Despite the orange man sitting in the White House, I still think DC is a cool place to visit. I love the museums, restaurants, and the overall vibe of the city. Putting politics on both sides of the aisle to rest for a few days, let’s see what DC can do for you or me.
For starters, have you ever seen the Lincoln Book Tower? It is 34 feet tall, and made up of 6800 books. It is located at the Ford’s Theater Center for Education and Leadership (511 10th Street, NW). About the closest comparison I can make it is the guitar tower at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly the EMP) in Seattle.
Who was Kilroy? He was the ubiquitous war doodle, a bald-headed, long-nosed man, peering over a wall. He is often accompanied by a scribble, “Kilroy was here.” Did he really bolster the morale of our troops overseas? The National Park Service has hidden the doodle in two places at the Mall’s WW2 Memorial. Answer below, if you must.
Would you believe there is a bonsai here that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima? One of the trees at the Arboretum’s National Bonsai and Penjing Museum stands small as a symbol of resilience. The bonsai, a Japanese white pine that’s nearly 400 years old, was grown within two miles of where U.S. forces dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945. It was gifted to the United States in 1975, but the museum’s curators didn’t realize the connection until 2001, when the grandsons of the man who donated the tree came to visit and told the story of how it had survived the bomb blast and radiation. It makes one think about how a miniature tree could survive the blast, and how it’s become a monument to the people who did not. World War II wasn’t the first war the bonsai had endured — and probably isn’t the last, either.
While we are here, who was actually born in DC (Or can you say, really born in the USA?)? How about former Warrior Kevin Durant, Marvin Gaye, Samuel L. Jackson, Al Gore, Duke Ellington, Louis CK, Al Gore, Stephen Colbert, Olympic hero Katy Ledecky, Maury Povich, Goldie Hawn, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Elgin Baylor, Pete Sampras, Maury Wills, John Philip Sousa, John Foster Dulles, Connie Chung, J. Edgar Hoover, and Harold Soloman.
Now for my many bibliophile friends:
Did you know you can get a library card for the Library of Congress? The free “Reader Identification Card” gives you access to the Library’s research areas and generally makes you a bookish badass. Settle in to a reading room and dig up some history. I think I will do this!
In summary, there is way too much to do here. I have not even mentioned the Smithsonians, free concerts and lectures, or tours of various government agencies. Add to that, a hop on, hop off bus tour, just to get re-acquainted with the sites. And I know I will find some music as well.
This is a wonderful place!
Answer to Kilroy: No luck finding Kilroy on your own? Spot him near the Pennsylvania marker in a walled-off area at the back of the memorial (Lincoln Memorial side), above the metal grating. Another Kilroy marking is hidden opposite the golden gate (facing the Washington Monument).