Day 4: July 4, 2006
Happy 230th



I determined that the currently reported location of the wayward Madonna was only about twenty minutes away so spent part of the morning visiting her. Clearly this is not a permanent setting so I guess my memory of any such change was 100% imaginary. I took advantage of this uncommon opportunity to pose with the lady.

I knew that the parade would be on Constitution Avenue and saw that the Metro station at the Navy Memorial, the one I had used yesterday, was as close as any. Amazingly, when I walked from the station to Constitution, I was only one block and thirty minutes from the parade start. There was time for a local news gal to do a brief spot and for me to get a bottle of water then...

...the show was on.

The parade lasted nearly an hour and had something for just about everybody.

Closing out the parade was a group of Hare Krishas making sure every one was in a pleasant mood.

If I wanted to be around for the fireworks, I needed to while away several hours and I was certainly in the right place for that. Not only was the Smithsonian all around me, the scheduled closing time for the museums was extended and ranged as late as 8:30. The Natural History Museum was on my list and it was right across the street. The first choice sure was easy.

I know there's an insect display in here (I saw signs for it.) but I like the big stuff.

Then it was next door to the American History Museum. I got pictures of Washington's sword and Dad's Jeep. Well, that might not really be Dad's Jeep but it looks just like it. The last two pictures are from the America on the Move exhibit which was almost new when I was here in 2004. The section of Route 66 pavement is still there but the spotlight that projected a 66 shield on its surface is burned out (or turned off) and most people walk over it without a hint of its origin. At least the Hamon's sign is still burning.

In its defense, the American History Museum is getting set for a major overhaul. The whole thing will close down after Labor Day and won't reopen until the summer of 2008. Some areas are already closed so I probably shouldn't complain about one light bulb.

The museums were filled with people and, as time went on, they became filled with tired people. Then it started raining and they became overfilled with tired people. The American History Museum started to look like an airport during a blizzard two days before Christmas. When the rain stopped, officials made a defensive move and declared the museums closed. Probably a good decision in the long run but it did mess up my plans for the rest of the day.

Fences divided the area into several sections and a security check was required for entry. Long lines were forming but the mall area never did get all that crowded. Maybe the rains kept the crowd down. At least one fellow was hoping for more rain as he stood ready to sell umbrellas. The Hare Krishna continued to accentuate the positive and had people dancing in the grass. But it is amazing just how boring and, eventually irritating, three words can become no matter how many variations of sequence or rhythm are applied. The last picture is of the back of the stage where the concert MCed by Jason Alexander took place. I could sort of hear it and hung around for a few songs before heading toward the Washington Monument.

The fireworks in DC were nothing special. I've been to plenty of Cincinnati/WEBN Labor Day celebrations and I used to live in bottle rocket range of Rozzi's factory so I suppose my firework standards are pretty high. But I doubt that many would hold up the actual bursting bombs and glaring red rockets as the ultimate in pyrotechnics. But the location! The location was the thing. Watching a rocket's red, blue, or white glare light up the Washington Monument IS something special.

The crowd was large, the trains were packed, and I was pretty much worn out by the time I got to the motel but there was a smile on my face. That was one really nice birthday party.

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