laundry building on the other side.  The house was the only building on the plantation of 1,300 acres to survive.  It now sits on 3 acres in the middle of town.  During the Revolutionary War Fielding was a successful merchant who owned several ships.  Fredericksburg became the main supply depot for Virginia's military efforts.  He raised two companies of men from Spotsylvania County and oversaw all aspects of procurement and distribution of supplies.  He eventually supervised the naval defense of the Rappahannock River and personally funded a privateering effort.  He established the Fredericksburg Gunnery and eventually funded it almost entirely with his own money.  As supplies became scarce he poured every cent he had and more into his duties.  He received letters from his brother-in-law, George, about the plight of his starving troops.  The stress eventually claimed his health, as well as his fortune, and he died a few months after the war.

In the median in front of Kenmore is a statue of their family doctor, friend and local apothecary, Hugh Mercer.  He was a hero in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War in which he became a Brigadier General and was mistaken for George Washington.  When he refused to surrender, the British beat him and ran him through with their bayonets.  He died a couple days later.    Fort Mercer on the Delaware River is named for him.  A few steps down the street is a monument honoring Thomas Jefferson for writing the Statute of Religious Freedom.  Across the street from that, this monument marks the grave of George's mother, Mary Washington, next to a small family cemetery for the Gordon family who lived at Kenmore from 1819 to 1859.  We stopped at a Japanese buffet on the way home.  I might have to buy some elastic waist pants if this trend continues.

Thursday we took a trolley tour around Fredericksburg and had a nice lunch downtown, shrimp and corn chowder with chicken and andouille pasta.  Then we did a little exploring on our own.  This monument is to honor Richard Rowland Kirkland from South Carolina, who at risk to his own life, brought water to the wounded of both armies on the battlefield during the Battle of Fredericksburg.  Men on both sides called him the Angel of Marye's Heights. 

Sunken Road from where the Union troops were trying to find a way up the hill to Marye Heights where the Rebs were waiting for them.  The small white home along the rock wall still has bullet holes all over inside and out.

Looking back down the hill at that bullet ridden home along the Sunken Road.

Willis Hill Cemetery is a family cemetery right next to the National Cemetery (below).  It was virtually destroyed by fire from both sides during the battle here for Marye Heights, but later repaired.  It is on the top of the ridge of Marye Heights where Confederate General James Longstreet had his headquarters in Brompton Mansion built by Lawrence Marye in 1838.  The Rebs cared for their wounded and fired on the Yankees below from behind the cemetery wall.

Fredericksburg National Cemetery.  There is also a Confederate Cemetery in town.

Fredericksburg has been called the vortex of the Civil War with four major battles in the area resulting in approximately 100,000 casualties within 20 miles of town.  There is a 100 mile trail you can drive that follows all of the monuments for the Union and Confederate soldiers in the battles over that 18 month period in 1863 and 1864.

From the Sunken Road below looking back up the hill at the cemetery.  It gives you a pretty good idea why the Confederate troops were able to hide behind cemetery walls and pick off the Yankees as they tried to charge up the hill.

Friday John dropped me off so I could tour the home George bought for his mother, when she was getting too old to stay out at Ferry Farm by herself anymore.  It was very small to start with, but George added a parlor and a second story, so there would be a bedroom for him when he came to visit.  A later family that owned it added still more onto it.  What looks like a garage in the rear was actually a detached kitchen with upstairs sleeping quarters for her two female slaves.  Her male slave bunked in with her daughter Betty's slaves.

This is the back yard and gardens.  The white archway in the rear led to a path to her daughter Betty's house, Kenmore, just a couple blocks walk.  We had lunch at Noodles, yum, yum, and went to the Helen Mirren movie, Eye in the Sky, very good.  Stopped at Walmart and headed home.

Saturday we drove to D.C. to tour the Holocaust Museum.  No words are really adequate, but this is a very sobering place.  This particular room was four stories high covered with pictures of Jewish people all from one small village who were all killed by the Nazis, virtually wiping out the entire village.

