Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Washington D.C. Day 9

My last day in D.C., but no pictures.

I visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Holocaust exhibit was three floors of artifacts and video. The eyewitness accounts and all the artifacts hit you in the face. The exhibit The Power of Nazi Propaganda was also quite powerful as you learned about all the parts of the Nazi propaganda machine. Seeing the video of Hitler's speeches showed how he was so convincing.

I also stopped by the National Gallery of Art to see the Allen Ginsberg photograph exhibit. The photographs with his inscriptions gave more insight into his world. It was really interesting and a great combination of words and art.

To wrap up my night I went to the Gala Theatre in Columbia Heights for a screening of "Call + Response" about modern day slavery. For more information go here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Washington D.C. Day 8

Today I visited Arlington National Cemetery. By far the most moving experience I've had in D.C.

1) Seeing the size of the cemetery was overwhelming and considering the number of American patriots, famous by name or not, buried there brings tears to my eyes.

2) The Tomb of the Unknown: I arrived at the monument at 10 a.m. when it was the changing of the guard. Wow. I had no idea that this ritual was *so* precise and formal. I had to learn more when I got home. I discovered that The Old Guard or the 3rd U.S. Army Infantry Regiment guards the monument 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.

From the Army website: "While on duty the sentinel crosses a 63-foot rubber surfaced walkway in exactly 21 steps. He then faces the Tomb for 21 seconds, turns again, and pauses an additional 21 seconds before retracing his steps. The 21 is symbolic of the highest salute according to dignitaries in military and state ceremonies.
"As a gesture against intrusion on their post, the sentinel always bears his weapon away from the Tomb."

3) I also witnessed from a distance the interment of a U.S. Army service person (obviously, not sure if it was a man or a woman). It was also moving to witness the ritual involved here. And when I heard Taps playing, I lost it.

4) The different monuments and memorials:

My Funny Niece & Toilet Paper

My brother sent a message last night:

E.Anne: "Mommy what are you thinking about in your head?"

Charissa, taken aback, turns the question back to E.Anne: "What are you thinking about in your head?"

E.Anne: "I'm thinking about how much we love stuff."

Charissa: "Like what?"

E.Anne: "Like toilet paper."

My brother says, "Of all the things in the world to love...toilet paper?!?!?! I guess so."

Washington D.C. Day 7

Sunday was a lazy day. After a delicious latte from Peregrine Espresso, Shelby and I hit Eastern Market for some shopping. It was a mix of local produce and local artisans, etc. I found some stationery (because I can never resist) and two old maps - one of Michigan and one of Tennessee - to bed used in my guest room.

We pretty much killed the rest of the afternoon out of the sun by watching a movie and eating ice cream. But we ventured out for dinner to Ethiopic Restaurant for Ethiopian food. So delicious. Check them out here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Washington D.C. Day 6

My friend Shelby joined me as a tourist on Saturday. We did more museums: Natural History and American History. We had to see the Hope Diamond at the Natural History Museum and we had to try and see the musical instruments collection at the American History Museum, which was still closed.

I've decided that I've been to so many museums in so many cities that I just need to visit special highlights or exhibits of a museum. I don't need to go through all the dinosaur and mammal exhibits in every single museum. That's why we only went to the Hope Diamond exhibit and hit a few exhibits at the American History museum: the musical instruments and pop culture collections, the Star Spangled Banner exhibit, Apollo Theater and First Ladies exhibits.

And we stopped by the Hirshhorn for another look at the Yves Klein exhibit and to visit the gift shop for a ring I wanted, the Air & Space Museum for another gift shop run and the Museum of the American Indian for lunch in the cafe, which was so delicious with lots of vegetarian options.

We walked through the Botanical Gardens and took a break in the shade of its verandah with a view of the Capitol Building. We walked off more of our lunch as we paid a visit to Pitango Gelato. Mmmmmm.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Washington D.C. Day 5

I only did one thing out in the city but it was the best! I had the chance to attend an exclusive performance of "Thurgood" at the Kennedy Center.

Here's the lobby at the Kennedy Center:

The play was a one-man show featuring Laurence Fishburne. It had a successful run on Broadway in 2008 and is finishing up a 3-week run at the Kennedy Center this weekend. This performance was taped for use by teachers, students and schools. I think they said it would be available to 46,000 schools, something like or maybe I'm way off.

Anyways, the play was tremendous and Fishburne was outstanding as Thurgood Marshall. It was really informative, thought-provoking and inspiring. It makes me want to read about any and all of the Supreme Court justices to see how their journeys led to highest court in the land. It was really powerful.

I also received a lovely compliment. The lady sitting next to me serves as a volunteer at the Kennedy Center. She looked at my outfit and noted that she saw one of the Kennedy ladies recently who wore a similar outfit to mine: white pants, black top and black sandals. I was "looking like a Kennedy." My real name is Jacqueline...I'm just saying.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Washington D.C. Day 4

Today...more museums! Today was art day with time at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the National Portrait Gallery. I was going to do the Art Ventures art walk but there was not a subway stop out that way. So I got frozen yogurt and wandered back home past the Capitol Building, snapping a few more pictures as I went.

I really enjoyed the modern art of Hirshhorn. The Yves Klein exhibit was great. At the National Portrait Gallery, I mainly went to see the American Presidents exhibit. It's amazing how many presidents you forget about, like John Tyler, the "accidental president."

Presidents included below: Andrew Jackson, since I live down the street from his home The Hermitage, Abraham Lincoln cuz he's Abraham Lincoln, Gerald R. Ford because he's from my hometown Grand Rapids, and Richard Nixon because the painting was done by Norman Rockwell, which was unexpected.


Washington D.C. Day 3

Day 3 was pretty low-key. I went to the National Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian. I spent more time there than I anticipated. I love air and I love space.

From there I headed north to Columbia Heights to meet up with my friend Justin from Fuller. He's finishing up his internship with Sojourners. He hosted a screening for the upcoming movie "Countdown to Zero." The movie is about moving the world towards nuclear non-proliferation. It's by the same guys who did "An Inconvenient Truth." It was a bit frightening to consider what could happen but it contained information we need in order to work for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

Some pictures from the day:

One thought from D.C.

I snapped a picture from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking out past the Reflecting Pool towards the Washington Monument. The 1963 March on Washington came to mind. I was moved to think about all the people there (a quarter of a million!). I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this but I had to compare pictures when I got home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Washington D.C. Day 2

Day 2 in Washington D.C. was spent at the National Mall with all the monuments and memorials. I started at the White House and made my way around to the Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Reflecting Pool, Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, FDR Memorial and Jefferson Memorial. It was quite a bit of walking but worth it.

There was a rain shower midway through but I found shelter under a tree by the Reflecting Pool for a while - quite relaxing.