The past two days were spent in Washington DC visiting museums and memorials. The venues included the Museum of American History, the Textile Museum, White House, Capital, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the new WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Viet Nam Memorial and the old Air and Space Museum. We also visited many other sites and probably walked twenty miles. Although books can be written about each site, I would like to briefly discuss just a few:
The WWII memorial was recently dedicated and positioned between the Lincoln and Washington memorials. The site is quite large, but was cleverly designed so that it blends in with the reflecting pool and the rest of the mall. A large fountain separates the Pacific and Atlantic sections of the memorial. All the States and Territories are represented as are each of the major war theaters and battles. A quiet reflecting pool memorializes the Americans who died. There are a series of Bronze reliefs depicting the conflict from mobilization through victory. If you are ever in Washington, I would encourage you to visit this site.
We noticed a distinct change at the Air and Space Museum. On our last visit, the WWII aircraft exhibits were the biggest draw. This time there was much more interest in the space exhibits, especially by the younger people. There was also a large exhibit focused on the relationship between computers and the space program.
On a lark, we visited a museum on Jewish military history. Before arriving we truly wondered what we would find: David’s Sling? The Staff of Moses? Sampson’s hair and scissors? The wall of Jericho? It was none of these. What we did find was stories of Jewish WWII veterans and their war experience. Many of the stories were Jewish immigrants that escaped from Europe before the war only to return as part of the American forces. The stories were compelling and I realized that my father was part of this story even though he served in CBI (China-Burma-India).
This was also our first visit to the Korean War Memorial. It was very well done. There is a subtlety to the memorial and it is one of those things that takes time to appreciate. If you visit the memorial, take your time and be sure to notice the troops are fighting uphill. I took some pictures, but they do not do justice to the site.
We stumbled into the coin collection at the Museum of American History. The exhibit included coins that were used as long ago as 400 B.C. You realize that the ancients weren’t very different from us in a commercial sense — the idea of a profit margin is very old. And, there probably was a need for skilled accountants.
We visited a textile museum not far from Embassy Row. There were fine examples from all over the world, both old and contemporary. Jeanne enjoyed this very much and the displays gave her some very good ideas for future projects.