Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seeing the sights

One of these days I’m going to have to go to Washington DC with no agenda other than seeing the monuments, visiting the museums, and generally basking in the historical glow that seems to permeate the city. On my latest foray through the nation’s capitol (this past weekend), I was once again heading for an AMSA meeting. I saw a bit of the city as we flew over it, and then promptly took the shuttle from IAD to the hotel in one of the somewhat creepily planned suburbs near the AMSA office. I didn’t have nigh hopes for seeing the city, as I’d seen the 8am-9pm meeting agenda already.

We did get to head into the city on Saturday night though, and in a new departure from the usual bar-themed evening outings, we went to see some of the monuments. Complications of time and trying to meet up with folks meant that we didn’t see many, but those that we did were brilliantly lit, and beautiful. First we saw the George Mason monument. We were skeptical at first, but after seeing some really beautiful quotes about the equality of all people and the evils of slavery, we were converted. At that point we all wanted pictures with George – the results are shown above. We also saw the Jefferson and FDR monuments. Jefferson was a classic man-in-a-set-of-columns monument, but was nonetheless inspiring. Reading the words of thoughtful and interesting men is inspiring and motivating. The FDR memorial was less typical, and I think I would have enjoyed it more had it not been rapidly approaching midnight. I thought the waterfall and reflecting pool were beautiful (not surprising as I love water), and I was assured that the rest of the monument was also striking, but was too tired to make it through.

Seeing the mall lit up for the evening was a wonderful break from a long meeting, and made me wish I could see more.

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