The caption under this said, "We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses.  We are shoes from grandchildren and grandparents, from Prague, Paris and Amsterdam.  And because we are only made of fabric and leather, and not of blood and flesh, each one of us avoided the Hellfire."  These shoes were found at a camp in Poland liberated by Soviet troops in July of 1944.  Along with their clothes and other belongings, taken before they were gassed, this wholesale theft generated thousands of freight car loads of stolen goods.  Some of the prisoners in the camps were given the task of sorting these freight loads of stuff, so it could be redistributed.

Their heads were shaved, sometimes before they were gassed and sometimes afterward.  The hair was sold cheaply to private firms and used to make felt slippers, bumpers for boats and stuffing for mattresses.  At liberation Soviet troops found over 15,000 pounds of human hair at Auchwitz in bales averaging 40 pounds each.

Photos of survivors in Greece taken in 1990 showing their number tattoos.  At first the SS forced victims to dig their own graves at the killing fields.  As early as 1942 they were ordering systematic exhumation and incineration of hundreds of thousands of bodies in mass graves to remove traces of their crime.  In 1943 they razed some of the camps to eliminate traces.  The rubble of one was discovered in 1986 along with personal objects of some of the victims.  After 1942 they had 4 gas chambers and crematoriums at Auchwitz and Birkenau.  Each could kill and incinerate 1,000 victims per day.

Only Denmark resisted and saved 9 out of 10 of their Jews.   They used this boat to ferry Jews a dozen or so at a time to neutral Sweden.  Most non-Jews in German occupied Europe neither aided nor hindered Nazi genocide.  Norway and Belgium saved 1 out of 2, The Netherlands 1 out of 4, Lithuania and Poland less than 2 in 10.

In 1953 the Israeli Parliament directed a Remembrance Authority to establish a memorial to the "Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to save Jews" during the Holocaust.  There are several walls like this in the museum inscribed with the names (and some of their stories) of over 10,000 persons that have been so honored through 1991, no way reflecting the actual proportion of people in each country who helped to save Jews.  During the 12 year Nazi rule 42,000 ghetto camps were established as a rounding up point for shipment to the many concentration camps, killing centers and other places of incarceration.  Six million Jews and millions of others with disabilities, political opponents, homosexuals, Gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, Poles, Soviet POWs and more were systematically rounded up and killed.  We always say "Never Again", but then the Khmer Rouge was responsible for the deaths of nearly two million Cambodians in four years (1/4 of the nation's population) and then there was Rwanda and now we have Syria and who knows how many others.  But, once again, we can't be bothered to let the refugees into our country or our states or our communities.  Sad.

It was good to get out of that place and go for a walk in the fresh air.  The Washington Mall was only a couple blocks from the museum, so we set out to see the sights.

These people were seeing the sights the easy way, but it couldn't have been too easy for the driver towing a family of four.

Wisteria vine growing around one of the huge Smithsonian museums.

View of the Capitol with lots of scaffolding around both it and the huge statues across the water.  There must be lots of funding available this year because there is lots of restoration work going on.  Over 1,000 cracks have developed in the cast iron on the Capitol.  The last restoration was in 1960 and repairs began in 2013 to stop deterioration.  The work requires extensive scaffolding outside the dome and a safety net inside the rotunda.

George Washington selected the design for the Capitol, modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, in 1793.  The north and south wings were added in the 1850s.  The dome was constructed in 1855 and the Statue of Freedom installed on top in 1865.  The bronze Statue of Freedom has a head dress with eagle and feathers, holds a sheathed sword, the striped shield of the U.S. and a wreath for victory.  We toured the Capitol building when we were here in 1989.

This is taken from the back side of the Capitol toward the Supreme Court Building which is hidden by the trees.

