Sunday, June 30, 2013

Washington DC

   After successfully cutting loose from Britain in the War of Independence, the newly-formed United States of America needed a capital city with all the trimmings that reflected a democratic republic. George Washington chose this site on the upper reaches of the Potomac River. Since then an extensive array of impressive museums, monuments, war memorials and attractions have sprouted up along the mile-long National Mall from the Lincoln Memorial to Capitol Hill, quite something to behold
. We anchored in the scenic harbour, just outside the Washington Monument 
and were immediately welcomed by Scott, Vice Commodore of the Capital Yacht Club nearby.
This charming club housed the most hospitable and helpful group of sailors we have met anywhere on our travels. A potluck buffet was underway in which we were eagerly invited to indulge in. Sailor Rob offered to lend us his bikes and we planned our visit to the capital a few blocks away. Sister Mary from Vancouver Island arrived to join us on our excursions and we were off exploring next morning.

FDR Memorial with pet doggy
  A cycle path around the lake takes one through a string of breathtaking memorials commemorating the turbulent history of the nation. Starting with the immense domed pillars of the Jefferson
Memorial it winds along the lake to the poignant
Martin Luther King Memorial, the emotional Korean War Memorial of bronze soldiers wading through a jungle swamp, the World War One and Two Monuments, and the startling length of the Vietnam Wall, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt edifice, and finally the great man himself, Abraham Lincoln. The massive, imposing statue of the seated Lincoln reflects the integrity of this powerful leader during the Civil War and his enduring beliefs in liberty, equality and justice for all.
The Lincoln Memorial

Korean War Memorial

Freedom Box used by escaping slaves as cargo on ships and trains
At the Smithsonian we read how the founding fathers, along with George Washington, had shaped the Declaration of Independence and the ideals of a Democracy, and how over 160 years later the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr. was still fighting for freedom and equal rights for all races and individuals. When the great orator wrote his "I Have a Dream' speech, he could not have imagined a day where people of all races and faiths could walk together and share the same pride in their nation. Martin Luther King Jr. is gone, sadly, but his quest continues. With our visit to the Holocaust Museum, and the tragedy of the Jewish people, it had been a very emotional few days and one not soon forgotten.
1960's African American 'Sit In' at the Woolworth counter    

Martin, Luther King Memorial wall


Naval Academy Cadets Annapolis
       We concluded out tour of the capital with the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Air and Space Museum (all free!), although we had barely scratched the surface of all that Washington D.C. has to offer. A quick stop at The Dubliner found us raising our glasses to its most famous patron, Obama himself. As we raised anchor for our trip back up the Chesapeake we saluted our man in the Whitehouse and bid our American neighbours future peace and prosperity!

Obama'a Local

Homeward bound we set sail down the Potomac River with stops at Alexandria, George Washingtons' Plantation at Mount Vernon and around to Solomons Island where we tucked in for a couple of days before moving north again up the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis.

Weds night racing Annapolis

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