we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all …

So far on this trip we’ve experienced American music (two music halls of fame), American scenery (Niagara Falls & amazing greenery), American hospitality (time with family & Ralph and Margaret).

DSC01542These past two days, we’ve connected with American history, government and a fair dose of American patriotism and pride, culminating in the traditional 4th July (yes, today) family picnic in the park, music playing and fireworks to complete the day.  The past 24 hours we have been at Colonial Willliamsburg, one of the key centres in the leadup to American independence.   It’s a place Dale and I have wanted to visit for many, many years.  Imagine a historic centre, with streets and buildings faithfully restored to their mid 1770s style, live street theatre capturing the mood and events of the times, lots of fife & drums bands and cannons blasting, people everywhere — it’s that sort of place … and very tastefully done. The “Revolutionary City” drama component down various places of Duke of Gloucester St was superb!  I never thought I’d be moved by a public reading of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, but let me tell you, at 12.30 pm this afternoon, this born-and-bred Aussie sure was.  Dale (born-and-bred in the USA) was too, mind you!

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator witDSC01572h certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

It made all that driving worth it.

Yesterday, was Washington DC day.  It’s the day when your truly (with that supposedly super-organized ‘aura’) really came unstuck.  Having already eaten humble pie when it became apparent that no – we hadn’t been defrauded through a sham tour booking – the tour was real; I discovered why the tour bus didn’t pick us up at our hotel at the pre-arranged 9.05 am.  Why?  I accidentally booked the 6-hour tour for the day before!

DSC01494Anyhow, apart from one significant setback, the All Aboard DC tour was superb, taking in all the obvious sights of central Washington DC: war memorials, memorials to Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and FD Roosevelt, Capitol Building, White House, Pentagon, Smithsonian National Museums (so many of them – and they’ll all free), sight of the 9.11 Pentagon bombing, National Cathedral and much more.

I found parts of the tour incredibly moving:

  • the F.D. Roosevelt Memorial – built primarily with granite (a common building material, so as to reflect FDR’s common touch),DSC01504and strikingly landscaped, complete with quotations scattered throughout from Roosevelt himself.  He was clearly a great man.
  • the Lincoln Memorial – a powerful statue of Abraham Lincoln sits inside it, and meanwhile on the steps leading up, there’s recognition of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream …” speech in the early 1960s
  • the powerful landscaping and design of the Korean War Memorial, which like all the other war memorials, far from glorified war.

DSC01595The real downer  2/3 of the way through our tour was Dale’s ankle injury – we think it’s severely sprained, not broken.  It happened as she was alighting from the bus which was parked a bit too far our from the footpath (sidewalk as they say here).  She bent her ankle awkwardly in landing; and was in severe pain thereafter.  This all meant that Dale had (quite literally) an armchair ride of Colonial Williamsburg this day just ended – through the services of a wheelchair which we needed to hire.  The good news is that the ankle injury is (very) gradually improving.  We pray it’s well-and-truly in 6 days time when we begin our “homeward bound” air travel.

Tomorrow – we begin the trip back to Dale’s folks in Ohio, stopping along one of the interstates overnight – well, not literally!

What a day, another one full of history, meaning … and oh … refills of apple cider throughout the day (think apple juice), and not to forget Taco Bell for dinner.  See y’all.

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