Just south of the Supreme Court and kitty corner from the Capitol is the Library of Congress.

Side view of the Capitol with tulips.

Side view from across the street.

Glass dome of the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory, kitty corner from the front side of the Capitol.  It is free to go through and was designed for the U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876.  It was relocated here in 1932.

Across the street from the Botanical Gardens.

Behind the Botanical Gardens.

Built from 1879 to 1881, this was the first building designed for the National Museum, as the Smithsonian's first museum was known.  Its first use was for President James Garfield's Inaugural Ball in 1881.  It was built to meet the need for space for the rapidly increasing collections, including boxcar loads from the 1876 Expo.  Collections are moved to new museums as they are built.  A British scientist named John Smithson died in 1829 leaving his fortune to his nephew who died childless in 1835.  The estate then passed to the United States according to Smithson's will, to found under his name, in Washington, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.  Congress accepted and Andrew Jackson dispatched an American diplomat named Richard Rush to England to collect the bequest.  He returned in 1838 with 105 sacks containing 104,960 gold sovereigns, about $500,000 at the time, equivalent to over $11 million in 2015.  Eight years of Congressional haggling followed while it was invested in bonds issued by the state of Arkansas, which defaulted.  Ex-President John Quincy Adams persuaded Congress to restore the funds with interest.  In 1846 President James K. Polk signed legislation that established the Smithsonian Institution as a trust with a Board of Regents.  It is supported by membership dues, donations, government support and retail, concession and licensing revenues.  There are 19 museums, 9 research centers and the zoo mostly in the D.C area, 11 right on the Mall.  It is affiliated with 170 other museums in 39 states, Panama and Puerto Rico.  It has 30 million annual visitors with no charge.  It is called the Nation's Attic with a collection of over 138 million items.

If you get hungry, no worries.  There are about 30 or 40 food trucks parked all around the Mall.  You can get Chinese, Mexican, Lebanese, French, German, Italian, Greek, you name it.  And if you just want the old standby, they even have a little McDonalds truck.  I had a Schwarma and John had a Philly cheese steak.

We sat in the park near the Washington Monument as we ate our sandwiches.

View back toward the Capitol and the food trucks.

Turning around from the Washington Monument, our view of the Lincoln Memorial with the new WWII Memorial in the foreground.

A close-up view of the WWII Memorial.  It's so big and spread out that it's impossible to get it in one picture.  It is really impressive.

This is a close-up view with the Pacific entrance on the left side of the plaza,

And this is the right side with the Atlantic entrance.  There are 50 columns with one state engraved on each.

Looking back with the Capitol in the far distance.

The sun is setting and it's time to go home.  We'll have to come back another day to finish up here.

Sunday we came back to finish hiking around the sights in D.C.  This is the back side of the White House.

There was a guard on a bike here and several walking on the grounds near the First Lady's vegetable garden.  A big stone marker sits in the grass just in front of him (just outside the picture) that is the point for measuring distances from Washington of all the major highways.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building right next door is where people like the Vice-President have offices.  Walking around this building we will come to the front of the White House.

This is Andrew Jackson in the center of Lafayette Park across the street from the White House.

There are four statues like this, one on each corner, in Lafayette Park of foreign heroes from the American Revolution whose involvement was crucial in securing victory.  This one is Major General Marquis de Lafayette and his Aides.  The others are Major General Comte de Rochambeau, Major General Von Steuben from Prussia and Brigadier General Kosciuszko from Poland.  

