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Friday, April 14, 2017

Washington Monument at sunrise

Today's Photos on Friday continues the last two weeks' theme of posting sunrise photos from our March 25 trip down to the Tidal Basin. Last week was the Jefferson Memorial and the week before, the cherry blossoms. Today is the Washington Monument

Someday I'd like to go down at sunrise and try this again at one of my favorite spots to take cherry blossom photos. There is a smaller pool of water (a part of the Tidal Basin that is separated by a bridge) where the monument is closer and looks really pretty over the water.




Friday, April 7, 2017

Photos on Friday: Jefferson Memorial at sunrise

Today's Photos on Friday post continues my sunrise trip downtown on March 25. The Jefferson Memorial is so pretty in the early morning light, the angle is just right and the early light catches the reflections nicely. 


Next week, the Washington Monument at sunrise.




Monday, April 3, 2017

10 fun facts about the George Mason Memorial



Did you know there is a national memorial near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial dedicated to George Mason, one of America’s Founding Fathers?

If you aren’t familiar with George Mason, you are not alone. He is one of the oft forgotten historical figures and, on some of the tours I’ve been on, it has been suggested this was because he was steadfast in his beliefs and did not go along with some of the other Founding Fathers. Especially when it came time to sign the U.S. Constitution.
 


Even though history perhaps hasn’t always recognized his contributions very prominently, they are of importance. Mason penned the Virginia Declaration of Rights which had inspired Thomas Jefferson as he was writing the Declaration of Independence. Mason’s writings also served as a model for the U.S. Bill of Rights, French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen and the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Mason’s memorial is not like some of the other memorials which are grand structures but has a more subtle design.
 

10 fun facts about the George Mason Memorial


1. This memorial was not originally planned for the National Mall. Although, Mason’s contributions took place in the 18th century, a monument in the District wasn’t dedicated to him until April 9, 2002. The National Park Service (NPS) says the memorial “commemorates the neglected contributions of an important Founding Father.”

2. The memorial to George Mason to an established garden called the “Pansy Garden”. Today the memorial contains a statue of a relaxed Mason sitting on a bench underneath a trellis. In front of the memorial is a pool with a fountain and the memorial is surrounded with beautiful flowers and splendid magnolia trees and contrast nicely with the forsythia bushes.



3.  Faye B. Harwell was the architect of the Mason Memorial. The memorial was authorized in 1990 but groundbreaking didn’t take place until 2000. 

4. The bronze sculpture of Mason was made by Wendy Ross. Mason’s likeness possesses two bronze books on one side with his hat and walking stick on the other. 




5. The trellis is 72 feet long and 9 feet tall.

6. There are three walls underneath the trellis which are inscribed with some of Mason’s wisdom. If not for Mason, there wouldn’t be a Bill of Rights as he would not sign the U.S. Constitution because it did gave too much power to the federal government. These walls are 4 feet tall.

7. Kevin Roustazad carved the inscriptions of Mason’s words. 

8. A plaque stands at the front of the memorial and is titled, “Defender of Liberty” and gives some history about this man. 



9. The original pansy garden is said to have been constructed in the late 19th century and was a Victorian garden. It was later redesigned as the Pansy Garden in 1929.


10. The memorial is located near the intersection of Ohio Drive and East Basin Drive, SW. It is open 24 hours a day.  

Additionally, George Mason’s home has been preserved for the public to visit and learn more about his life and property. It is located about 30 miles south of the District. You can learn more about visiting Mason’s home on an earlier post I wrote. I invite you to visit this post if you want to learn more about him or see photos of the property.

Sources: Personal observations, National Park Service and Guidestar.org

Friday, March 31, 2017

Photos on Friday: Cherry blossom sunrise on the Tidal Basin

Visiting the Tidal Basin at sunrise is something I've always wanted to do. At cherry blossom peaks, even better. This year the opportunity came. Despite the harsh cold that interrupted this year's peaks, there was still a pretty showing. 

Today's photos on Friday is all about the cherry blossoms in the early morning hours. Photos taken on March 24, 2017.

Jefferson Memorial as the sun came up
Cherry blossoms reflecting in the early morning hours

Sunrise and the Washington Monument
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Cherry blossoms views around the Tidal Basin (2017)

This weekend the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin reached peak despite the challenges posed by the recent deep freezes and snow. While not nearly as showy as other years, still a lot of nice color.

