03 July 2008

Xede and USAI do DC

Washington Monument Washington Monument Korean War Memorial

One evening after work, a few of us contractors drove into DC to see some sights. One of the guys, Spencer, had lived in the DC area for a while so he knew where he was going. I bet you can figure out what the pictures on the left are, but the picture on the right is from the Korean War Memorial. The statues were quite haunting, slightly larger than life size with exaggerated hands and faces. A larger version of the photo would show that the statues seem to emerge from the wall behind them -- there are grey faces etched into the black granite that are modeled from real photographs.

Einstein's lap

Across Constitution Avenue from the Vietnam Memorial is the National Academy of Sciences. Inside a grove of trees and mostly hidden from view is an enormous statue of Albert Einstein. He would be a very comfortable place to take a nap if his surface weren't so full of holes -- I'm not sure if there is some sort of symbolism there. It reminds me of what happens if very cold water is poured into melted wax. We wouldn't have known he was there if it hadn't been for Spencer. He (Albert) was among the highlights of the evening although we all agreed that it was very exciting to be in the places that we had seen in so many pictures.

World War II Memorial Clifford D. Abeel World War II Memorial

Another highlight of the evening was seeing the World War II Memorial and finding my grandfather in the registry there. It meant a lot to my grandmother that the memorial was built and that he would be listed there as one who served. as I remember my grandmother telling it, my grandparents were newlyweds during the war and my grandfather volunteered even though he could have been excused from service because he was needed on the family farm. They lived in several different places during the war as he was transferred from base to base.

World War II Memorial World War II Memorial

The WWII Memorial is quite awe-inspiring. Surrounding a central pool with elaborate fountains there are 50-odd (not sure which territories were included) pillars that represented the states and territories. It was replete with symbolism and provided a gathering place for people on a languorous summer evening. However, walking among the memorials it seemed to us that war memorials were getting larger in the order they were built. As we were headed toward the Lincoln Memorial, we noticed a domed gazebo-sized white marble structure that was off the beaten path and that no one was visiting. It was the World War I Memorial.

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