More Washington D.C.Memories : Pennsylvania Avenue, The Washington Monument, And A Concert At The Lincoln Memorial.
It isn’t often you can walk down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. It happens only once every four years and I happened to be there to experience it twice. The first time was 36 years ago, when I was in our Nation’s Capitol attending law school during the inauguration of President Reagan. And again last Thursday, when I was there the day before the inauguration of President Trump.
After I left the grounds of the Capitol I walked down Pennsylvania Avenue, which was closed to traffic in preparation for the big events of the next day. I walked toward the Washington Monument along the Mall and found the National Park Service employees also busy preparing for the inauguration.
It was a reflective walk, one I took many times during my three years living here in the historic city. It was different on this day, with all of the preparation for the peaceful transfer of power the next day, which has taken place every four year for over two centuries.
Security was everywhere in the city and it seemed there was always a National Park service or police helicopter flying overhead.
And there were many barricades in the streets as well as armed guards.
As I approached the towering and impressive Washington Monument, I was taken back to the first time I saw it, on an 8th grade field trip, and remembered how I was so impressed that warm May day. During that visit we were able to take the elevator to the top to enjoy the majestic views of the city. I still remember the long walk down, which when given the option to walk or take the elevator , we gladly chose the former.
I proceed eastward on the mall and came to a memorial that wasn’t there when I was in law school, the World War II Memorial. I investigated this beautiful tribute to the brave men and women, my dad included, who defended our Country and fought the ugly face of fascism that appeared in Europe and the evil it created.
I walked on, hoping to visit the Lincoln Memorial , one of my favorite places amid this sea of Memorials and monuments, I spent many days, and nights in the giant presence of President Lincoln, recalling the scenes from one of my favorite movies, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I did a lot of these moments at this Memorial and hoped to again, after all of these years, but sadly, found it was closed in preparation for the Inauguration Welcome Concert later in the afternoon. Here is a link to some more photographs of my walk on the Mall. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Washington-D.C.-Mall-walk-January-19-2017-
I decided to leave the Mall and explore some more of the Nation’s Capitol, awakening many old memories along the way. I meandered through the streets, passing monuments, memorials statues, and impressive structures which are found everywhere near the Mall.
I walked over to the White House, surrounded by much more security than when I lived here.
I found a large crowd of folks, some tearful, thanking the President who was spending his last day this familiar symbol of our Nation, and wishing him, some with tears in their eyes, a final goodbye.
I again returned to Pennsylvania Avenue and walked in the middle of the street back toward the Capitol, seeing, along the way a mixture of folks, some enthusiastically in support of, and some protesting the new President. I am not going to get into the counting game of who outnumbered who here on my blog.
I was hungry and stopped for a quick lunch at the food court in Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Here I again found preparations for an address the President elect would make later that evening.
After lunch a again walked the streets between the Capitol and the White House until I decided to head back down to the Lincoln Memorial and attend the Inauguration Welcome Concert. Here is a link to some more photographs from my walk through downtown D.C. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Washington-D.C.-Downtown-walk-January-19-2017-
As I approached the Lincoln Memorial there were now lines at the security gates.
And security for the event was apparent everywhere, along the route to, and inside of, the security perimeters.
Inside I found a steady stream of folk, from around the country, supporting the President and partaking in the festivities.
I also saw this hawk fly overhead and land in a tree, maybe to get a good view of the show from high in the treetop.
I was able to make my way to the front of the crowd, where I watched the opening ceremonies on the large screens set up for the crowds.
The ceremonies ran a bit longer than I had anticipated and, having been up since 4 a.m, having walked well over 10 miles, having had only a light lunch and, with the setting sun causing the temperature drop I decided to make my way out of the crowds.
As I worked my way through the crowd I did continue to watch the events on the giant television screens placed throughout the Mall and saw the President elect and his family attend the ceremonies on screen. Here is a link to some more photographs of the festivities at the Lincoln Memorial. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Washington-D.C.-Lincoln-Memorial-concert-January-19-2017-
And, as I left the mall in the evening twilight I listened to the sounds of country music as I walked to the metro for my ride back to Silver Spring.
It was a reflective ride on the red line of the still efficient Metro system that serve the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. I had taken this ride home on many nights while in school. An it seemed like it was just yesterday when I exited the metro station in Silver Spring and walked back the still familiar streets I walked in the past. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Washington-D.C.-Walk-to-metro-January-19-2017-
“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”