Capital Calling (Washington DC)

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(Washington Monument)

Torrential rain lashed our car window panes and windshield as we drove into DC. I was a bit depressed as whenever I thought of Washington DC, beautiful buildings, memorials, flags and monuments came to my mind .…not to miss out the grand Smithsonian museums and the chances looked bleak as the sky was overcast and it poured mercilessly. My prayers for a sunny next day continued and were answered as we woke up to a crisply cold morning next day. Our weekend trip to the capital city of the United States was like taking a walk through the past, present and the future of the country….a city that had loads of history to share.
Frankly speaking, as we drove through the streets of DC, it reminded me of the colonial image of Calcutta; huge buildings built in historical style; the only difference probably was one being built in British style and the other in American. DC’s most visited attraction is perhaps the National Mall and it is the most popular place in the city; America’s greatest public space. The almost 3 km long area has the beautiful Lincoln memorial on one side and the Capitol on the other. In between is a pool, the WWII memorial and the giant Obelisk, the Washington Monument.  We initially stood at one end of the monument to admire the White House from one side and then drove to the memorial to have a closer look at it.
The Lincoln Memorial, built in the pattern of a Greek temple has a long flight of steps and we climbed up to see the seated statue of the late President Abraham Lincoln. The walls of the hall are inscribed with the Gettysburg address that was supposed to raise the hopes of a nation shattered by the Civil War. From the Lincoln memorial there is a beautiful view of the Washington monument, the 555 ft high granite obelisk, built to commemorate the first US president, George Washington. 

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(Lincoln Memorial)

Within walking distance of this memorial is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; a place that was built in honour of the American soldiers who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. The memorial has a ‘three soldiers statue’ a ‘women’s memorial’ and the famous ‘wall.’ The black granite wall is ‘V’ shaped and has thousands of names of soldiers carved on it. Lots of flowers and wreaths lay in front of the wall as we walked past it.
Once in DC, we realized that two of the most important sites needed prior appointment to visit; The White House and The Capitol; the two most beautiful buildings of the city. We had to settle with a drive around the White House as no car is presently allowed on the Pennsylvania Avenue and The Capitol that resembled the Victoria memorial of Calcutta was a photo stop for us. What I missed here was the self guided tour where we could have watched the congress in session as the Senate and House galleries are open to visitors whenever either body is in session. Passes are required to be obtained quite early in the morning and are easier for foreigners like us…better luck next time!

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(Capitol)

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(White House)

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(The Pentagon)

Next day, we were scheduled to visit a few more memorials and the first in the list was the Pentagon. The vast building looked beautiful and I wished I could get an aerial view to actually make out the ‘pentagon’ shape. With tight security around it was a nice place with the Pentagon memorial in the memory of those killed in the 9/11 attacks.

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