Washington DC – The Lincoln Memorial

The day after arriving in Washington DC  – the Nation’s Capital – Pookaverse rose groggily after another disturbed night’s sleep on Saturday 23 November. This respiratory virus is nasty. Alison developed it on 05  November – her birthday gatecrashed by your goodwill – and still has it today – 27 November 2012. Rohan developed the virus shortly after his visit to the Kennedy Space Centre – 11 November and still is hacking famously. Pookaverse is now in Philadelphia bordering New Jersey. It is raining hard but the hotel room is so far, so good – at the Penn View Hotel.

Lieutenant General George Washington readies his steed to charge down Pennsylvania Avenue towards 1600…one of the most famous addresses in the world…

Back to Washington. Famously bright and sunny. And Cold. Winter is here. Or there when Pookaverse left it. With a no breakfast deal, Pookaverse ambled towards a compelling statue of George on his horse in Washington Circle. Only until later did we discover that this site is on Pennsylvania Avenue – the Pennsylvania Avenue. Distance from the Great Man’s home – only 0.9 miles.

The south chamber of the Lincoln Memorial displaying a carved inscription of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

The Gregory Hotel and its decorous and comfortable suites and wi-fi nonsense just over a mile. Would it be premature to request three hip-hip-hurrahs for President Obama. Said through an exhaled sigh of relief.

The likeness of Lincoln on a throne of books…”The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.”

That we have been spared another bumbling puppet? Or another fundamentalist christian with their finger on the nuclear trigger – eyes rolled back to their whites in their haunted, sunken sockets – “Just tell me when Lord, just tell me when”.

A popular place to visit …at least 4 million people visit this site every year….according to this source anyway

Another digression. Pookaverse has missed you and there is much to get through.

We found behind another over-priced Starbucks franchise in the George Washington University Hospital. A canteen. Cheap and cheerful that served breakfast for two for under $10. We were disorderly with this cold and joined the pensioners from across the street for Sunday Breakfast.

The Gettysburg Address in full – inscribed in the Southern Chamber…

Without the bingo. Pookaverse learnt later (always later) that the old  George Washington Hospital was located directly across the street from the current site at 901 23rd Street and was where Ronald Reagan was taken after John Hinckley Jr. took a pop at him in 1981.

The Exterior of the Monument…around the top are the names of the 36 states part of the Union at the time of Lincoln’s death – April 15, 1865

Probably not the safest place to be. Washington DC has managed to keep up with the competition as one of the most dangerous cities in the US through the 80’s and 90’s. And if you are going to get your self shot – where do you go? And if you are a gang member who gets himself shot – where does your posse go with the grapes and grapeshot. A little over-cautious. Mmmmm. There were a few people walking around with what appeared to be a Surgeon’s scarf on their head – either too young or too poor looking to be a surgeon. Probably nothing.

A view down towards the Washington Monument and into the reflecting pool….

Right next door is Foggy Bottom – GWU Metro Station that sends trains in overarching loops both East and West across the city. (Be patient nerds – it’s coming soon). West to Arlington Cemetery under the Potomac River. And East to The Lincoln Memorial, National WWII, the extraordinary Korean War Veterans Memorial. Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Washington Monument. The National Mall with the world’s largest congregation of Museums per square mile and Capitol Hill.

Closer to the Reflecting Pool…during a 3-second lull in the crowd

Pookaverse walked instead less than 0.8 miles to the Lincoln Memorial and the most Westerly point of one of the most extraordinary Metropolitan spaces witnessed so far  -The National Mall. Where from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial it is possible to see the reflection of the Washington Monument in the Reflecting Pool while the ivory pate of the United States Capitol building peering furtively from behind. Absolutely riddled with foreign tourists and residents alike.

Alison in a rare moment alone by the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial

Poured upwards of two flights of stairs, it is hard to believe when looking closely at the Doric columns that this memorial is less than 100 years old – dedicated in 1922 after work started in 1914 and revisions to the aspect and size of Lincoln’s statue in proportion to the decorous marble supported by granite exterior were carried out late into construction.

It is Lincoln’s statue that commands attention. It is an unusual posture. In repose? Slumped? On his marble throne. Knees slightly apart. Humble. Patient. Receptive. Only later from Eric – our group guide on the Washington Cycle tour taken the next day (Sunday) – did Pookaverse learn that his large hands form the letters “A” and “L” respectively in sign language.

The Lincoln Memorial at dusk… just as the illuminations come into play

This is not a warrior’s monument.  Lincoln was revered. Though Lincoln was a capable political and military tactician who took keen interest in the communiques from his generals – namely Ulysses S. Grant – as the American Civil War ground on through his second term in office. Subject to many myths and misappropriations.

It appeared to be a Leader’s Monument. For there is power here. Something captured by the sculptor . An understanding? It is an interesting interpretation of a leader. One unexpected and welcome.

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One Response to “Washington DC – The Lincoln Memorial”

  1. jose Says:

    You’ve certainly visited all the well-known sights, loved the photo of Ali by the reflecting pool, sorry you’re both having a tough time with the virus, take care xx

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