Day 3: July 3, 2006
A Day at the Mall



I noticed this diner yesterday and thought it worth a try for breakfast. It's set up real diner style with the grill right behind the counter; Pretty good food; On US-1 south of I-495.

The Zero Mile Marker gets a lot of use as a camera platform but very little attention. As I moved around trying to get a picture, I did hear one man identify the stone to the fellow leaning on it in the first photograph and he did get a "Thank you" for his efforts but, after a brief glance, the stone was once again supporting elbows. Only by being attentive and patient did I get the last picture of the stone actually clear for a fraction of a second.

My next goal was the World War II Memorial on the other side of the Washington Monument. On the way, I passed lines of shiny new portable toilets ready for tomorrow's crowds. All were padlocked to prevent early deposits.

The WWII Memorial is rather impressive. I was last here a couple of months before it opened and it was all hidden behind a fence. Seeing it was a big reason for this stop in DC.

During the war, my Dad drove a Jeep and this is the panel nearest the entrance. He drove that Jeep through the Huertgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge and I saw these names next as I walked into the memorial. I took a picture with Eisenhower's D-Day quote carefully framed and that's what I intended to use here. But, when I sorted through the pictures, the one with the young girl just seemed the better choice. Young girls beat proper framing any day. For the curious, the other photo is here.

There is a registry of veterans and others who contributed to the war effort and access to the registry is provided through touch screens near the memorial. I called up my Dad's entry and snapped a picture. The lighting is horrible, the glare is worse, and smudged finger prints cover the screen. It's a great photograph.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is going on with displays of basket weaving, painting, and dancing. Good music too. And I even got a picture that I can use to connect two unrelated subjects. (The things they're riding are called Segways.)

Republicans: The Bush administration fights rising prices and dependence on foreign oil by placing wells in the National Mall.

Democrats: Oilman George W. Bush doesn't miss a trick in extracting every drop of oil he can find.

The Museum of the American Indian also a short time from opening when I was last here and I wanted to make sure I saw it this trip. A most impressive museum with lots of input from the peoples it represents. A video presentation written by Comanches Paul Smith & Herbert Rosen and presented by Floyd Favel, a Plains Cree, brought this fact to my attention. A museum's subjects rarely get to provide any input at all. Smith & Rosen note that a lot of commonly accepted Indian history is badly distorted and that this museum tries to offer something more accurate. But I was particularly struck by their closing words:
So view what's offered with respect, but also skepticism.
Explore this gallery
Encounter it.
Reflect on it.
Argue with it.
The displays work well with the building and with modern technology. Several displays have touch screens where visible objects are identified and objects out of sight, in easily opened drawers, can be both identified and located.

A little religion and a little whimsy. "How are you like a fish out of water?", the sign asks.

I was now at the end of the Mall near the capitol building so I decided to head for another museum I had missed on my last visit. The Postal Museum is right next to Union Station and I figured to cool off a little at the two story bar inside the station before hitting the museum. Instead, I cooled off at the Capitol City Brewing Company which is ins the same building as the museum. How I missed this in 2004, I'll never know.

The Postal Museum has lots of history, delivery vehicles, and stamps. There are lots of stamps but photographing those is a no-no.

But I still made it to Union Station (I assume that's a University of Maryland Terrapin out front.) and visited that bar before boarding the train back to Greenbelt. Once again I was impressed by the area's marvelous mass transit systems.

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