Washington, DC – The Tour … and More

I posted about my exciting Wednesday (9/16/2015) in Washington, DC, but I have more memories and pictures besides that one very awesome day!

I want to be able to relive it again and again … so am writing about it now so that I will remember everything in the days to come. Chemo brain … old age … a combination??? I don’t know, but my old noggin doesn’t necessarily retain thoughts and memories like it once did.

I’m not complaining! I just have to make concessions and do things differently so that I have ways to jog the memories.

So, without further adieu, let’s get on with the story!

I arrived in DC on my birthday, 9/15, around one o’clock. I was so grateful that AACR allowed me to go a day early so that I had time to rest and relax … and do some sightseeing! There was no time for sightseeing on the two days that I was there to work.

Politically incorrect or not, Redskin merchandise is everywhere!!

Our – the Dallas Cowboys – arch rivals have DC as their home. Needless to say, when I disembarked from the plane, I entered Redskin Country! There’s a lot of debate about the name of the team, but for now, it remains, the Washington Redskins.

Mandarin Oriental

I was so blessed. AACR contracted for a limo to pick me up at the airport and whisk me to the Mandarin Oriental – my home away from home for 2 nights. It is a gorgeous hotel, exceptional staff, great location, and unbelievable views!



The view out of my room’s window. Jefferson Memorial, Pentagon, and an Air Force monument. Gorgeous! Day or night!


The room itself was not all that exceptional – nice but not that different from most (though, those beds and pillows – VERY comfy!!!!)


The room wasn’t special, but the bathroom sure was!!! It was fabulous! I don’t take baths very often at all, but I took a nice hot bath one night and it was great!


Nice! Separate shower! With fantastic water pressure (better than home!)!


Anyone who knows me will appreciate this one – I love paper and pens!! 🙂 They had nice pens at this hotel!

I ate a few times in the hotel restaurant – the Muze – where the staff was impeccable and the food fabulous!!! I was amazed that they held the restaurant open for me after hours when I arrived. You would have never guessed the staff was working late – they were so friendly and anxious to serve. I ate a crabcake sandwich which was delicious!!!

On Wednesday morning, I returned to the Muze for breakfast, prior to beginning my big day! I am so glad I did since breakfast had to last me until we arrived at the reception that evening. I was hungry, but not as famished as I would have been otherwise! I ate some Eggs Benedict with salmon – again, to die for!!! Wish I had some about right now!!!!! Now, the $8 coffee … it was good … but $8???? If I had looked at the price of coffee, I can assure you I would have been satisfied with water!!!

Night-Time Tour

The last time I was in DC, I didn’t get a chance to see the sights at all. This time, I was fortunate enough to get to go on a night-time tour. I still haven’t seen everything I hope to see in DC, but I got to see a lot. For that, I am very grateful.

I took a ton of pictures and I’m going to post a whole lot of them here. It is an easy way for me to find them and to see them. I hope you enjoy them, too! The tour began at  Union Station. I got there early, so I spent some time exploring.


Union Station – You can catch a train here … or tour buses


Across the street from Union Station



Union Station


Securities and Exchange Commission Building


Union Station – the flags of the Nation


The ceiling inside Union Station – amazing! More than 120,000 sheets of 24-K gold leafing was used to restore the ceiling!!



Many people of all types use the trains! It is a great place to people-watch!
Catch a train, eat, or shop! This is a one -stop center!! And, isn’t it gorgeous? I love the staircase.


Amid the opulence of gold-leafed ceilings, the Nation’s homeless…

The buildings in DC are just so gorgeous. So old and yet so well maintained. It is incredible! There is a feeling when in the Nation’s Capitol that you just don’t feel when you’re in Dallas or Houston or Denver. Power, awe, history … something!

So, the night tour took us either past or to several of the monuments. I have a big desire to see the World War II Memorial, but that desire remains. I didn’t get to see it on this trip either. Maybe next time.

Buckeye – our tour director. He was formerly a school teacher. He was very entertaining and extremely knowledgeable. He was definitely a people-person! He wanted to know a little something about each of us.



The skies, as they turned dark, were gorgeous!

We drove by Memorials and stopped for three. My camera did a pretty good job of capturing scenes as we drove by!  The pictures above were taken through the bus window.  I sat near the bus front door. I might have had better vision and clearer shots if I hadn’t sat down so quickly.

The Washington Monument

I took lots and lots of shots of the Washington Monument. I don’t quite know why, but it fascinates me. Amazingly, you can see this 555-foot marble obelisk that honors our Nation’s first President from all over DC.  I didn’t realize that until the night I took this tour.

I never got close to it. In fact, I had no idea that you could get tickets to go up inside of it. What an awesome experience that would be!! The following quote is copied from Recreation.gov:

Visitors enter the Monument and then ascend via elevator to the 500-foot level to behold sweeping views of the city. Captivating exhibits on the 500- and 490-foot levels illuminate the contrast between historic photographs and modern views, while inviting you to learn more about Washington — the man, the engineering marvel of the Monument, and the design of the city named in his honor. On descent, visitors have the unique experience of viewing selected commemorative stones expressing the sentiments of generations past awed by Washington’s impressive leadership.

Another Monument to add to my Bucket List!!!! Seeing it from afar is grand enough! But, seeing it up close sounds like an experience to remember! Tickets are required if you are going to enter the Monument.



This photo was taken when standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington Memorial sits directly across from it. Notice how the Capitol is also visible.


This picture was taken while we were visiting the FDR Memorial. I thought it was really pretty through the leaves of the tree.

FDR Memorial

The Memorial that honors Franklin Delano Roosevelt covers 7-1/2 acres, which makes it the largest Presidential Memorial on the National Mall. This is a relatively new Memorial. It didn’t open until 1997. It covers the four terms that FDR served as President.

