Monday, May 23, 2016

5 Reasons You Should Go to Washington, DC

Probably my favorite of the pics I took in Washington DC on my recent trip

For many of us Americans, the phrase "Washington DC" leaves a bad taste in our mouths.  We picture big government encroaching on our lives and sleazy, dishonest politicians.

If that's your image of Washington DC, try pushing it to the side.  If you've never gone, you need to go to Washington D.C.  I recently returned from my fourth trip to our nation's capital, and I'm more in love with it than ever.

Here are five reasons you need to go, in no particular order.

1) To experience the beauty. The capital is simply beautiful.  The incredible architecture, the landscaping, the grace and dignity of the buildings and vistas and bodies of water.  If you love beauty, you need to see Washington DC.

At one of my favorite monuments, the Thomas Jefferson
The Washington Monument by night

2) The monuments and memorials. I would have a hard time pinpointing my favorite monuments in DC.  The Lincoln Memorial may be at the top of the list.  There is a palpable serenity in viewing the statue of Lincoln up close, taking in the grace of the man and his writings. And everyone should sit on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and gaze at the reflecting pool leading to the Washington Monument.  

I visited the World War 2 Memorial for the first time this trip, and I was bowled over.  We went at night, when the fountains and architecture were spectacularly lit.  We sat in awe for some time, giving honor to those who died to insure our freedom. 

Visiting these monuments and memorials gives one a deeper, personal appreciation for the philosophies that formed our nation.  As for the men who are memorialized? Their belief in God is there...literally engraved in stone.

The World War Two Memorial with the Washington Monument in the background

3) Arlington Cemetery.

Tomb of the Unknowns

Garden of the Arlington House, once owned by Robert E. Lee

If you are any kind of a patriot, you need to see this vast expanse of land, dotted by the small white tombstones that guard the final resting places of so many people who gave their lives for our freedom.  It's impossible not to be moved.  

While there, you must see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.  The military precision and quiet dignity of the rite is remarkable.

A glimpse of the gorgeous architecture at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

4) The Holocaust Museum. I believe every American needs to experience this incredible museum.  It chronicles the Holocaust from beginning to end, and it's truly an emotional experience.  Going through this museum, it's ludicrous to think that there are some who believed the massive slaughter of a race of people didn't really happen. You'll never look at the Holocaust, or World War Two itself, in the same way.

5) The Smithsonians. You would probably need weeks to do justice to this group of museums and galleries.  We hit only a few of them, but were impressed and educated.  Best of all, admission is free (ditto the Holocaust Museum and of course, all the memorials.)  The array of knowledge and culture on exhibit in these museums is simply stunning.

At the National Gallery of Art

*All pictures (except the ones I'm in) taken by me.*

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