On the National Mall

Hey, if this is a mall, then where’s the Banana Republic? Thank you! Tip your veal, try your waitress! I’m here all week!

I was going to write some more about the Air and Space Museum today, but I realized that I won’t have all the pictures I need until I visit the museum downtown.

Today, John and I walked down the National Mall. The Capitol is at one end, the Lincoln Memorial at the other, and tons of stuff is in between.

(Click any picture to embiggen.)

Capitol Building and Random Virginian

Everything on this trip (except for Vegas) is new to me. So please forgive my sense of wonder if you spent your entire youth taking field trips to this place.

The Capitol dome and building reached its current state in 1868. The building started off much smaller, but in 1850, with the U.S.’s huge westward expansion, people realized they’d need something bigger. “Oh, and maybe a little more stately. I mean, as long as you’re under the hood.” “What’s a hood?” “Sorry, I forgot it was only 1850.”

The Washington Monument. Big.

This is one of those Human constructs that is so much bigger in person than most people realize.

If you look closely, you’ll see a color change about 1/3rd of the way up. That’s how far they’d gotten when the original allotment of money ran out. Then the Civil War happened. They didn’t start up construction again until well after the war, and by then, they had to use a different quarry for the stone.

Yup, it's big alright!

For five years, it was the world’s tallest building, until those freedom-hating French had to go and build the Eiffel Tower.

At the base of the Monument, you can just see Hot Italian and her boyfriend. As we walked the mall, they always seemed to be taking pictures at the same places as we were.

It is still the world’s tallest stone structure. Wow.

What? I don't get it.

Now, I’m a huge WW2 (the big one) geek. But the World War II Memorial didn’t do anything for me. Nor did it seem to impress any members of the Greatest Generation wandering the area. This thing must have been designed by committee. It has no meaning and no purpose.

Oh, but what’s that up ahead?

Ladies and gentlemen, Preserver of the Union…

What's that big building? Is it...

The Great Emancipator…

...could it be...?

The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla…

It's him!

President of These United States Abraham Lincoln!

Abe Lincoln seems unfazed by the presence of the Random Virginian

…And he’s receiving visitors. So far, this is the most crowded place I’ve been in D.C. Everyone, no matter their nationality, wants a picture with Abe. And there’s a power to this place. I can’t describe it. An awe.

Since I haven’t had the Gettysburg Address memorized since 4th grade, I’ll let the marble do the talking:

The Gettysburg Address. Right purdy speechifyin'

I stood there for a few minutes, soaking in the words, reading them in his voice inside my head. I felt I had arrived at the true heart of the country.

Having exhausted our time on the Mall, we went looking for a taxi to take us the two miles back to our car, back near the Capitol.

Excuse me...

We asked Einstein for help, but he said he rides his bike everywhere, so he didn’t really know anything about taxis.

Everyone in Washington is larger than life. I knew Lincoln was pretty tall, but I’d always thought Einstein was kind of short.

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