Day 8 - A Break in the Weather and Routine

The hot weather finally broke today. That does not mean it wasn’t hot. There was a lovely breeze and the temperature was about 10 degrees cooler than the past several days (this means it was only around 90 degrees).  Comfortable is a great word to describe it. Unless you stand in the sun, then the heat from the sun became unbearable. We tried to stay in the shade as much as possible. We purchased a pass for the “Hop On, Hop Off” bus which would take us around DC.  The best part – the bus was air conditioned!!

Washington Monument on our bus trip

This morning we decided to start off heading to the Jefferson Memorial.  Unfortunately before we could do that we had to hop on a train.  We went the wrong way and ended up at Arlington National Cemetery.  We quickly fixed the situation and returned back into DC and to our bus. The Jefferson Memorial was quite impressive.  Construction of the memorial began in 1939 but it was not completed until 1947.  The bronze statue could not be finished until after the war because the metal was needed for the war effort. The statue was enormous. I think his foot alone was longer than my body. Jefferson is 19 feet tall! Around the building are famous words he wrote from the Declaration of Independence, a bill for establishing religious freedom, and from several other letters. We hoped to visit the Tidal Basin but part of it was blocked off as construction was being done around the memorial.

Next we visited the Lincoln Memorial. While there are many monuments in tribute to Abraham Lincoln, this one is the most awe-inspiring. The first stone was set in 1914 and it was dedicated in 1922. Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln was present. There are 36 columns to represent the 36 states (25 in the Union and 11 that seceded).  All 50 states are represented in some way on the monument. We were surprised to see the reflecting pool gone. As we spoke to people about it we learned it is being replaced by a more efficient system because the previous pool needed to be cleaned several times a year.

Our bus took us to the National Cathedral. The church was built in 1907 and is set high on a hill in the Georgetown area of DC.  President Theodore Roosevelt laid the first stone in place. President Woodrow Wilson, Helen Keller, and her tutor Anne Sullivan are just a few of the notable people buried here.  The cathedral is now the home of the Portrait Gallery.

Another famous location we visited today was Ford’s Theater where Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. The theater was closed afterwards and taken over by the US military. For many years it fell apart. Finally in 1968 the building was restored and was used as a theater again. Today it holds a museum where you can go see the derringer that killed the president and the booth where he sat with his wife to see a comedy “Our American Cousin”.

Our last stop of the day was the Old Post Office. A statue of Benjamin Franklin stood outside and we climbed up to the bell tower.  It is the third tallest structure and we got a panoramic view of DC.  The Bells of Congress are replicas of those at Westminster Abbey and were a gift to commemorate the bicentennial in 1976.  The building was approved as the post office in 1880 and was the first steel framed building in Washington. Currently it holds a food court and a few souvenir shops.

Tomorrow we visit the White House!! We can’t wait to see the home where President Barack Obama resides and works! Unfortunately we cannot take any pictures so we will have to rely on pictures we find in gift shops or online.  Don’t worry, we will still have a lot to tell you tomorrow.

Mrs. Hoffman, Mrs. Cochrane, and Mrs. Gibson

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