Another day in the Capital. We not only have a nor'easter happening, we have a hurricane on the way. Coastal Flooding, Flash Flooding – my brand new weather radio is going nuts. At least I know it works. What this means is cold, windy and rain, rain, rain. Forecast is for tons of rain in the next couple of days. That is ok, I'm just going to slosh around – got my rain coat, nothing can stop me.
Getting to be an old hand at this public transportation thing. Got the bus, got on the green line subway, transferred to the orange line – I was rocking it.
First up is the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. This is one of two places in the US of A where all the money is printed. This place prints 800 million dollars a day. Inconceivable. I happened to be first in line to get on the tour. Almost immediately, about twenty orthodox Jews got in line behind me. Followed by some Asians, followed by some women in hajib. There were about forty people in line half of them kids. Quite a cross section of America.
First you watch a short film that explains the process and the security around the printing. Then you get to go in and actually watch the money getting printed. There is something so fascinating about assembly line machinery. It makes you just marvel at how resourceful humans are. If you have seen how newspapers are printed, some of the machines looked like that with sheets of money ripping through. Of course the tour ended up in the gift shop.
Back out into the rain and got myself on the Circulator. The Circulator is a bus that “circulates” around the mall and you can get off and on at various stops along the way. The Circulator is something that DC used to have but all the tour buses complained and they stopped. I lucked out because the Circulator just started up again six weeks ago and it only costs a dollar for two hours of circulating.
I used the Circulator to pick up some Monuments that I hadn't seen in all the trips to DC that I have done in the past.
|View of Washington from the steps - what a dreary day|
Next stop was the Martin Luther King Memorial. On the side of the stone bearing MLK's likeness, there is a quote from the “I Have a Dream” speech - “Out of the Mountain of Despair, a Stone of Hope” which serves as the basis for the monument's design. There are fourteen other inspirational quotes along the back wall.
Onto the WWII memorial. I found this memorial rather moving. There are 56 granite pillars arranged in a semicircle around a plaza with two arches on opposite sides. One is labeled “Pacific”, the other “Atlantic” .
|Today I seemed to have camera tiltitus|
|The pillars are all labeled with a state's name|
On one side of the plaza is The Freedom Wall. The wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died or were missing in the war. That would be a total of 404,800 lives lost – only the Civil War had a greater loss of life. Half a million people and that is just the American toll.