I convinced some of my friends from my AIT Company to make a day-trip into Washington DC with me on the weekend. The capitol is about 60 miles south from our base at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. Driving into the District, we went through the most run-down section of any city that I have ever seen in my life. It was a sharp contrast with the gleaming center when we arrived.
Our first stop was at the Lincoln Memorial in front of the reflecting pool at the west end of the National Mall. After visiting Lincoln sitting on his large chair we headed over to the nearby Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It is a sublime memorial in the way that the black granite wall covered with over 50,000 names blends down into the grassy landscape around it. It was a little difficult to find and we had to backtrack to find it. I really liked the statue of The Three Soldiers nearby.
It was a sunny day but it was freezing. The wind cut like a knife as we walked down the Mall towards the Washington Monument. We waited in line and took the elevator to the top of the monument which is 555 feet tall. Even through the narrow rectangular windows, we had great views of the surrounding area. After descending we walked over to the White House nearby, looked though the fence and observed a few groups protesting about Operation Desert Shield.
We only had time to visit one of the famous Smithsonian Museums so we went to the National Air and Space Museum. It is a cool place to visit with all the historic planes and spacecraft hanging from the ceiling, including the Wright Flyer and the Spirit of St. Louis. Afterwards we walked over to the U.S. Capitol building and the nearby Supreme Court for a brief visit and checked out a Washington Metro station. The last place we visited was the National Archives where we got to view the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights under heavy plates of bulletproof glass.