AMERICAN HISTORY AT NATIONAL MALL WASHINGTON DC
The hardest decision I made in Washington DC.
I tried to delay but my departure date was getting closer. I’m not a fan of cold weather even though I like to travel during the slow season. I also had to careful with my health. I did not want to get sick when I have to leave Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. The journey was long and tiring.
On the other hand, I would not miss exploring the National Mall. Out of questions. America’s most profound way of honoring their national heroes.
I bundled my body in layered clothes, I felt like a penguin as I walked. As always I checked today’s weather forecast and found that during the day the weather would be better. Good, at least something to boost my spirit.
I took the metro to the National Mall. It took more and less two hours (plus missed the metro and forgot to get off) plus the waiting time. Now I used to monitoring public transportation with Google Map. Checking for different options of public transportation from departure and arrival time. So I did not have to wait long at the bus stop or station.
I walked from the Smithsonian Station to the Washington Monument. An obelisk, the highest monument column in the world and the tallest structure in the world until 1889. The monument was in honor of George Washington as the first founder and president of the United States.
Egyptian hollow Obelisk made of marble, granite and bluestone gneiss. Although opened to the public 125 years ago in 1888, the monument closed when I went there because of the elevator modernization until spring 2019.
Therefore I only admired from far and walked directly to the World War II Memorial.
I was freezing.
I wished there was a place that had a heater, café or restaurant. I could only stop at a café that has a seat outside. I bought a cup of coffee and a snack. At least my stomach full before continuing the journey.
World War II Memorial is one of the newest monuments in Washington D.C. Surrounded by the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
A monument dedicated to Americans serving in the armed forces and civilians during World War II. The monument consists of 56 granite pillars representing 48 US states in 1945 and also the District of Columbia, the Alaska Territory and Territory of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands. The northern arch represents the Atlantic and the southern arch represents the Pacific.
National Mall deserted visitors. Too quiet for me. It was making every monument look vast and massive. I did not bump into anyone during my stroll from the Washington Memorial to the Lincoln Monument.
Empty, quiet and inaudible. So when I heard a voice of someone talking, I almost jumped. Suddenly someone appeared in front of me. Out of nowhere, talking loudly on the phone and drinking his coffee. Geeezz … I was daydreaming as I walked.
Then I looked over the Lincoln Memorial.
A colossal building that amid a peaceful atmosphere. I decided to take a stroll along the Reflection pool to Lincoln Memorial. Seeing the incredible view of the Lincoln Memorial gradually became even greater. There is no crowd, people sitting by the pool or other activities I could imagine during summer or peak season.
However, technically the plan was really dandy. I had to change the plan after walking for a while. I could not walk with my eyes staring forward without looking down. Hahahaha … duck poop everywhere. I had to walk zigzag.
After a while, I gave up. It’s no use anymore. I back on the pedestrian road.
The square pool is 2,028 in length and 167 feet wide. The pool dramatically reflected the shadow of Washington Monuments, the Lincoln Memorial plus a row of shady trees and vast expanses of sky.
The pool is also the background of many historic events.
This is where Martin Luther King delivered his speech on “I Have a Dream” to a quarter millions of people standing around and in the Reflection Pool.
Also reminded me of the Forrest Gumps movie from 1994. He made a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for a Vietnam war demonstration. After his speech, Forrest met his girlfriend. Forrest Gumps run straight to the Reflection Pool to met her. Romantic reunion.
I walked past Ash Woods.
I did not stop at the DC War Memorial located within Ash Woods just south of Lincoln Reflecting Pool. The monument dedicated to residents of D.C. who lost their lives in World War II. The site is also one of three monuments at the National Mall that organizes weddings along the Jefferson Memorial and George Mason Memorial.
I stopped at The Veterans Memorial Korean War dedicated to the U.S. Armed Forces. who served and sacrificed during the Korean War.
The main monument is a triangular wall of granite from California with more than 2,500 photographs representing the ground, sea and air soldiers who fought in the war.
In addition to walled monuments, there are 19 stainless steel sculptures with the size of an adult male. The figures symbolize the soldiers who were on patrol wearing complete combat gear. They walked on a juniper bush separated by granite pieces. Bushes and granites symbolize rice fields in Korea.
In addition to the two monuments above, there two more memorial which are United National Wall and Pool of Remembrance.
The United National Wall registered 22 members of the United Nations who donated troops and medical support for this war. There was also a place for visitors to rest and contemplated the hero’s struggle in the Pool of Remembrance. The Pool of Remembrance dedicated to soldiers who killed, wounded, missing in action, and detained as prisoners of war.
On the wall in the pool area written in silver letters: FREEDOM IS NOT FREE.
Then a little sunshine appears. Awesome. Still freezing cold but at least not gloomy. The next monument was the Lincoln Memorial.
The national monument of America in honor of the President of the United States. The building inspired by ancient Greek temples. Thirty-six columns representing each state in the U.S. before the death of President Abraham Lincoln.
There are some design suggestions like designs that refer to Mayan temples, Mesopotamian ziggurat, and an Egyptian pyramid. But the design eventually felt into a building with construction resembling the classic Greek temple Doric. It clearly resembles the Pantheon, the birthplace of democracy.
The statue of Abraham Lincoln increased roughly twice in size as the development plan progresses. The initial size of the statue was 10 feet later turned to 19 feet high.
I walked to Vietnam Veterans Memorials before taking a bus to Union Station.
Similar to the Korean Veterans Wall. The monument is a tribute to members of the U.S. armed forces who fought in the Vietnam War. As a symbol to unite the past and present together and describe it as ‘wound that is closed and healing’.
The Three Soldiers are bronze statues that created and designed to complement Vietnam Veterans Monument. Also known as The Three Servicemen. The statue made of bronze as high as seven feet above the foot of granite foundation. Representing three soldiers who looked at the memorial wall that incised the names of their fellows.
After a day of walking around the National Mall and seeing all the names on the memorial wall, I understand why freedom is not free. I must thank to all of my country heroes, Indonesia. Without them, I would not enjoy the freedom that I have now. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!.
I moved from the National Mall and went to the bus stop.
After waiting in the cold for half an hour, I decided to board any bus. I did not care anymore about the bus number, the most important thing I was not cold. As soon as the bus driver opened the door, I jumped up and sat by the window. Fortunately, the last bus stop was Union Station.
Within two hours, finally, I went inside a warm apartment.
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