Siblings' Visit to Jim & Jo's
April 2006 Part 1 of 5
On April 19, 2006 I flew to the Baltimore-Washington Airport, where Jim and Jo met me in the beautiful
new terminal. We arrived at their home just seconds after Lois, Chuck and Helen arrived after driving
from Pittsburgh. The next morning we all piled in Chuck's Buick and drove to Wheaton and boarded the
Metro for the ride to Union Station in downtown Washington, D.C.
We exited the metro at Washington's magnificent UNION STATION. Here is a view of the huge main
room . I understand that , after the decline in railroad passenger traffic, there was a plan to tear it down,
but, an uproar from the public resulted in its refurbishment and creation of over 200 shops and restaurants.
It is still a main hub for Amtrak and the Metro, and it bustles! It is very large and beautiful, but the restrooms
could be improved! That is an elegant restaurant sitting in the middle of this room.
Back in the early 1950s, when I was a young engineer living in Brooklyn, I very frequently
traveled by train between New York City to this station. It was great! I also traveled to this station
many times when I was in the Navy during WW2, so I have many fond memories of this place. I
included this photo because it is very similar to one I took in 1950, printed, and had hanging on our
walls for many years.
This is the main entrance and it faces the Capitol. We purchased tickets for the shuttle that travels between the
major tourist sites. It cost $20 each and is good for the whole day-- getting on and off as many times as you like.
This is a photo, from the shuttle bus, of the Jefferson Monument.
Here we see the Washington Monument in the distance. It is so tall that it
is difficult to get a good photo when close to it.
Our first stop was at the new Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. Here is the controversial bronze
statue of FDR sitting in his wheelchair. During his presidency, he was never shown in a
wheelchair or with crutches, though he used them all the time. So the original plan for the
statue did not have a wheelchair, thinking that since he did not want to be seen like that when
he was alive, why not honor his wish after he is dead. However, there was turmoil from the
handicapped and others who maintained that his achievements were even greater since they
were performed under this huge handicap. So the wheelchair was included, and I agree.
And here Jim poses with his old buddy, Frank!
Here a member of the public sits by the radio listening to one of FDR's many "Fireside Chats".
The monument is a very large area with huge grey stone wall and fountains and waterfalls everywhere.
There are several zones representing different periods in his life.
These statues represent the widespread unemployment, hunger and poverty in the great
depression of the 1930's. These men are lined up waiting for the soup kitchen to open.
Jim is standing by his old buddy FDR again.
Here is a statue of Eleanor, his world famous wife and help mate. A great person in her own right.
Helen and Jim
Waiting for the shuttle bus. Jim, Helen, Lois, Chuck and Jo.
Here you see the shuttle bus with its open windows. It is fine except that most of its
route can be snarled with the normal Washington traffic.
Our next stop is at the new World War II Memorial. It is in the center of the Mall, about halfway
between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. It straddles the reflecting pool,
and many people opposed putting it there. There is also, as you might expect, some differences about
the design of the Memorial itself. I thought it was good, especially on this beautiful sunny day, but Jim
didn't like it at all.
It is centered around this beautiful pool, with many waterfalls and fountains.
Jim and Jo with a nice waterfall behind.
See, here is proof that I was there, You should all be able to recognize Jim, by now,
so that will help you guess which one is me, Tom.
Continued on Part 2