We headed down before sunrise on Saturday to see the blossoms at this time of day which we'd never done before. Although it was early, there were many people enjoying the views too. After the sun was up we continued to circle the basin until we reached where we'd began, snapping photos along the way. (I also jumped downtown for a couple of hours on Monday also, so the pics are from two different days)
Jefferson Memorial reflections

Washington Memorial and cherry blossoms. The annual cherry blossom festival is just beyond those trees.

Taken on Saturday (3/25) as the sun was rising
This shot was taken in the early morning hours, in the direction of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

Monday, March 27, 2017

Memorials and monuments on the National Mall, Washington DC



Washington D.C. is one of the top tourist destinations in the United States and it’s easy to see why. There is an amazing amount of rich history in the region. Not to mention the numerous incredible landmarks to be found.

When making a visit to the Capital, the National Mall is usually first on list of the things people want to see. The monuments are one of the top reasons why.

Jefferson Memorial


The Jefferson Memorial one of the more recognized monuments on the National Mall. While well-known, it does stand a bit away from many of the others and is situated on a very busy road. However, it is also a nice walk around the Tidal Basin to get to it. Especially when the cherry blossoms are in peak. (To learn more about this monument, I invite you to check out my "fun facts" piece about the Jefferson Memorial).



The Washington Monument


Standing in front of the Washington Monument is quite impressive at its 555 feet. Even more amazing is taking the elevator to the top and looking down upon the National Mall, Washington D.C. and beyond (when it reopens - the elevator will be closed for repairs until spring 2019). Even so, just standing beneath it is incredible. For more reading, I've also written a fun facts and history about the Washington Monument post if you're looking to learn more about this piece of architecture.

Washington Monument at dusk


Taken during peak cherry blooms in 2016

World War II Memorial

World War II Memorial. This is the one of newest of the memorials located at the National Mall. Completed in 2004, it has an appealing design. The World War II Memorial is located in the center of the Mall and is visually located between the Washington and Lincoln Memorials. 

Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial sits opposite the Washington Memorial and World War II Memorial on the other side of the Reflecting Pool. You can climb the top of the stairs and enter the memorial and/or you can go to the lower floors and look at the inside exhibits. 



View of the Lincoln Memorial and the famous reflecting pool found between the monuments. This photo was taken from atop the Washington Monument. Across the river is Virginia.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

The newest of monuments on the Mall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial was opened in August 2011. Throughout the memorial site you'll find numerous inspirational quotes by King said during his lifetime. The centerpiece of the memorial is the statue of King which overlooks the Tidal Basin.



 

Korean War Veterans Memorial 



The Korean War Veterans Memorial is an outdoor memorial. The memorial has two parts, the first is a triangular field with statues of 19 uniformed soldiers, all of who are dressed differently to represent the branch of services who fought in the war. The second part of the memorial is a circular pool with benches and trees. This memorial was dedicated in 1995.



Vietnam Veterans Memorial 


The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, also often referred to as "The Vietnam Wall", was built in 1982 and is a memorial dedicated to those men and women who served in the war. The monument is made of up statues and the wall itself. There are several panels and each list thousands of names of those of who gave their lives in this conflict. Visiting this memorial is an emotional experience, seeing more than 58,000 names listed in chronological order. People often leave mementos, notes and flowers along the wall.

 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial  



The memorial dedicated to Franklin Delano Roosevelt is located along the western side of the Tidal Basin. It’s a walk-through style memorial with walls of quotes, statues and fountains as visitors explore FDR’s four terms. 


DC War Memorial



One of the lesser-known monuments on the Mall, this is a local monument dedicated to the men and women from the District of Columbia who lost their lives in WWI. Commissioned in 1919, the monument came to fruition in 1931. The names of the 499 Washingtonians who died in the war are inscribed on the monument’s platform.



Currently, there is no federal WWI monument in the District, but Congress has approved one and it is reportedly in the design stage. When it’s built, the new monument will be at Pershing Park, near the White House. 

George Mason Memorial 


Another lesser-known memorial, unless you come from the area, you might not know who George Mason was or what is significance to U.S. history is (in New York, this man was not discussed in any curriculum I was taught). Here in Virginia though, he's well-known as one of America's founding fathers. Mason penned the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which served as Jefferson's inspiration as he wrote the Declaration of Independence. He's known for a lot more too. The monument was established in 2002, having been an add-on to an existing garden. It's located close to the Jefferson Memorial.


Pool in front of the George Mason Memorial. The scenery is stunning once the cherry blossoms, magnolias and forsythia bloom.

The National Mall is one area of D.C. where many people are drawn to visit, and it is well worth the trip. There are a number of other memorials and gardens spread throughout the National Mall, but I'm still discovering these. These listed in this post are the largest and probably the most visited.