View of White House from Lafayette Square.  It was originally connected to the White House lawn and was called President's Park.  In 1804 President Jefferson had Pennsylvania Avenue cut through it.  It has been used as a race track, a graveyard, a zoo, a slave market, an encampment for soldiers in the War of 1812 and for many political protests and celebrations.  Most famously, on Feb. 27, 1859 Representative Daniel Sickles from New York killed Philip Barton Key II here.  Sickles was a serial adulterer who many times accused his much younger wife of the same, but was each time satisfied with her denials.  Then he received a poison pen letter.  He accused her again and she confessed.  He spotted Key in the street outside waiting to rendezvous with his wife.  The congressman went out and confronted Key who ran across to the park, where Sickles shot the unarmed man several times.  It was the first time temporary insanity was used as a defense in the U.S.  Key was U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, son of Francis Scott Key and nephew of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.  He was reputed to be the handsomest man in Washington, a widower with three children and known to be flirtatious with the ladies.  It was one of the most controversial trials of the 19th century and the newspapers reported it as a crime of passion and declared Sickles a hero for saving the women from Key.  He was acquitted and one of his attorneys, Edwin Stanton, went on to become Secretary of War under Lincoln.  As Paul Harvey would say, now you know the rest of the story.  

The White House is the oldest public building in D.C.  Here every president, except Washington, has conducted the business of the nation.  There are guards in the guard house at the entrance drive, several police walking about and patrol cars cruising through the crowd of pedestrians in the blocked off street at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Aww, baby geese on our way over to the Lincoln Memorial.

Maintaining the union of the states was at the heart of Lincoln's purpose and is symbolized by the 36 columns for the 36 states that composed the United States in his lifetime.  By the time it was designed in 1959 there were 48 states, the names of which are all engraved around the attic frieze.

There was a band giving a performance as we walked up and they were filming it.

I later found out from one of the men in the band that they were Policia Roma.  He couldn't speak English, but we managed to communicate a little bit anyway.  Police Band from Rome.

There were lots of Red Hat Ladies in the crowd today.

View from the back side of the monument of the Potomac Bridge and the Robert E. Lee House Memorial at the top of the hill at Arlington Cemetery.

Coming back around to the front.

Just a few short steps from Lincoln, the Vietnam Memorial, a polished black granite V-shaped slab seemingly rising from the ground with over 58,000 names of those killed or M.I.A. , is like a wound in the earth that is slowly healing.  Upon the hill overlooking it is a newer statue called The Three Servicemen, one marine, two army, one Caucasian, one Hispanic and one African-American, all appearing to be studying the wall.

When I was standing on the hill, I watched an old white-haired lady who appeared to be well into her 80s, if not 90, come down the walking path carrying a big aluminum step ladder.  She ducked under the chain with it and carried it down to the wall.  I thought she was going to climb up on it to make a pencil etching of a name, but she had just brought it so others could use it if the name they were searching for was too high on the wall for them to see, touch or make an etching.  I noticed she was wearing a lanyard around her neck and realized she must be a volunteer.

The year 1975, when the war ended for us, is in the bottom corner and at the top of the panel that meets it is the year 1959, when the war started for us.

Also nearby, along the top of the hill, is the Vietnam Women's Memorial, the first memorial in the nation's capitol to honor the military service of women.  It completes the tribute to the veterans of Vietnam.  The circle of healing begins at the Three Servicemen statue.  The names of seven Army nurses and one Air Force nurse appear on the wall.  Eight trees around this memorial mark their sacrifice.  265,000 American women served during the Vietnam era from 1956 to 1975 and over 11,000 saw duty in Vietnam.  The majority were nurses and tended to over 300,000 from 1964 to 1973 in very difficult conditions.

Just a short walk from there is the Korean War Memorial that seems so real with the soldiers trudging through the underbrush.  There are figures etched in the wall that blend with the figures of the reflections of the soldiers and others who are walking by.

There is also a fountain and reflecting pool.  The remembered are:  U.S. wounded 103,284, dead 54,246, captured 7,140, missing 8,177 and U.N. wounded 1,064,453, dead 628,833, captured 92,970, missing 470,267.  As Franklin Roosevelt said, "More than an end to war, we need an end to the beginning of war."

