Sunday, September 2, 2007

Ode to those Past Fallen

On Saturday I was a tourist. I had planned on visiting the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens but got lost on my way there, so I'll now do that some other time. Instead I decided to be a tourist for a day and go visit those monuments I had yet to see, in particualr the Lincoln Memorial and the Tidal Basin. So I set off on a long walk from the metro station to the Lincolm Memorial. This is the monument that is seen from the Washington Memorial, "the pencil" as it's called by locals. This place was very crowded with people but still an amazing site. Lincoln himself was an amazing man and I found it ironic that he's facing the Washington Monument. The reason I found it ironic relates to the history of the Monument. The pencil is two different colors because it was started before the Civil War and then finished after the war. Well when the war commenced the limestone quarry they had used was no longer available and so they had to use a different quarry, thus the different colors. Well I think it's pretty ironic that the man who led this country during one of its most trying times in history stands next to a testment of that fact. President Lincoln is most known for his Gettysburg Speech which was plastered throughout the building. It was an impressive sight.

Then I headed to the Jefferson Memorial. This memorial is also a far walk from any metro station but one I've been wanting to see. It is surrounded by the tidal basin where you can get paddleboats and go along the Potomac. As it was such a beautiful day there were many people out on the boats, although not nearly as busy as the Lincoln Memorial since it was further away from the main National Mall area. I really enjoyed the Jefferson Memorial for several reasons. First, like the Lincoln it has very Romanesque architecture- doric columns, Corinthian doms, archways and sculptures. Secondly, the water. It was so nice to just sit and see the beautiful park surrounding this area, to feel the breeze coming from the water, to be inside the heart of DC yet feel separated from the hustle and bustle of it. I understand why many of the locals like to run or take bike rides around this area. Inside the dome were many of Jefferson's famous writings but the most prominent, and perhaps greatest, is the Declaration of Independence. It was a nice reminder to read it and realize the true genius of the words, the insight he posed into humanity, and his understanding of human rights. It was a spectacular sight to see.

However on my way from Lincoln to Jefferson I visited two other, rather enjoyable, places. The first is the DC World War Memorial. It is a small, single doric pavillion erected from the citizens of DC in remembrance of those who had fought in the World Wars. It is small, and had a slightly neglected feeling to it, as it was tucked away among various bushes and trees. It was hard to see from the major roads, as I saw numerous other people walking right by it, but if you were paying attention then you would notice it. I really liked it. I felt that it had some really geniuness to it. Perhaps because it's only used for concerts or erected specifically by the city's citizens. Perhaps because it reminded of those old pairs of shoes that are so worn they need to be thrown out but you can't bear to get rid off. Whatever it was... I really felt like I had found a jewel. I just sat on the stairs for a few moments listening to the sounds of the forest around it and enjoying the day. It was a nice time.
The other place of noticable significance was the FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) Memorial. This one is on the way to the Jefferson and can be bypassed if you're in a hurry. Well I wasn't so I visited it. I've always been a fan of FDR. He is our only four term president, and helped lead us through two very trying times in our history: the Depression and WWII. He wasn't perfect by any means, I don't condone his adultury or hiding his disability, but I do think he was an extraordinary man. His insights into the nature of the American people, and his view of role we play in society are truly amazing. So I thoroughly enjoyed this place. It was filled with several various types of fountains, which I love. Plus all along the memorial were various quotes. They were all amazing and truly insightful. Two of the ones I like best are shown below.

This one really stuck with me given everything that's going on with the world today and how my generation is being looked to to solve the problems. Hopefully, we can prove FDR right.

I felt this one is particularly important for both human rights of those in the states and aboard but also in terms of public health as well. We must not forget that people are individuals, that they should be treated with respect, love, and kindness. We cannot forget or walk over their cultures, ideas, and beliefs. We need to work with them to help them live.

Therefore, all in all, I had a nice time playing the tourist. I visited those places that everyone sees, and saw some others that are less frequented. It was a truly nice day.

No comments: