Presidents alive and dead

Bush funeral cortege.

We tripped over the GHW Bush funeral cortège this morning. Setting out for the Air and Space Museum we came to Pennsylvania Avenue only to find our way blocked by military trucks and police cruisers. The entire Avenue was closed off and it was only after chatting with other people gathered at the roadside that we worked out what was happening.

The news reports have described the cortège moving past crowds at the roadside gathered to pay their respects. At least where we were, the crowd was about 50-50 split between people paying respects and people waiting to cross the road. The cortège was packed with presidents and was pretty impressive. The only president we saw was George Bush who was waving to the crowd as the cars swept past.

Air and Space Museum.

Resuming our day, we spent most of the rest of it at the Air and Space Museum seeing iconic artefacts of the early days of, well, air and space. After ten days of seeing such things I’m getting pretty fluent in the story, Cal of course already was. But seeing the actual things involved in the story is a thrill. Actual parts of the original Wright Flyer, the Spirit of St Louis, a V2 rocket, the list just goes on.

The Museum is just amazing for the range of original artefacts that it holds, and we spent a great day with them. Sadly, though, the surrounding part of the exhibits, the text and explanations and so on, are looking a bit tired and dated. Still, a great day.

It’s a beautiful clear day in Washington and we walked down the Mall to the Lincoln Memorial. With ‘beautiful, clear’ comes ‘cold’, so we walked fast.

I love the Lincoln Memorial, it is stunning in its simplicity and inspiring in its majesty. Lincoln’s words around the founding of the modern United States are magnified when you realise that Martin Luther King told the World he had a dream standing on the steps looking out over the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Memorial. It’s a toss-up whether modern America is a group of people worthy of those ideals and participating in their democracy, or a bunch who just happen to be there waiting to cross the road.

Reflecting pool.

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