Did you miss the national parks?

National Archives in Washington, D.C.

Timing is everything. 

I’m glad we were able to visit some national parks in Washington, D.C. recently before the temporary U.S. Government shutdown.  Otherwise, our latest trip would resemble one a few years ago when we visited during the previous shutdown.

It was disappointing during  the shutdown a few years ago – for us and those from around the world – and equally disappointing during the latest shutdown when the public could not visit the parks under the federal government’s control. 

Smithsonian Castle in Washington, D.C.

I thought of those who looked forward to visiting the various national parks, including the pillars of democracy in D.C.  I’m sure they were disappointed again.  I thought about the employees and their families and the struggles they endured.    

Night image of the fountain at the World War II Memorial – no visitors, cold and dreary, reflecting the impact of the shutdown.

I’m glad these parks will open again this week as employees can work without having to wait for their pay.  As I looked at some of these photos they reminded me of the dark times of government when even the parks designed for enjoyment and learning were minimized, when they should be shining bright for freedom.

Washington Monument and part of the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

I’m thankful for local, national and international guests to be able to visit and learn about the United States of America, its uniqueness, its foundation and the desire to help those seeking freedom during the ages. 

May we always be open while protecting those within and without.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Doors of democracy

House Bronze Doors

The bronze doors at the east portico entrance of the U.S. Capitol’s House wing were designed by the American sculptor Thomas Crawford in Rome in 1855–1857.  

The models were shipped from Leghorn, Italy, in 1867 but remained stored in the Crypt of the Capitol until 1903, when they were cast by Melzar H. Mosman of Chicopee, Massachusetts. The doors were installed in 1905.

Each valve consists of three panels and a medallion depicting significant events in American history. More details are at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/uscapitol/6512593605/in/album-72157628429510117/

Senate Bronze Doors   

These bronze doors were created for the east portico of the new Senate wing during the mid-nineteenth-century expansion of the Capitol. They were designed and modeled by the American sculptor Thomas Crawford in Rome in 1855–1857.

After Crawford’s death in 1857, William H. Rinehart was commissioned to complete the work and the models were shipped to America in 1864. They were cast by James T. Ames at his foundry in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in 1864–1868, and placed late in 1868.

Each valve consists of three panels, depicting events in the life of George Washington and Revolutionary War scenes, and an allegorical medallion. More details are at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/uscapitol/6512520301/in/album-72157628429510117/

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Capitol Crypt


The white stone compass star in the center marks where the city’s four quadrants meet. 

Yes, you read this correctly.  There is a place in the U.S. Capitol called the Crypt. 

For a long time the term has referenced the space below the main floor of a church or a chamber in a mausoleum.  We often think of a crypt as a place for burial, right?

Why the capitol then?  It is something different. The Crypt contains 40 smooth Doric columns of sandstone, which support the arches holding up the floor of the Rotunda,  the large, domed, circular room located in the center of the Capitol on the second floor. 

The columns are modeled on the Temple of Poseidon, which were the shortest and the strongest columns that survive from classical Greece.

The sandstone floor hosts hundreds of people visiting every day from around the world.  The white stone compass star in the center marks where the city’s four quadrants meet. 

Sandstone used in the U.S. Capitol

Around the perimeter are statues of prominent individuals from the nation’s original 13 colonies.  Display cases present exhibits and historic objects.

The Crypt was associated with a proposed interment even before it was built. After the death of President George Washington in 1799, Congress resolved to honor him in the Capitol.

A chamber for the remains of the first president and his wife was added to the plans for the center section of the building and constructed two stories below the Rotunda. Directly above the tomb, where the center of the Crypt is located, was to be placed a marble statue of Washington.

A 10-foot circular opening was left in the center of the Rotunda floor so that visitors could view it from above. However, Washington’s grave remained at Mount Vernon in accordance with his wishes, and no statue of him was ever placed in the Crypt.

Because the 10-foot opening allowed persistent drafts and dampness into the Rotunda, it was sealed in 1828.  https://www.aoc.gov/blog/how-crypt-got-its-name

George Washington truly represented our nation and its values well.  He didn’t want to become a king but simply wanted to return to his civilian life after his term was over so others could be elected president. 

Maybe our political leaders should revisit the ideals of President Washington in providing selfless service for the people. 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Tru life

Work stations while enjoying a stay at Tru Hotel

It’s new, at least to me.  Have you stayed at Hilton’s Tru Hotel yet.  I had my first stay during our trip to Washington, D.C.

