Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 3 of the Exciting Adventures of Flat Tucker!

Up very early today. We wanted to make sure we had no subway mishaps so that we would arrive at Senator Johann's office at 8:40 as expected for our guided tour of the Capitol. Thankfully all transportation issues went smoothly and we arrived before they even unlocked the doors!

Felt like we were back in Nebraska once we walked through the doors of the Senator's office with all the Nebraska Cornhusker memorabilia everywhere! He even had a football signed by coach Bo Pelini on his fireplace mantel.

In the Senator's office we met our guide, Jacob. I have emailed often with Jacob over the past few months to set up all our tours and he was really friendly. He is from Springfield, NE, which is not far from our home in Gretna, both of which are basically suburbs of Omaha, so we had a lot in common.

Jacob took us to the basement of the Senator's office building where we found a mini-subway that transports senators underground into the Capitol building. We were able to ride over that way. It was really interesting. Jacob explained they do this for convenience, but mostly for the security of the Senators. The other Congressional office buildings are connected to the Capitol Building in a similar manner for the same reasons.

Once in the Capitol we watched a short film explaining how the building was built and the significance it has to the history of our nation. After the film Jacob walked us through and pointed out the architecture, artwork, and shared many interesting facts. One interesting point he showed us was a spot where a crypt was built that was designed for George Washington's body to be placed as the Father of our Nation. It is in the center of the Capitol Building and it also marks the exact center of Washington DC. Due to the will that George Washington left behind and the feelings of the Washington family President Washington's body was never placed in the crypt. It remained where it was buried at Mt. Vernon, Washington's home. The crypt in the Capitol remains empty.

Statue inside the Capitol replicating the one on the top of the dome.


Jacob also walked us around the outside of the Capitol Building grounds and showed us the different carvings in the building and explained their meaning. He also showed us where the president stands for the Inauguration. Jacob was able to attend the Inauguration of President Obama in 2013 but he said he was so far away he could barely see him! He said it was neat to be in attendance though!
The front of the Capitol Building

The back of the Capitol Building facing the National Mall. The Presidential Inauguration takes place at the top of the stairs under the center of the dome.





Finally, we returned inside and we were able to sit for a short bit inside the Gallery of the House of Representatives. This is where the House of Representatives meets to debate and vote on the laws that they set. Congress is in recess right now for the Easter holiday so there weren't any members of Congress present, but if it were a regular working day we would have been able to watch them debate and discuss the present bills that are up for debate. We were not able to take any pictures during this section because photos are not allowed. They actually take all electronic devices from you; cameras, phones, etc. and lock them up before you can go in!

After saying thank you and goodbye to Jacob we headed over to take a look at the Supreme Court building. The Supreme Court is also on break so we just walked through the building a bit.



Next, we went to the Library of Congress building which was a very impressive building. The entire ceiling is painted and the design inside is very intricate and ornate. It is very, very beautiful! The visit here was neat for me because the US Copyright Office is housed here and I just recently received my final certificates for the registrations for the copyrights of the novel units that I have written. It was cool to know that my work was housed in this beautiful building and has a place in history here!



We grabbed some lunch and took a subway ride to the International Spy Museum for the afternoon. Saw some really cool things there and learned all about spies and how they operate from communication, disguise, weapons, all kinds of cool stuff! There was a big James Bond exhibit and Flat Tucker was able to get a picture with James Bonds' Aston Martin decked out spy car!



We finished our day at a nearby pizza place called District of Pi (pi as in 3.14). It was really good! Picked up some dessert on the walk back to the hotel and are resting up for another big day tomorrow with the Holocaust Museum and the Air and Space Museum on the agenda!



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