Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Washington Pre-Game Show

I decided to take a day trip to D.C. before the big day and Washington never disappoints on a day destination trip. 
 Here are a few observations.

My first detour was a special surprise and a new learning experience.  We came into the city through the Pennsylvania Ave., exit, a different approach.  The map said we were close to the Emancipation Statue so we took a short detour.  I had never seen or heard of this memorial.

The statue is located in what I would call an upscale neighborhood of Capitol Hill in Lincoln Park within walking distance to the Capitol Building. Lincoln Park was the site of Lincoln Hospital during the Civil War and later the name stuck with the area and was known as Lincoln Square.  It is the first site designated by Congress site to bear Lincoln's name.

It is a popular park, perhaps since it was a National Holiday in honor of MLK there was more of a population that day, people were out and about. Grandmothers were walking grandchildren, parents were pushing strollers, dogs took their owners out for a walk and children were riding bikes and running around on a pleasant weather day in D.C.

The Freedom's Memorial idea came from an African American woman named Charlotte Scott of Virginia who donated her first $5 earned as a free person to honor the assassinated President with a memorial. The funds collected were solely from freed slaves that benefited from the Emancipation Proclamation. Designed by Thomas Ball, it was dedicated in 1876 with then President Ulysses S. Grant in attendance and Frederick Douglas as the keynote speaker. Originally the statue faced west toward the Capitol building but was later turned to face a statue added to the park in 1974.

Also in the park was a memorial statue to Mary McLeod Bethune, interesting to read and learn about this woman, an African American educator and government advisor. She is known as The First Lady of the Struggle and was an advisor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This statue was the first of any African American or woman on public land in Washington. Robert Berks, the same sculptor of a large bust of JFK in the foyer of the Kennedy Center for the performing Arts designed the Bethune Memorial.

Walking back to the car, I started to notice lawn signs and went to investigate further, very befitting for MLK Day a National Day of Service.

I have always found the road less traveled to hold many hidden treasures and this detour of the day was no exception.

We have more in common than differences. I guess what I learned is even though a "transition of power" will take place on Friday, there are many permanent structures in place to remind us of the struggles and the progress our country has been through and United We Stand and Divided We Fall always seems to ring true.

Good to know tip: Parking Meters on Pennsylvania Avenue six blocks from the Capitol were FREE on the holiday, probably not the case on Inauguration Day.

What does this have to do with Inauguration Day? It is just the first thing that drew me into D.C. on Monday. I look to it as having some profound meaning. Tomorrow I will highlight traces of previous administrations. Friday is President Trumps Day, he already has a Washington presence.

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