National Historic Landmark: The US Capitol Building

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We went right to the Capitol Building’s ticket booth when it opened, but the day’s walk-up tickets were quickly distributed and we weren’t able to get in. Nowadays, you can reserve free tickets in advance through the Visitors Center online, through some private tour companies or through your senators or congressional representatives.

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Lesson learned in reserving DC tours in advance, we took some photos of the building and surroundings before taking a hop-on and off bus to see the monuments that don’t require reservations. Someday we will go back and take the tour.

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The Capitol building began construction in 1793 and was designed by a physician named Thornton utilizing a neoclassical architectural style. The cornerstone was laid by President George Washington.

2007_1123(010)The British set fire to it during the war of 1812, but heavy rains kept it from being destroyed and it was repaired. From 1850-1868, the building was expanded and a new dome installed to accommodate the growing number of legislators. In 1960, the last expansion brought the Capitol to its current size of over 175 thousand square feet.

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In 1960, the Capitol was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service. From its steps, you have a great view of the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial across the National Mall.

Location: East Capitol St NE & First St SE, Washington, DC 20004

Designation: National Historic Landmark

Date designated or established: 12/19/1960

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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Vietnam Veterans National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets on a hop on and off bus, after stopping at the Lincoln Memorial, we walked over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors those who served in the armed forces, died fighting or went MIA during the Vietnam War. The main section is the Memorial Wall which was completed in 1982. It is inscribed with over 58 thousand names on 144 granite panels.

There is a hushed and somber feeling as you as you follow the path past the wall. The reflective surface was designed to portray the past (the engraved names) and the present (the reflection of those looking at them) simultaneously. There was a veteran on hand helping visitors find names and make rubbings. Some left flowers behind.

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Nearby is a bronze statue named The Three Servicemen depicting three soldiers who appear to gaze at the wall in tribute to their fallen brothers.

Location: 5 Henry Bacon Dr NW, Washington, DC 20245

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 11/13/1982

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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