Wednesday, August 01, 2012

In front of the
Holocaust Museum
We started the day at 8:30 after a much needed rest. We were able to find a 24-hour Safeway supermarket and went shopping for lunches and some fruit. It was just 3 blocks away from the INN and very convenient. Instead of walking to the National Mall, we chose to use the Washington D.C. Metro subway system. Every city should have this kind of transportation system available to its residents. We were able to get to the Smithsonian Metro Station without any hassel and made our way to the U.S. Holocaust Museum. I remember going to the Holocaust Museum when it originally opened in 1993 It's hard to believe that it is now celebrating its 20th anniversary. Time does fly. It turns out that the museum will launch a  four-city tour to educate people nationwide about their work and its continuing relevance of the Holocaust. The tour will be in Los Angeles on November 18, 2012 at the Skirball Cultural Center, so mark your calendars.

Needless to say the visit to the Holocaust Museum was a sobering but enlightening experience. One looks at that time in 20th Century History with wonder and awe. How did a small group of fanatics, the Nazi's,  turn so many countries into murdering nations? It defies belief. Obviously, the evidence is so overwhelming, it is also a wonder that anyone could deny that the Holocaust happened. The collection covers 3 floors of the enormous building. As we worked ourselves from floor to floor, we found there is still so much to learn about what happened. I'm glad to say there were quite a few visitors there and lots of young people.

If you recall from yesterday's entry, we had made arrangements with Congresswoman Bono-Mack's office for a tour of the U.S. Capital. We had a 2 p.m. appointment, so at 1 p.m. we left the Holocaust Museum and made our way to the Cannon House Office Building. We decided to walk, so we made our way the 2 miles along Independence Avenue to the Capital. As luck would have it, as we passed the National Air and Space Museum (the rear of the building), their observatory was open and volunteers were giving visitors views of the Sun. We spent a few minutes with them, looking at the Sun and talking about the telescopes they had at their disposal. Inside the dome is a 15" telescope on loan from the Harvard Obervatory. Very impressive.

Center of Washington D.C.
We set out again for the congressional offices and found Bono-Mack's office right on time. We met our tour guide, John Klarin. We also had the pleasure of meeting Joel Thayer, a Staff Assistant to Ms. Bono-Mack. I must say, we were treated just great. The staff was warm and welcoming and we enjoyed a few minutes in the office talking about their jobs and what they did during the summer. Unfortunately, Ms. Bono-Mack was on the floor of the House and unavailable to say hello.

John took us through a variety of tunnels from the office building to the capital building itself. It was interesting to hear many of the stories John had to tell us. We had a chance to visit the original U.S. Supreme Court rooms, the early House and Senate chambers and everything in between. One interesting stop and location of the actual "center" of the
U.S. Capital. Here one can stand on a spot which marks the beginning of the four main quadrants of the city. 

John Klarin, self, Linda and Joel Theyer
Congresswoman Bono-Mack's  Office
After a 15 minute film in the Visitor Center's Theater, we had an opportunity to go into the Gallery of the House of Representatives. There were only about a dozen members in attendance. The discussion was about "taxes" -- as seems to be the usual case. At one point John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives, spoke on the subject for about 5 minutes. His comments were what one would expect. Nothing new, but vastly interesting. It was great to see our "government in action" -- or would that be "inaction"?? (of course I'm kidding).  We spent around 2 1/2 hours with John. The tour of the Capital was fascinating and we were both glad we took the time to keep our appointment with these fine young people.

I must say that everyone, everywhere in the Capital, was friendly and helpful. We joked with  the Capital Police, had a fine time with the interns and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I heartily recommend that, if you have an opportunity to visit Washington D.C., to take the time to call your Representative and make arrangements for a tour. If you're interested in a Pentagon or White House tour, contact them 6 months in advance. Those reservations are hard to get.

Tomorrow we'll be leaving Washington for New York City by train. So, "stay tuned". As always -- more to follow.....