This week is the RWA National Conference, this year held in Washington DC. Luckily, I’ve been able to visit our Nation’s capital several other times. It’s a wonderful place to visit and to have a history lesson, and I’d like to tell you about some of my favorite sites.
There are no Revolutionary War memorials in Washington DC as the city wasn’t founded until July 16, 1790. The new Constitution called for a national capital but didn’t specify a place. Working our a compromise between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson the southern sitewas chosen (to placate the southern states) on the agreement that the federal government would assume the war debt carried by the states (to placate the northern states). The first talks of this compromise was at a dinner hosted by George Washington, who chose the actual site.
There is, of course, the Washington Monument, but the best place to learn about George is to visit Mt.Vernon which is only a few miles outside of Washington. I love Mt. Vernon, and by visiting you get a better feeling of George Washington, the man, not the cardboard hero that Parson Weems history made him seem.
Another early president is represented by the Jefferson Memorial. It’s beautiful and elegant (as Jefferson would have liked) sitting by itself on the Tidal Basin. And I’m fond of it because my son got married on the west lawn of the memorial just this last March.
Several sites are devoted to the American Civil War. Most recognizable is the Lincoln memorial with the larger than life statue of Abraham Lincoln. Since I was born in Illinois, Lincoln has always been part of my personal history.
And while some don’t realize it, Arlington National Cemetery is on the grounds of Arlington House, the home of General Robert E. Lee and his wife, Mary Anna (Custis) Lee. Arlington House is currently under going a restoration. The original gate to Arlington Cemetery is now the Women In Military Service For America Memorial, dedicated to the women who served in all branches of the military. The Memorial was dedicated on October 18th in 1997. I’m a charter member so I always include a visit when I’ve been in Washington DC.
There is the World War I memorial, and the newer World War II Memorial, which has a large central fountain with one end dedicated to the war in Europe and the other to the war in the Pacific. Since my father fought in the Pacific, my mother and I have made an trip to visit.
After a lot of controversy, ‘The Wall’ as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is called was dedicated. An American flag flies twenty four hours a day over the memorial. Several of the guys I went to high school with served in Vietnam, as did my husband. I’m lucky enough that I don’t personally know any of the name listed on the wall, but the first time I visited, I cried the whole walk. Those were the men and boys I grew up with.
On this trip I’m finally going to get in a visit to the National Cathedral on Wednesday. And of course Monday and Tuesday will find me in the Smithsonian or other museums around the mall.
Washington DC is a great place to visit and see our history. Hope you enjoyed some of my favorite site. Have you been? What’s your favorite memorial/site?