Monday, September 12, 2011

Other Thoughts on D.C.

We did not tour the Newseum, but I did like the fact that the quote "Congress shall make no laws..." about the right to print newspapers was on the outside of the building. Every morning they display the front page from a major newspaper from each state, so we were able to stop and peruse the front page of the Anchorage Daily News to see what the newspaper thought was the big news of the day.

The capital city in Maryland is divided into four quadrants: northwest, southwest, north east, and southeast. The city proper meaning the area in which all the government and historical areas of interest are in a diamond shaped layout. I know pure trivia, but interesting to me, must be the history teacher in me. :)

There is a statue of Albert Gallatin who served under President Jefferson and cleaned up a fourteen million dollar deficit, plus added some surplus to our national treasury. Where is he when we need him. Can we bring back a reincarnation of him so he can clear up our national deficit today? We certainly need someone like him.

The third oldest building in D.C. is the treasury building, It took three years to build. THe second is the capital and the White House is the oldest. Government and money, seem to be the rule of the day even back then. I do love the architecture of the old buildings and the columns that seem to be everywhere. I would have loved to have lived at Tara in the movie 'Gone With the Wind" only with air conditioning, please.

Speaking of the White House, it was opened in 1800 and every president except our first, George Washington, has lived in it. George Washington oversaw the construction. He died in 1799.

We did not tour the White House but man would I hate to have to clean the place. It has one hundred thirty-two rooms, twenty-eight fireplaces, three elevators, thirty-five bathrooms, a forty-six seat theater, and a bowling alley. It is 5,500 square feet in area with five floors and an attic. That is a lot of cleaning. The president and his family live in the back of the house, but there is no back door. There are about six entrances, but not one is called the back door because the president cannot bring anyone in the backdoor without insulting them.

We also went out near the Arlington National Cemetery and saw the oldest section, number 27. Two presidents are buried in Arlington, John F. Kennedy and WIlliam Howard Taft and his wife. Taft weighed over three hundred pounds. As we drove by the cemetery I was thinking of all the lost souls buried there. All those who fought for our country and our freedom. Many people do not stop and think about the fact that freedom is not free. It is paid for with the lives of every person who has died fighting to keep our country free, fighting for our rights to stand up and protest, or burn the flag, or to march in honor of anything we believe in. We have the right of free speech and religion because of those who died to defend our right to it. There is a poem that was written by a high school student, Kelly Strong, in 1981 as a tribute to his father, a marine who served in Vietnam.

"FREEDOM IS NOT FREE

I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze;
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He'd stand out in any crowd.

I thought... how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?

How many pilots' planes shot down
How many died at sea
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves
No, Freedom is not Free.

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still;
I listened to the bugler play,
And felt a sudden chill;

I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant "Amen"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend;

I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands.
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No. Freedom is not Free!

©Copyright 1981 by Kelly Strong
http://iwvpa.net/strongk/

I love this poem. It expresses what we all need to learn, freedom is not free it is paid for with the blood of our forefathers, our brothers, and sisters, friends, and enemies who have fought for our right to make the choices we do, even those that are dangerous and immoral.

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