American History 101.6

Part 6 of “My Life with Eighth Graders.” To read parts 1-5, Click HERE.

One of my 2008 new year’s resolutions is to finish this series of posts about the trip (with my daughter Emily’s eighth grade class) I took in October of 2007. I’d had the opportunity to accompany the class on several excursions over the past few years, but we saved the best for last: an eight day trip to Jamestown, Williamsburg, Washington D.C., Mount Vernon, Gettysburg and Philadelphia.

A favorite aspect of the trip was our proximity to many of the settings used in the filming of one of Emily’s (and our family’s) favorite films: National Treasure (and others which would play a key role in the sequel, National Treasure: Book of Secrets). We even watched the original on one of our longer bus rides. But on to Part 6…

This was such a full day, I’ll keep the text to a minimum and let the photographs tell the story.

After our visit to Arlington (see Part 5), we headed for the White House. The tour was lots of fun, but we couldn’t bring our cameras in, so we had to settle for a photo opportunity outside the fence.

Craig and Emily at the White House

Emily and me following the tour

Next, we headed over to something which wasn’t there the last time I visited our nation’s capitol: The World War II Memorial. Located on the opposite end of the reflecting pool from the Lincoln Memorial, it is a beautiful combination of stone and water, with recognition given to each state of the union and both theaters of war.

The Main Fountains of the WWII Memorial (below), looking toward the individual towers for the Atlantic states

WWII Memorial Pool

Looking Toward the Washington Monument

Looking across the WWII Memorial pool toward the Washington Monument (above). The section of the memorial dedicated to servicemen and women from my home state of California (below)

WWII Memorial California

Space won’t allow me to go on and on about everything that we saw and visited in one day, but the short list includes the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. Students also had a mid-day choice of one among these three: the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, The National Gallery of Art and the Museum of Natural History.

Our tour of the Capitol building was a real treat. Before we began, we were met outside by the State Representative Dana Rohrabacher, who works for the district in which many of the kids live (below).

Dana Rohrabacher address the group

The amazing mural painting inside the Capitol rotunda (below)

Mural inside the Capitol rotunda

Following the tour, United States Senate Chaplain Barry Clayton Black addressed (educated, charmed and entertained is more like it) the students for nearly a half hour on the Capitol steps. At the conclusion of his presentation, the students posed for the obligatory group photo with the seat of our national government in the background.

Senate Chaplain Black

Chaplain Black addresses the students and chaperones (above). The students pose in front of the Capitol (below)

The Group at The Capitol

As the sun set, we were off for another “new addition” to the monuments of Washington D.C., the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which is set up more like a discovery walking experience than a traditional monument. Bronze statues of FDR, Eleanor and Fala (the family dog) are joined by figures representing the social issues during his record-length administration.

These figures are arranged thematically, and the entire memorial is accented by many different water elements and rough-cut stone walls with famous quotes carved into them.

FDR Memorial Wall

The entrance to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial (above)

FDR Statue

The solitary figure of FDR looks out across a segment of his memorial (above). I took a moment to help a victim of the Great Depression tune his radio to one of FDR’s fireside chats (below)

Craig tuning in to FDR

Ford’s Theater was closed for refurbishment (fortunately, the only time we struck out on the entire trip), but we were able to check out the Peterson House across the street, where President Lincoln was taken after being shot by John Wilkes Booth.

Ford’s Theater Closed Sign

We got some bad news outside of Ford’s Theater, but nowhere near as bad as President Lincoln received inside in April of 1865

For Part 7, click HERE.

craig hodgkins


~ by Craig Hodgkins on January 26, 2008.

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