July 4th in Washington DC
This year I was able to be in Washington DC over the July 4th Holiday for a second time. So I am updating this blog with some more information and a few pictures I took. July 4th in Washington DC is something every american should put on their bucket list. On this trip I did make it to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier . If you have any interest on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier then check out my Blog on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I was also lucky enough to visit Omaha Beach the day before the Anniversary of D-DAY. If you have any interest in D-Day, or Omaha beach then check out by Blog Omaha Beach D-Day My Visit and Thoughts.
The National Monuments
Being from Boston, which is a city that celebrates July 4th in a big way, I was not sure if anything would ever top a celebration like the ones I have experienced growing up in Boston. Being in our nations capital during July 4th was simply amazing. One of the first stops I made was to the Lincoln Memorial at night.
Most people do not realize there is a Massachusetts connection the the Lincoln Memorial. I first became aware of this connection when I was visiting the Chesterwood studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Chesterwood was the summer estate and studio of American sculptor Daniel Chester French (April 20, 1850 – October 7, 1931). At the studio there are 3 plaster models of the Lincoln statue. Daniel Chester French was selected in 1914 by the Lincoln Memorial Committee to create a Lincoln statue as part of the memorial to be designed by architect Henry Bacon (1866–1924).
Here is the picture I took on my first trip….
As I am standing inside the Lincoln Memorial and I am looking out onto the Washington Monument this is what I see..
Washington Monument At Night
Here is another perspective on the Washington Monument on this July 4th in Washington DC visit.
A short Walk from the Lincoln Memorial is the Korean War Veteran Memorial.
Korean War Veterans Memorial
In my opinion, the Korean War Veterans Memorial is just as impressive during the day as it is in the night. To quote the www.koreanwarvetsmemorial.org “The 19 stainless steel statues were sculpted by Frank Gaylord of Barre, VT and cast by Tallix Foundries of Beacon, NY. They are approximately seven feet tall and represent an ethnic cross section of America. The advance party has 14 Army, 3 Marine, 1 Navy and 1 Air Force members. The statues stand in patches of Juniper bushes and are separated by polished granite strips, which give a semblance of order and symbolize the rice paddies of Korea. The troops wear ponchos covering their weapons and equipment. The ponchos seem to blow in the cold winds of Korea.”
Here are some pictures I took on each trip.
Here is the Korean War Veterans Memorial during the day….
I did not realize just how difficult the Korean war was. To quote the site. “The memorial commemorates the sacrifices of the 5.8 million Americans who served in the U.S. armed services during the three-year period of the Korean War. The war was one of the most hard fought in our history. During its relatively short duration from June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, 36,574 Americans died in hostile actions in the Korean War theater. Of these, 8,200 are listed as missing in action or lost or buried at sea. In addition 103,284 were wounded during the conflict.”
I started off July 3rd taking the time to see all the national monuments. It was a perfect day to see them. The weather was hot but not too hot. The words “Freedom is not free” still echo in my mind. As Americans we enjoy a level of freedom that is unheard of in a good part of the world. As I walked through the many monuments, The Korean War, World War II Monument to the Vietnam memorial I can still see the words “Freedom is not Free” ring in my head.
The Vietnam Memorial
As I listened the man tell the story of the Vietnam memorial and what had to happened to get it built, I was taken away. As a kid growing up I remember seeing the war on the TV. I remember the body count, something they always talked about on TV. I remember how close my older brother came to going. Back then we had a lottery system, it determined who went and who did not go. This was a war that tore the United States in two. The soldiers went where the president ordered them and yet they were somehow to blame. I have nothing but respect for our military and veterans who served.
The Vietnam Memorial – The Controversy
So when it was decided to build the Vietnam memorial great steps were taken to take controversy out of it. None of the judges were Vietnam Vets. The judges had to do a blind selection.
Great steps were taken to avoid any controversy yet what did we get huge controversy. The judges all settled in the same design. It was by Maya Ying Lin born of Chinese descent. Her parents fled china in 1949 when Mao-Tse-tung took control of China. The idea of a person of Chinese descent designing the Memorial did not go down well with many vets. Even though her design was chosen, it had to be defended. She had to go to congress herself and defend her design to get it built. For more information on the Vietnam Memorial click here.
The names on the Vietnam Memorial are presented in chronological order starting in the middle. So that the last soldier in the war meets the first soldier. It’s in black granite so that you see your own reflection when looking at the wall. I could go on and on. Suffice to say Freedom is not free.
The night I was visiting the it was a bit stormy. I was able to get a picture if the U.S. Capitol at night with some lighting in the background..
July 4th Reading of the Declaration of Independence
On July 4th, we went to the opening ceremony. Which starts with a reading of the Declaration of Independence. It was a perfect way to start my July 4th. The Ceremony took place outside the home of the Declaration of Independence at The National Archives. We then stayed for the parade. What really struck me in the parade was how diverse a group of Citizens we are in the United States. A comment that was made during the presentation was how when you become an American Citizen you are immediately granted the same rights and privileges of every American citizen. Except for being president of the United States, there is no limit. Only a natural born citizen can become president.
We took a stop at the The White house. Our timing was perfect we were there when President Obama and family were returning. We also spent some time in the many National Museums, We ended the day seeing the fireworks they were the best fireworks I have ever seen.
The next day, my friend who serves in the Army gave us a tour of the Pentagon. It was great trip. It made me feel proud to be an American. Yet the words Freedom is not free keeps echoing in my head.
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