Washington’s Memorials

21 May

In the afternoon on our final day in Washington,

we took a walking tour of the monuments and memorials.

While not either of those,

we stopped first to see the south view of the White House.

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Did you know that there isn’t a back and a front to the White House

Just a north and south side.

(Oh and yes, that’s a sharp shooter on the roof.

He was probably watching me take my photo.)

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After looking at the Washington Monument again,

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we walked over to the World War Two Memorial.

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In the warmer months, there is a fountain in the middle of this memorial,

which would make it quite breathtaking.

Clearly, winter isn’t the month to visit Washington,

if you there are there for the spectacular water views.

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Each side of the Memorial

is dedicated to a different region of the war.

This side is dedicated to the Pacific region

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and this side is for the Atlantic region.

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Inside each arch or victory pavilion, there is a bronze sculpture

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depicting four eagles holding a victory wreath.

The eagles obviously represent America.

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Flanking the victory pavilions,

are 56 columns,

one for each of the US states and territories.

One is named on each column.

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Alternating on each of these columns,

are oak and wheat wreaths.

These represent the country’s industrial and agricultural strength,

and highlight that not only were people sent to war

but that those at home were involved in sending much needed resources.

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There are also 4 048 gold stars,

each representing 100 deaths,

which means that more than 400 000 Americans lost their lives in World War 2.

Apparently, families often displayed, in their window,

a white flag with a blue star on it

when their sons went off to fight.

If their son died, they would replace the blue star with a gold star.

Hence the gold stars on the wall.

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Okay, maybe I’m showing my ignorance here,

but I had never heard of the Kilroy drawings.

Have you?

Anyway, the Word War 2 Memorial in Washington has two of them,

tucked away in out of the way places.

Apparently they were put on all sort of things during the Second World War.

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After the World War 2 Memorial,

we visited the Vietnam War Memorial.

It’s a great long wall

etched with all the names of the dead.

More than 58 000 US soldiers lost their life in that war

(compared to Australia’s 500, which is a lot less than I expected).

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The next memorial we visited was the Korean War Memorial.

If you can have a ‘favourite’ war memorial,

this would be mine.

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In a juniper field, in front of a wall,

‘walk’ 19 (stainless steel) soldiers on patrol in Korea,

which based on those rain ponchos must have been a rather wet and muddy place

to fight a war.

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The granite strips in the field represent the rice paddies they trudged through.

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Don’t they look real.

I even think they look tired.

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It’s so life-like that you can almost tell the story of what is happening.

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The mural wall behind the statues contains etched photos.

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A stone’s throw from the Korean Memorial,

(thankfully…as I don’t know if we could have walked much further)

was the Lincoln Memorial.

It was the busiest place out of all of the places we visited in Washington.

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Before walking up the stairs,

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you simply have to turn around and check out the view.

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Admittedly, it would have been much prettier

with some water in that empty pool.

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Part way up the stairs,

everyone stops to take a photo of the spot

where Martin Luther King stood

to deliver his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Luckily we’d studied Civil Rights and Martin Luther King last year

so our boys understood the significance of that spot.

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Then we entered the room where Abraham Lincoln sat

looking out over Washington.

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The room was actually packed full of people

but somehow I got this photo to look like we were the only people there.

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In the alcove to the left of Lincoln is the Gettysburg Address,

which is considered to be one of the most famous speeches in US history.

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And to the right of the statue

is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address

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Of course, being teachers, we had to hunt for the infamous typo in the carving.

Can you spot it?

It’s been corrected but you can still see where they made the mistake

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Leaving old Abe,

(Tom’s still my favourite),

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we headed back down the stairs,

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stopping once more to check out the view.

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We didn’t stop for long though as we had to get back across town

for our Lincoln Assassination Walking Tour.



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