The summer 2015 class of Newsmax interns hit the streets of Washington, D.C., to explore, report, and learn. This series features a look at D.C., including monuments, memorials, and museums, through the eyes of a Millennial.
Millions of tourists travel to Washington, D.C., every year to experience the inspirational essence of the nation’s capital.
From the National Mall to Arlington, Virginia, the D.C. area provides plenty to do and fosters thoughtful ideas because it is saturated with American history. Each person, however, has his or her favorite place to find enlightenment in the city.
Here are some of the top places often cited as the most inspirational:
1. Tidal Basin
Rimmed by a sidewalk and flanked by the Jefferson, Frederick Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorials, the tidal basin allows for a direct view of these major sites across its sparkling waters. Visitors can paddleboat in it as well.
“It has a lot of history, and think about how the cherry blossoms were brought over from a gift from Japan adds another level of depth to the area,” Springfield, Virginia, resident Faith Boruta told Newsmax. “It’s also really pretty and kind of majestic. It adds an extra layer of sophistication to what D.C. means.”
2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Honoring the 34th president of the United States, the memorial features quotes from, statues of, and scenes from the four-term leader’s time in office.
“I worked with handicapped children in school, so it really struck me that the fact it is so accessible and also made me realize how other things are not,” Kathy Burrell from Maryland said.
“It’s so serene and captivating,” D.C. resident Beth Karon said. “At the same time, it really reminds you of the lasting impact that one person can have with the right things in mind.”
3. Thomas Jefferson Building – Library of Congress
While there are three buildings of the library on Capitol Hill, the Jefferson building is the most-visited and is known for its ornate architecture and personal collection of Jefferson’s books.
“I visited there for the first time a few weeks ago, and it was just gorgeous,” Fairfax, Virginia, resident Comfort Sampong said. “I’m a big architecture person and just seeing so much detail on the ceiling and being able to look down and see everyone working on their projects and somehow connect it to the past, connect it to the writings of Thomas Jefferson and all the presidents who have come before, I thought that was really inspiring.”
4. Air Force Memorial
Located in Arlington, Virginia, this three-spire memorial welcomes many travelers as they enter the city. The memorial aims to honor those who have served the American Air Force.
“It’s very cool, and I just went there on tour with my office,” Elizabeth Linsteron from Woodbridge, Virginia, said. “Obviously, there’s a huge sense of nationalism and patriotism and stuff, but you don’t really get the full effect of it, I guess, until you’re actually there. And it’s such a big monument that you see it whenever you’re driving around.”
5. Lincoln Memorial
Perhaps one of the most famous sites in D.C., the Lincoln Memorial remembers the life and work of the 16th president who emancipated the slaves and died during his efforts in reuniting the nation.
“It’s just very massive. It’s just very awe-inspiring when you walk in there,” DeLand, Florida, native Blake Teres said. “It makes me feel small.”
“It’s such a cliché answer,” New Orleans, Louisiana, resident Jon Theum said. “I like the Lincoln, especially when you see it at night. I think it’s beautiful. The architecture is beautiful, classic, Greek architecture. I think that, in general, people are going to agree that, I mean, I’m sure he had some faults, but Lincoln was a pretty good president. I think most people in America, no matter what their politics are, can get on board with saying he’s a good guy.”
6. Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
With airplanes hanging from the ceiling, a cockpit that visitors can walk into, and even a moonstone on display, the National Air and Space Museum captures the imagination of children and adults alike in an educational experience.
“My children . . . loved it so much they wanted to go back,” D.C. resident Tyece Chappela said. “The history, all the information, it’s wonderful for the children to see how they get so excited by just knowing there’s possibilities out there that they can start things their selves, like the Wright brothers. It’s just wonderful.”
7. National Geographic Museum
Frequently changing out exhibits, the National Geographic Museum constantly holds something interesting to see. The museum features incredible photographs, world culture information, and scientific studies to show the importance of caring for the Earth.
“I think they have a worldwide perspective of not just things in the U.S., but worldwide,” Californian Jeffrey Lane told Newsmax.
8. Dupont Circle
More than just a large traffic circle, Dupont features restaurants and bars, shopping, and entertainment. It’s not uncommon to see a salsa lesson in the open air or to find oneself entering a conversation with those in the neighborhood.
“It’s nice,” Meghan Sweeney from Long Island, New York, said. “There’s a whole bunch of people there all the time, and even when the fountain is off, people hang out in it. It’s more of a community than a tourist attraction.”
9. Rock Creek Park
This area is cared for by the National Park Services, and the park celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. It features miles of trails for bikers, walkers, and runners, and also houses the Smithsonian Zoo in its enclave.
“It’s the heart of the city,” Andre Bellamy-Cesar from South Carolina said. “The city is built around it. Whenever you want to get away from traffic, you can travel through the parkway, and a lot of people still don’t know that. It’s gorgeous: the old mills, nice graveyards and cemeteries by the park. It’s kind of like the main artery of the city . . . As long as I’ve been here, the park has been there. It’s always been the same. It’s provided vitality.”
10. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
The MLK memorial honors the civil rights leader with his body engraved into a giant slab of granite with a wall on each side featuring quotes from his many orations.
“I spend a lot of time around the tidal basin, but I really find this inspiring. I find it very full of energy,” Vienna, Virginia, resident Susan Calderon said to Newsmax.
“Coming [to the memorial] is the most important single place to me. He made a big impact in our culture and everybody . . . He’s played a big role in my life,” Leminnie Garrison of Columbus, Georgia, said. “I’m inspired by all of the African American culture sites they have here. I think getting an insight of my culture and how everything came about, those are the most significant things here in D.C.”
11. Georgetown University
As the oldest Catholic and Jesuit university in the United States, Georgetown’s Romanesque revival architecture captures D.C.’s historical charm and is a popular attraction for visitors. Its Healy Hall is even a National Historic Landmark.
“I don’t actually go to Georgetown, but I went there for a conference on religious freedom, and it was really inspiring to see the mix of people where there were people speaking about religious freedom for Muslims or religious freedom for practitioners of Christianity and of Judaism, and then to see that with people coming together at a historically Catholic institution, but still being able to discuss the diversity of opinions,” Sampong said. “Georgetown, of course, is a beautiful campus. I think I’m really drawn to when a site has a beautiful sense of place and architecture and history, but also current, modern ideas that are floating around.”
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