For the People

Some of my Friday adventures, as largely concerning our Capitol building.
pen sketching in my adorable notebook
 
The Metro
metro map
 
 
 Then up an escalator to the platform where we waited for the train.
cuties
 

There I am, and there is comes, streaming up from the west.
I rode backward (it doesn't turn around, just switches directions) watching the land fall away on either side.  The cars swayed a little from side to side in a friendly fashion.  Every few minutes, it stopped for boarding.  Just at the right time, Aunt Karrie told me to stand and look back.  I saw old buildings, the old redskin stadium, and then--glorious!--the Capitol and the Washington Monument rising up from the trees.
can you see it?

Then we were underground.  Mostly it was dark outside the windows, with every few yards a white light against the dark.  When we would come to a stop along the way, there was a dim expanse with a platform and escalators. 
 
When we arrived at Union Station we rode the escalators up to street level where the ceilings were high, and there were dozens of shops along every spoke of the station.  We met Michal there--a very happy meeting; it has been quite a long time since I'd seen her!  She became our tour guide, and a wonderful one at that!
 

blurry, I know, but it captured the moment

Isn't it gorgeous?

We went to a lovely little snack shop where the others got coffee and yogurt cups, and I got a salad and a real old ginger beer.  The flavor was fabulous.  Michal said it was "a leisurely ten-minute walk to the capitol" and we could eat on the grounds. (I felt like pinching myself... did she really just say that?) 


The buildings along the way were magnificent to look at, and always in front of us, peaking over the trees, the dome of our country's capitol building.  As we walked along the sidewalk, Aunt Karrie leaned over to tell me that the man in front of us had said, in his deep African accent, "To  me, this is the most beautiful dome in the world."

we pause along the way by an enormous thing of flowers.
 

I never want to lose this wonder

We found a little spot on the grounds and ate our snack there.  The food was delicious and the view, thrilling.  I could not believe I was sitting under a tree on the capitol grounds, with the dome right over my left shoulder.  That left picture was my view.

I laid down there, just to savor the moment; there in the grass, listening to the sound of someone mowing the capitol lawn.  Then I sat up quickly and turned around because I couldn't keep my eyes off the beauty.  The sky was clear blue, the trees were bright in the sunshine, and a pleasant breeze played with our National flag.  The tall windows shone in the morning light, and the numerous pillars had a stolid beauty.


"A thoughtful mind, when it sees a Nation's flag, sees not the flag only, but the Nation itself; and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the Government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the Nation that sets it forth.” 
--Henry Ward Beecher
And there it is, rising behind me in all its beauty and all it stands for.
And what really gets me is that, in one real way... it's mine.
Of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Each stage of its construction and history...
The agony as people watched it burn.
Lincoln's hope for the country as the architects finished the new dome during the war...
It stands for America,
It stands for Liberty;
It stands for US.

We went into the visitor's center, which is below street level, where we saw the first of the statues.  Each state has two statues, representing important and deceased people from that state.  We were told that the hundred statues began to be too heavy for the statue-room, so some of them were moved to the visitor's center.  Helen Keller (on the left, from Alabama) was the only statue of a child.  On the right is Sakakawea from North Dakota.  The states can periodically change out their statue, and there might be one coming of Amelia Earhart soon! =)
My sticker for the tour!

First there was the introductory video to the capitol.  E Pluribus Unum.  Out of many, One.  The music was stirring, and the filming was breathtaking.  I didn't know America had places quite that beautiful.  There was a brief history of the United States, especially as it concerned the capitol.  The bit about Abraham Lincoln and the architects that continued their work despite the tumult of war, nearly made me cry.  That war, and that president, mean so much more to me now.
 
Then the tour began at the center of the building (that was up one floor from the visitor's center).  At the center of the building is a mighty pillared room with lovely chandeliers, statues, and native stone.
The starting point--the compass rose in the middle of the floor


I was thrilled to learn that this bust of Abraham Lincoln was done by Borglum, the man who carved Mount Rushmore!

We walked on through arches and past ornate pillars, some of which were carved with ears of corn.  We saw where the supreme court used to meet: all ancient tables, and whale-oil lamps.  There were no electric lights in that room; that's it on the top right.
On again, up a beautiful elevator, to the rotunda, where the beauty is almost unspeakable.  Painted ceilings, frescos, shining windows, and giant historic paintings.

The ceiling was painted over a year, on scaffolding like the Sistine chapel; the 360 degree fresco tells the story of America in gorgeous art.

I wonder if people ever outgrow gazing up in wonder every time they come through those arches.  I hope not.  I kept revolving, craning to stare at the enormous expanse of exquisite dome.


We went on to see more statues and pillars, truly architectural beauty that cannot be captured on camera.
And that's all for the capitol~ (See it yourself if you can!)
More to come... Library of Congress, Lincolm Memorial, Gettysburg.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Wonderful . . . and thank you: for taking me there in pictures and script; and for seeing and appreciating the beauty, the meaning and the cost. --Dad
Carrie S said…
Beautiful pictures, Olivia! What a special trip you got to share with your relatives. Glad it was so much fun!
-carrie
Kat said…
Beautiful! I am so glad to see these again here in your post. I am so glad you got to go! Thank you for bringing it back to share with us.
Mrs.Rabe said…
We have visited DC many times living only 2 1/2 hours away, yet we have never toured the capitol. We have been on the floor of the House of Representatives, though!

Deanna