After seeing the Library of Congress, we made our way, underground, to the Capitol Building. We wondered around a bit on our own, after deciding to skip the tour. The lines were very long and there was a lot more we wanted to see that day. These photos are of the original plaster cast of the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol Building. Isn't she lovely?
After the Capitol Building, we spent some time at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Mostly, we went there for Jack. There was so much to see there!
It is fantastic that there is no admission fee for all these places we visited.
Next, we walked over to the National Archives. WOW! One place I think every American should visit! We got to see the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. It was exciting just to be in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. I know, it's geeky, but I loved it! G was just as excited as I was. Obviously, no photos are allowed. It was interesting because you see the documents all the time in books and on television. In person, the ink is faded so that it is nearly illegible. Unfortunately, the documents were stored poorly for a very long time, which caused some damage. There is so much more to see at the National Archives. They even have a copy of the Magna Carta. Did you know that every letter, ever written to a president, is kept on file there?
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History was very crowded. If you plan to visit, you will need three hours at minimum to see it. We got there a bit late in the day and had to move through quickly to see it all before closing time.
Another beautiful building.
On our walk to the White House, we found this Boy Scout Commemorative Memorial in the park.
Here we are at the White House. We knew before our visit that we would not be able to take a tour. This is yet another place that you must reserve tickets well in advance of your visit. So, we just enjoyed it from the outside, surrounded by men with guns. Did I mention being surrounded by men with large guns at the Statue of Liberty? I told G, I'm not sure how I should feel at seeing all the guns. Scared or safe? Safe is not my first instinct. For sure a bit uneasy.
If you look very closely, you can see the armed guard keeping watch on the roof. I know that when we visited the White House back in 1998, there were not so many trees and shrubbery outside. You could see it clearly. Now it is very hidden behind everything. I noticed that about a lot of monuments and government buildings. I believe it to be intentional. I think in a few years, the public won't be able to see the White House from the street any longer. I also know for a fact that we drove down Pennsylvania Ave. Now it is blocked off from any traffic at all. A lot of D.C feels like a police state. I don't remember that at all from our previous visit. Too bad we let the terrorists win and live in constant fear.
We had a full and memorable first day in Washington! Loved it!