My Washington D.C. Trip

By Daniel Mondelli

Washington Monument

This 555-foot marble obelisk tower was built to honor the first president of the United States, George Washington. It looks over Washington, D.C. and is quite a sight to behold. The monument is made out of marble, granite, and sandstone and has two different colors. This is because when the monument was under construction in 1854, the Washington National Monument Society ran out of money and the project had to be postponed. After 25 years, the U.S. Government took over and completed the upper two-thirds of the structure by the time of 1884, using marble from a different quarry.

Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial is a national monument that was created to built to honor the United States' 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. The construction of this monument began on Lincoln's birthday, February 12th, 1915. The monument's architect was Henry Bacon. The Lincoln Memorial was heavily Greek-inspired, including 36 columns and Lincoln's statue inside of a Greek temple-like structure. Daniel Chester French designed the statue of Lincoln, which was 99 feet in height in total, also the sculpture of the sitting Abraham Lincoln himself was 19 feet. He and carved it out of marble by the Piccirilli Brothers and Jules Guerin painted the murals on the interior of the monument.

The Jefferson memorial was designed by John Russell Pope in 1925 and resembles the Pantheon in Rome, which is the type of architecture that Thomas Jefferson favored himself. The monument is located in West Potomac Park by the Tidal Basin, a large body of water that is surrounded by the infamous cherry blossom trees in D.C. The memorial is meant to exhibit his various achievements in law, politics, science, language, meteorology, book collecting, architecture, farming, and diplomacy. The memorial was built in 1943 and still exemplifies Jefferson's ideals and accomplishments today. The walls of the memorial contain readings from some of Jefferson's many texts, expressing his ideas of religious freedom on one wall and the significance of adjusting laws to adapt to changing times on another. Possibly the most important text is on the southeast wall, which quotes the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

Vietnam and World War II Memorial

The Vietnam Memorial consists of a long, polished black granite wall containing 58,267 names of veterans and military that served in the Vietnam War. It was designed by an undergraduate named Maya Ying Lin, who wanted to make a peaceful "park within a park". The walls of the memorial have an almost mirror-like surface, reflecting the images of the neighboring trees, lawns, monuments, and visitors.

The World War II Memorial honors the service of sixteen million members of the U.S military, the support of countless men in the homefront, and the sacrifice of 405,399 Americans. The granite, bronze, and water of the memorial complement the surrounding landscape of lawns, trees, and shrubbery. The memorial is an architectural wonder, consisting of Fifty-six granite columns, split between two half-circles encasing the Rainbow Pool and it's fountains, bronze ropes tying the columns together, bronze oak and wheat wreaths, Two 43-foot tall pavilions, and some hidden treasures such as the infamous "Kilroy was here " graffiti.

U.S. Capital

This largely famous building spans well over 1.5 million square feet, has over 600 rooms, and many miles of corridors. The top of this monument is crowned by a large white dome that overlooks the city of Washington and has become a largely recognized icon of the American people and government. The design of the capitol was selected by President George Washington himself in 1793, and construction ensued shortly after. The building has been built, rebuilt, extended and restored various times, and has been the meeting place of the Senate and House of representatives for over two centuries. On top of the U.S. Capitol's use by Congress is a museum of American art and history, which is estimated to be visited by around 3-5 million people from around the world each year. With designs heavily inspired by ancient Greece and Rome, the Capitol is the epitome of 19th-century neoclassical architecture. The purpose of the building is to represent the symbolically important and architecturally impressive buildings in the nation, one of which has remained a symbol of American society till today.
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The American History and Holocaust Museum

The Ameican History Museum was originally named The National Museum of History and Technology but was renamed in October of 1980 to more accurately depict its interests. The museum contains many exhibits on a wide range of topics. Some of these exhibits include; The Electricity Hall, The Value of Money exhibit, which is shaped like a vault, the America on the Run exhibit, the Spark!Labs exhibit, and much more. My favorite display in this museum was the America on the Run exhibit. This is because stepping in the halls of the display was just like stepping back in time, where the cars were a lot older-looking and people wearing clothes of the time period. In this display, I saw how transportation in America improved and was revolutionized, and how many people would get around in that time period. Overall, the many displays on various topics and amazing look of the entire museum made this one of my favorite stops on the trip.

