Saturday, January 24, 2009

Washington DC: A Unique American State

I stayed up late to watch the Inauguration of President – elect Barack Obama last January 21, 2009.

As history unfolds before my eyes, I was simultaneously reminiscing the past and my personal journey to Washington DC. I have many memories of Washington DC,USA .

When I first visited in September 2000, it was the perfect place to look back on historical pieces that I only get to read in books. While I admit that the only date I really care about remembering is my date with my prince (lol), I am a history major and call myself a history buff.

Washington DC, located on the Potomac River,is unique among American cities because it was established by the Constitution of the United States to serve as the nation’s capital. After 217 years as the nation’s capital (officially founded on July 16, 1790), Washington DC is a place brimming with a unique history of its own. It has developed as a complex and layered city with multiple personalities. As home to the federal government, it has attracted a diverse mix of government workers, members of Congress from every state, foreign emissaries, lobbyists, petitioners and protestors.

George Washington, the first president and namesake of the city, envisioned Washington DC as a commercial center as well as the seat of government.

I visited Washington DC last September 15, 2000 while at Baltimore, Maryland staying with my friend, Reid Mumford. It is a part of my 18-day first ever trip to the United States that took me to Los Angeles - Salt Lake City, Utah – Detroit-Mary Land – San Francisco (CA). Reid drove me to Washington DC and had a day of fun and wonderful historical learning at the National Mall and the DC’s neighborhood.


Everyone knows that Washington, DC is the United States' "seat of power," but did you know that it's also home to the world's biggest seat? The "Big Chair," in Anacostia happens to be the world's largest. It is free to visit, and serves as a gathering spot for the Anacostia neighborhood.


1. See the National Mall with DC by Foot, a walking tour company that gives free, kid-friendly tours (gratuity recommended) infused with games, fun facts and trivia.


2. Spend an inspiring moment at Freedom Plaza, across the street from the Willard InterContinental Hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous, "I Have a Dream Speech". Then head over to the Lincoln Memorial to stand in the spot where he delivered it.


3. Have a heart-to-heart with Honest Abe at the Lincoln Memorial then walk along the Reflecting Pool to experience the solemn WWII Memorial.
-This grand monument overlooks the Reflecting Pool, the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol. Inside, the 19-foot marble statue of the 16th president is flanked by inscriptions of his Second Inaugural Address and the famous Gettysburg Address.


4. Walk across the street to 100-year-old Union Station to get inspired by its beautiful architecture and special events make it more than just a train station.
- Union Station in DC is home to Amtrak and multiple commuter rail services.

Take a ride on DC ‘s clean and safe Metrorail system for a taste of a train ride, and a break from the summer heat.


5. Take pictures with Fala, the famous presidential pooch, at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial.


6. Sit in the lobby of the Willard Inter Continental Hotel to imagine history unfolding. The hotel is where Julia Ward Howe wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," where President Ulysses S. Grant popularized the term "lobbyist" and where Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his renowned, "I Have a Dream" speech.

7. Watch history being made by sitting in on a ground-breaking Supreme Court ruling.

8. Get out into DC's neighborhoods to learn about history beyond the National Mall by experiencing Cultural Tourism DC's free self-guided walking trails. They are marked with illustrated signs revealing the stories behind Washington's historic neighborhoods.

9. While you're there, take in the beautiful fall colors and see the pillars from the original U.S. Capitol that was burned during the War of 1812.

10. Discover a hidden treasure in Montrose Park, and make sure to stroll along Lovers' Lane - a beautiful 18th-century cobblestone path.

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