Stricken by polio in 1921, FDR never again walked unaided. I learned tonight that only 5% of those who contracted polio suffered with long-term effects from the disease. Only 1% were permanently crippled by it. My uncle was one of those permanently crippled, as was FDR.




This statute depicts a citizen listening to one of FDR’s famous Fireside Chats. Despite vast poverty affecting our Nation during the Great Depression, citizens remained hopeful for better times.
At the same time, the citizens of our Nation were starving. The deep despair of the Nation was depicted by the bread line. (Unfortunately, I was unable to get a photo when the teens were not acting silly as part of the Memorial. They have no clue what they are laughing at.)
Yes! And this remains true today. Though, in my opinion, socialism is not the answer.


Apparently, FDR loved water. There are waterfalls and pools throughout the Memorial. It provides a peaceful feeling. It also helps cover the noise of Washington’s Reagan National Airport that is nearby.


Naturally, this is my favorite of the statutes! FDR and his Scottie dog, Fala. He was a constant companion of the President. Fala outlived FDR, but was buried beside him when he passed. He is the only dog that earned the permanent honor of being depicted in a National Memorial.


Eleanor played an important role as First Lady as well as the first U.S. Delegate to the United Nations.


Visiting this Memorial at night was striking. However, I am not certain we saw it all. I think we did not. We were not given but a few minutes at each stop so we had to hurry as we viewed them.

The Martin Luther King Memorial is nearby, but I wasn’t entirely sure where. I apparently spent too much time enjoying the FDR Memorial so I did not see it. If I get to go again, I hope I can spend more time at the FDR Memorial and can find the MLK Memorial, as well.

Back to the bus!! A traffic jam caused us to divert first to the Marine Corps War Memorial, instead of the Lincoln Memorial, as planned.

U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

My husband, brother, son, and cousin are all U.S. Marines so I have a real soft spot in my heart for anything Marine! This Memorial is certainly no exception! I had seen it several times, but never had the opportunity to get out and get up close to it. I was very glad our bus tour took us there and gave us 15 minutes or so to enjoy it.



This statute cost $850,000 and was paid for by the US Marine Corps, friends of the Marine Corps, and members of the Naval Service. Dedicated on November 10, 1954, the 179th anniversary of the USMC, no public funds were used for its creation




According to the National Park Service, “The US Marine Corps War Memorial is located on Arlington Ridge along the axis of the National Mall. A panorama of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and Capitol Building are visible from its grounds.” I did not notice the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument or the Capitol when we were  at the Memorial. I must have been too focused on the Memorial itself.

Lincoln Memorial

Maybe one of the most famous of the Memorials, we visited the Lincoln Memorial last. During this visit, we also had a moment to spend at the Korean War Memorial. The Vietnam Memorial was said to be nearby, but I was unclear about where it was. I didn’t have time to visit it anyway. The night tour was awesome in many ways, but choices had to be made since the time was so limited.


Such an imposing structure! It was designed by Henry Bacon. Construction began in 1914 and the Memorial opened in 1922.  The cost of this huge Memorial was $3 million.

The 36 columns represent the 36 states in the Union when Lincoln was assassinated. The Memorial has 58 steps. They represent the two terms Lincoln served as President, plus the age of the President when he was assassinated. This famous building is featured on the back of the penny and the $5 bill!



Our 16th President, Lincoln is credited with saving the Union. Before construction of the Lincoln Memorial, there were no plans to honor any President besides our first President, George Washington.


Gettysburg Address


The Lincoln Memorial sits directly across the Mall from the Washington Monument.

We made a quick trip down beside the Reflecting Pool to find the Korean War Veterans Memorial. It gave me chills. The pictures still do.

Korean War Veterans Memorial

Dedicated on July 27, 1995, the Korean War Veterans Memorial commemorates the 5.8 million troops who served in the U.S. armed services from June 25, 1950 until July 27, 1953. During that time, 36,574 Americans were killed and 103,284 were wounded.



There are 19 stainless steel statutes, each approximately 7 feet tall. They represent an ethnic cross section of America and include 14 Army, 3 Marine, 1 Navy, and 1 Air Force members. You can’t see them in these night-time pictures, but the statutes are standing in patches of juniper bushes and are separated by polished granite strips. They symbolize the rice paddies of Korea. The ponchos worn by the troops seem to be blowing in the wind, symbolizing the cold winds suffered while fighting in Korea.


The Mural Wall is comprised of 41 panels and include 2400 photographs from the Korean War that were obtained from the National Archives. I would love to see the mural in the daylight. It depicts Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard personnel and equipment.

The tour was nearly over. I managed to snap a few more pictures as we headed back to Union Station.

The Lockkeeper’s House. This is the only thing remaining from the C&O Canal Extension. The lockkeeper collected tolls and kept the records of commerce on the canal. What made this interesting to me is that the lockkeeper and his 13 children lived in this house between 1835 and 1855!! The canal was filled in 1872.


The original Post Office. The building has been leased by Donald Trump and is being renovated into a world class hotel.



Unfortunately, I have no clue what this beautiful building is. Maybe someone else does?


Buckeye told us the story behind this statute, but I have forgotten what it was. Anyone know?

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to see Washington, DC at night. It not only kept me from obsessing about the speech I had to give the following day, it allowed me to see monuments and memorials that I had either never seen or hadn’t seen in many years. I hope that the next time I go to DC, I can go as a tourist for at least a full day or two. Unfortunately, it is very, very expensive to stay in DC. On the other hand, all of the memorials and the Smithsonians are free to attend.

I hope you have enjoyed this tour as much as I did!