The Holocaust Museum is a living memorial for the tragedy that was the Holocaust. The museum promotes human dignity, preventing genocide, and confronting hatred to ensure that nothing as catastrophic as the Holocaust could ever happen again. The main part of the building is designed to look similar to a concentration camp that people who fell victim to Hitler's mass genocide and weren't considered as part of his ideal, Aryan race were forced to endure through. The museum contains many permanent and temporary exhibits, such as Remeber the Children: Daniel's Story, an extensive research library and archives, two theaters, the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, a Children's Tile Wall, classrooms, the Hall of Witness, a memorial space, the Hall of Remembrance, and an education center. The Permanent Exhibition The Holocaust spans three floors of the Museum building and depicts the full history of the Holocaust through historical documents, artifacts, photographs, film footage, historical and personal photographs, oral and video histories, and more. My favorite part about this museum was the exhibit named "Remeber the Children: Daniel's Story". It told the tragic story of a Jewish child named Daniel who lived during the holocaust and shows how the Hitler was able to accomplish his hateful deeds. I also liked this display because it can be comprehended by children and adults alike, making sure that everyone can understand how much of a terrible act this was, and how it should never be forgotten.

Arlington National Cemetery

Located on Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s confiscated estate, the Arlington National Cemetery spans across 624 acres of land and is home to over 400,000 servicemen and women from every war in U.S. history who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The museum also holds graves of 3 enemy combatants from WWII and nearly 4,000 former slaves. More than 3 million tourists and visitors pass through the cemetery annually, and an average of 25 burials are performed there per day. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a tomb that contains a soldier that has not been identified and symbolizes all of the American service members who have died without their remains being recognized and for those of America who gave their lives in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War in defense of the U.S. nation. Also in the Arlington National Cemetery is the Kennedy gravesite, which honors the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and various members of his family. The eternal flame is next to the graves of John F. Kennedy, his unnamed daughter who didn't survive pregnancy, and Patrick Kennedy and is meant to honor them.

The White House

The White House is the official home for the U.S. president and was designed by an Irish-born architect named James Hoban in the 1790s. It has been evolved upon and changed by many presidents and currently has many recreational facilities, such as including a tennis court, jogging track, swimming pool, movie theater, and bowling lane. Construction of the White House began when the first cornerstone was laid in October of 1792 by President George Washington. Although George Washington began the building of the monument, he never actually lived in it. Not until 1800 when John Adams was president was the nations' president allowed to live in the White House.The White House functions as a palace, an office for many forms of government meetings, and residential building for the president and their family. The building survived two fires and has stood as a strong symbol of the U.S. Presidency, the United States government as a whole, and the American people.
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The White House ↑

The National Zoo

The National Zoo is located in the heart of Washington D.C. (3001 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008) and was established on March 2, 1889, by an Act of Congress for in order to advance scientific knowledge and increase recreation for people and tourists. Since then, exhibits containing living animals and plant collections have been added and research has been conducted in conservation biology and reproductive science. The zoo spans across 163-acres and has more than 2 million people visit annually. 2,000 different animals that are a part of more than 400 species are housed in the National Zoo, including giant pandas, many species of fish, beavers, river otters, gray seals, California sea lions, brown pelicans, gray wolves, bald eagles, bison, sloth bears, fishing cats, red pandas, clouded leopards, Asian small-clawed otters, a Japanese giant salamander, and many more. Almost a quarter of all of the animals located in the zoo are on the endangered species list, including the giant panda, which the National Zoo is hoping to increase their numbers and help return them back into the wild. The National Zoo was the first zoo to ever conduct scientific research to help certain species of animals to not be extinct. My favorite animal at the National Zoo was the giant pandas. This is because I always liked pandas and seeing them in person made me like them even more, especially the baby giant panda in the exhibit. I learned that the giant pandas could climb trees and even saw one climb up a tree and jump off of it. I thought that was incredible, and learned a lot about the many animals living in the zoo that day.

The Dinner Cruise

My favorite part of the cruise was when we were eating dinner at the tables inside the boat. This part if the cruise was my favorite because I had a lot of fun talking to friends and laughing while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the water and bridges and the view we had of monuments and buildings. I also liked the food that I ordered on the cruise, which was the meat lasagna. Overall, the dinner cruise was a very fun experience and one which I will never forget.

Travel and Hotel

Our leprechaun bus driver was fun and nice. As I was trying to take a picture of him for this project, he turned away and said that the last kid who took a picture of him ended up getting their screen cracked. Despite these possible self-esteem issues, he was a very nice guy and a good bus driver. My group was comprised of Garett Eckert, Konnor Futrell, Adam-Parker Chan, and me. My group was okay and we had a lot of fun walking around in D.C. looking in museums and at monuments and memorials. Our hotel room was nice...until people started to take their shoes off which had been collecting smell from walking in D.C. Other than that, the rooms were nice and had an amazing view of a neighboring parking garage. We stopped at the Molly Pitcher Rest Area in New Jersey, which was okay, and stopped at other rest areas coming back from D.C. and in the Reagon Building. We also had to stop and wait at another rest area because one of the buses broke down. After that, we were back on the road again to Pine Bush. Overall, the travelling in the buses was extremely fun due to who I was sitting near, and the hotels and breakfast there was pretty good.

Overall, the 2016 Crispell Washington D.C. Trip was very fun, and an unforgettable experience, one that I am very grateful for.