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, "Cut out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope".  I thought this was a very impressive design and statement.  There was a long wall behind it with with a dozen or so quotes of his.  "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."  "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

The vast FDR Memorial is a connecting chain of four large, beautiful and peaceful plazas with waterfalls in each one and rivers of water running from one to the next tying them all together like a long, meandering path, bordered by walls of red South Dakota granite covering 7.5 acres.  The four outdoor rooms symbolize his four terms in office and the engraved quotes along the way take you through the story of the president and the country in chronological order.  It includes a statue of him and one of Eleanor, who was the first U.S. delegate to the United Nations, and a line of figures waiting in the bread line during the depression.  "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."  "I never forget that I live in a house owned by the American people and that I have been given their trust."

"Among American citizens there should be no forgotten men and no forgotten races."  "We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens whatever their background.  We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization."  "In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice... the path of faith, the path of hope and the path of love toward our fellow man."

"I have seen war.  I have seen war on land and sea.  I have seen blood running from the wounded.  I have seen the dead in the mud.  I have seen cities destroyed.  I have seen children starving.  I have seen the agony of mothers and fathers.  I hate war."  "The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man. or one party, or one nation... It must be a peace that rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world."  "Unless the peace that follows recognizes that the whole world is one neighborhood and does justice to the whole human race, the germs of another world war will remain a constant threat to mankind."  "We have faith that future generations will know that here in the middle of the 20th century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite and produce and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war."

This 3,800 pound 17th century Japanese pagoda was a gift to the Nation's Capitol in 1957 from Mayor Ryozo Hiranuma of Yokohama, Japan.  It sits among the flowering Japanese cherry trees around the tidal basin that Japan donated in 1912.  The pagoda originated in India as stupas, or burial tombs, which represented birth, creation and the center of the universe.  Buddhism transformed the stupa into the more spiritual pagoda found atop mountains or along ancient roads as a symbol of reverence for the natural elements. 

We walked around the tidal basin as we looked at all the memorials, but the Japanese cherry trees were all done blooming.  However, there were lots of these wonderful American cherry trees scattered throughout the surrounding parks and the Mall.

In full glorious bloom!  Really beautiful.

Looking across the tidal basin at the Jefferson Memorial.

Passing the George Mason Memorial on our way to Jefferson's.  Jefferson described him as the wisest man of his generation.  George Washington regarded him as his mentor.  He devoted himself and his fortune to achieving American Independence, despite being a widower with nine children.  He helped draft the Fairfax Resolves that recommended a Continental Congress.  In 1776 he wrote Virginia's Declaration of Rights that inspired the American Declaration of Independence and France's 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and the United Nation's 1954 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  In 1887 he led the fight at the Constitutional Convention, refusing to join the signing ceremony, citing their failure to forbid importation of slaves or to include the guarantee of individual human rights.  Three years later, after the adoption of the Bill of Rights, he finally signed.  April 9, 2002 he was recognized as a champion of human rights and individual liberty.  His memorial is not very impressive and could use a little sprucing up.

John heading up the steps of the Jefferson Memorial.

Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, second vice-president and third president.

Several of his speeches engraved on the walls around him, just like the Lincoln Memorial.

Looking out at the tidal basin where lots of folks are having fun in the rented paddle boats and a group of bikers are taking a break.

On our way back to the car we did a quick cruise through the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  This bike is one of only five known to exist that were manufactured by the Wright Brothers.  This St. Clair model built in 1898 sold for $42.50, less than the Van Cleve model.  The bicycle craze in America began in 1887 with the introduction of the safety bicycle from England.  With two wheels of equal size, it was much easier to ride than the traditional high wheel bike.  At the height of the bicycle boom in the 1890s over 300 companies were producing over a million bikes per year.

We left here on Monday and moved to a campground near Colonial Beach, Virginia for a week, spending some time in Annapolis, Maryland.  More about that next time.  Then we moved to Battlefield Resort at Gettysburg where we are now.  We will be leaving here on Monday for Philadelphia.


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