Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Patriotic Travels

"When it comes to the American dream, no one has a corner on the market.
All of us have an equal chance to share in that dream." - JC Watts.

The Capitol at dusk

As a kid, I listened in awe when we learned about the founding fathers of our nation. I remember thinking these were great stories, but surely they were fluffed with non-truths. As I went through high school and college, my interest in the history of the United States grew. I found myself becoming jealous of kids who got to go on field trips to visit the nation's capitol. I read history book upon history book, scouring the pages to learn more about how our country came to be. I longed to visit the many cities so instrumental to the development of our country... Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC to name a few. 

After years of wishing, hoping, and waiting I was finally given the opportunity to visit the nation's capitol last week. It was my own fault for it taking so long - so many times I had planned to go, but life always seemed to get in the way. When my job asked if I wanted to go for work, I didn't hesitate - I said yes immediately! I took a couple of extra vacation days to visit friends in the area and to squeeze in as much site seeing as possible! Sadly, even a week didn't seem long enough. Guess it means I have to go back, right? :-) Here are a few of my favorite bits of architectural wonder for the week.... more to come!

Home of the EPA
This stunning building was completed in 1934, and is part of the neighborhood known as the Federal Triangle. Once also housed the Post Office after they vacated the Old Post Office Pavilion (below). 

Old Post Office Pavilion
A gorgeous building in the Federal Triangle completed in 1899. It was only used for a short time as a post office before lawmakers started demanding that it be razed to make room for a rail depot. The building survived, and is now federally protected (although privately owned by the Trump Group).

One of the halls of the IRS
Stunning, isn't it?

Arlington Memorial Bridge
This blogger has a thing for bridges, and this one is a beauty. Completed in 1932, this bridge spans across the Potomac River, bridging Arlington with Washington, DC. It is flanked on the eastern end by two golden statues (which you can see by clicking here). I long to bike over that bridge, and hope to do so on my next visit.

The Supreme Court Building
This building is surprisingly young, having only been completed in 1935. Before that, the court had no permanent location to call home. Sadly, the facade of the was being renovated, leaving us with the faux view above. 

The Carnegie Library
Funded by a donation from Andrew Carnegie, the library was dedicated in 1903 and was used as a library for over 70 years. The building now serves as a high-end event venue (one I was lucky enough to be invited to while I was in town).

Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Completed between 1871 and 1888, this ornate building stands directly next door to The White House. Although formerly used to house the Departments of State, War, and Navy, the building currently serves as office space for employees of the executive office and White House. It was once called a "monstrosity" - and I can see why. It is a beautiful, but seemingly out of place when compared to the rest of the capitol. Anywhere else, though, it would be stunning. 

The White House
Much smaller than I expected, the White House was constructed between 1792 and 1800. It serves as not only the home of the President of the United States, but also as a meeting room, guest room, event venue, and executive office. Amazingly, the building has been the home of every President since 1801. Wonder why it's white? The home was significantly damaged and charred following a fire in 1814 set by British troops. When reconstructed, the building was painted white to cover the charred sandstone. The white color was well liked, and has been maintained with every renovation and upgrade.

The White House - South Lawn
This is the President's backyard. On the day of our visit, we were lucky enough to be there on the same day that Barack Obama was honoring the Baltimore Ravens for the Super Bowl. You can read more about that event here.

Our President's Secret Service Agents - not being so secret up on the roof of the White House.

And so my love for our country has been renewed, and the excitement I have for American opportunity and dreams has been rekindled. I have sooooo many more pictures to share with you, and even more stories to tell! Alas, it's time for bed. Hope you've enjoyed the pictures so far!

Until next time...

--- Becks

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