Thomas Jefferson was only 33 years old when he became the principal author of the declaration of independence. That along with being the third president of the United States makes for a pretty impressive resume. Pictured here is the Jefferson Memorial in Washington D.C. Beautifully situated at the edge the tidal basin and surrounded by cherry blossom trees which bloom to life each April, this memorial which is housed in a pantheon like domed structure is not a sight to be missed. The walls contain excerpts of Jefferson's most notable writings including an one from the declaration of independence.
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Entries in National Mall (12)
When Kathy and I visited Washington D.C. in October of last year, one of the things we wanted to see was the Dr. Martin Luther King National Memorial which at the time, had been built but not yet dedicated. The sculpture of Dr. King faces the Tidal Basin. He seems to be gazing directly at the Jefferson Memorial which is quite fitting. The black stone wall that surrounds the memorial has been etched with famous writings of the slain civil rights leader. Kathy asked one of the visitor guides if we could use our tripods - fully expecting them to say no but the answer we got was "sure, go ahead". Wow! This must be the only memorial in Washington that allows tripods.
When the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in 1922 it was seen as a fitting tribute to one of our greatest presidents. Today, memories of Marian Anderson and Martin Luther King have elevated this place into something higher. Whenever I visit, I can't help but reflect on what freedom in America means and on the great sacrifices that others have made to preserve that freedom.
In 1903 Orville and Wilbur Wright flipped a coin to decide who would attempt the first controlled, powered flight in a heavier-than-air aircraft which they themselves had designed. Orville, a 32 year old bicycle mechanic won the coin toss.
24 years after their success, Charles Lindbergh flew alone from New York to Paris in the high wing monoplane the "Spirit of St. Louis”. You can see it hanging from the ceiling in this image on the left side. 150,000 cheering Parisians greeted him when he landed at Le Bourget. He was 25 years old.
42 years later he personally witnessed the launch of the giant Apollo 11 moon rocket topped by the Command Module "Columbia" which you can see in the foreground. The Columbia carried Michael Collins, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Neil Armstrong to the Moon. And it was there on July 20, 1969 during the final moments before the landing when Neil had to take manual control of the Lunar Module "Eagle" because their targeting computer was guiding them to a landing spot covered with car size boulders. He successfully landed the Eagle with six seconds of fuel remaining. He was 39 years old.
Over 66 years these men in their twenties and thirties made world history as did everyone who supported their endeavors. Not just for the United States but for all mankind. It's just amazing to me that at one time all three historic flying machines resided in the Milestones of Flight Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. and anyone could just walk in and see them all at once.
When I am lucky enough to visit and I see kids and even adults just pass through this gallery and not really give any of the exhibits here a second glance, I wonder if they have any idea how historic these artifacts are and how they changed our world so profoundly.
This image is fairly unique. You might notice there are no people in it. This is very rare since the National Air and Space is the most visited museum in the world. Manny and I had just seen a few IMAX movies in the museum. We figured that by the time the last film had concluded, the museum would be closed. We planned to linger behind for a few minutes to let the crowd exit the building so I could get this and a few other shots before the security guards kicked us out (which they politely did).
(Note: The Wright Brother's 1903 flyer is now located in its own gallery and is displayed at floor level so guests can get a better look at it.)
The first time I visited the Lincoln Memorial I remember thinking it was a very beautiful place and wonderfully sited. Lincoln's Statue gazes over the heads of visitors and seems to be looking at the wonders of the National Mall spread out before him. These include the long reflecting pool, World War II Memorial, Washington Monument and the United States Capital Building. Although the statue evokes a strong feeling of his resolve to preserve the Union, it also feels somewhat sad. Lincoln is not depicted in glory but instead he seems serene and reflective.
They fought a war to help people they had never met and were largely forgotten when they returned home. This is the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C.
It was raining fairly hard when I took this shot. Manny was holding an umbrella over me and the camera but some water still got on the lens.
It was early morning and the rain had slowed down a bit by the time Manny and I arrived at the statue of the three Vietnam soldiers in Washington DC. Located just across from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, they seem to have emerged from the trees and have paused to stare at the black wall of names. They are extremely realistic and detailed. The overall feeling there was one of sadness.
Can you tell we got caught in the rain? It really felt good to be able to take My 12 year old nephew Manny to Washington D.C. It was his first time there, first time leaving the state of California, first time flying in an airplane and the first time he has ever been so far away from his immediate family. He's a great kid and so easy to travel with. He really got into HDR photography. In fact, some of his photography sold while we were in Washington. He has a great personality and is really funny. Also does some killer Austin Powers / Doctor Evil impersonations