I don’t receive any benefit by writing about Hilton properties but their brands are my preference.  We typically stay at a Hampton Inn and Suites but the Tru Hotel was readily available and the price was right.

Tru Hotel in Sumpter, South Carolina, U.S.

I was impressed.

The open-air lobby was well-lighted and inviting with modern décor and design.  The rooms were immaculate and comfortable. 

The front desk was in the center of the lobby surrounded by snacks, breakfast bar area, work spaces, seating areas and recreation.  This stay was during the Christmas season so the tree was nicely adorned with matching colors.

The Tru Hotel we stayed in was in Sumpter, South Carolina. 

I enjoyed every aspect of our stay at Tru.  Now you have more information in case you wondered.  More details and photos are available at https://tru3.hilton.com/en/our-story/index.html.

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Days of Political Civility?

U.S. Capitol Old Senate Chamber
Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol

One of the best tours I’ve had in Washington, D.C. was recent at the U.S. Capitol.  It’s always nice to go back and hear of the efforts, struggles and successes of our democracy. 

U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

I especially enjoyed seeing the legislative seats from the past.  I tend to ponder how civil they were back years ago compared to the debates (mostly bickering and arguing) of today.  I’m sure there were some heavy discussions back then but maybe they accomplished a lot, ensuring the best interest of the nation.

Old Senate Chamber in U.S. Capitol

To me, there is something special about the old senate chamber.  Can you imagine the conversations and debates in this respected meeting place? 

During the senate’s residence in this chamber from 1810 to 1859, it grew from a small advisory council to the primary forum for the great national debates of the mid-19th century—an era known as the Senate’s “Golden Age.” Here the “Great Triumvirate” of Senators Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, Henry Clay of Kentucky and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina fiercely debated the issues of slavery, territorial expansion, and economic policy affecting the new nation. The Senate became the sounding board for the nation, and its galleries were packed with visitors hoping to witness these memorable proceedings. In this chamber senators forged a series of compromises that held the Union together in the four decades prior to the Civil War.  (Check out more of the history at https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/resources/pdf/Old_Senate_Chamber.pdf)

A good video of the senate chamber is provided by C-Span at https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4633919/senate-chamber.

Do you think the debates in the old senate chamber were different from the debates in the current senate in the U.S. Capitol?

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

2019 – up or down?

Escalator going upward from Washington, D.C. Metro’s Woodley Park Station

We reflect, we ponder, we question,

What was and could have been.

Did we do our best and did we succeed,

Throughout the year 2018?

Was your year a downward or upward climb,

Wondering which way to go?

Washington, D.C. Metro transfer station awaiting the next connection

We can learn from our thoughts, failures and success of the past,

And move onward and upward to our new vision and dream.

But the way may be rough; we may not know when to arrive,

The ride may be steep, weighted down and steps untold;

Determine what drives us and gives us peace,

As we see a plan and way unfold.

Maybe we’ll have the escalator, ride the Metro or even walk;

The direction may be downhill and not a struggle upward.

Let’s make the move, not stand still, leaving the past and moving ahead.

Starting anew – with love, joy peace and guidance from above. 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Holiday special – replica train depots and life

Salt Lake City Union Pacific Depot , Utah

One of the unique items I found at the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. was a varied display of train depot replicas made with natural materials. Combined with these depots were trains running throughout the display area.

I really liked the festive, natural environment around the displays – with all the holiday color and excitement. Take a look.

Don’t you enjoy the hometown feeling as you look at this artwork and seeing the trains move about the tracks? There seems to be something magical about trains. They tend to let us escape from our stress a little – maybe giving us a sense of taking a trip.

Here is a little video clip of the various trains in the U.S. Botanical Garden and Conservatory.

Replica of Union Station in Washington D.C., made of natural materials

Also, while walking through the Union Station in Washington, D.C. we liked their decorations in the central hall. Travelers were scurrying about to reach their destinations. They appeared to like the festive displays, which provided a little brightness in their day.

So, let’s take a ride and escape the pressures – enjoy the beauty, enjoy the season – remembering the efforts God made to bring peace to this world, allowing us to cast our cares upon Him.

Yes, life gets busy, especially during occasions like Christmas and various holiday celebrations. But, let’s not forget to pause some, enjoy the ride, the sights, the sounds of life all around.

Each of us has our own spiritual thoughts and beliefs as we all have freedom of choice. I choose to believe in and trust in the one born to give us abundant and eternal life – Jesus Christ. We can have peace and love, even in the midst of the traveling and the stress of life.

Where is your train depot and which journey do you want to take?

Blessings and Love along the way!

Ron