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Posted on Nov 11, 2008 in Stuff We Like

Armchair General Goes to Washington D.C.

By Brian King

Last week some of the senior Armchair General staff went to our head office in Leesburg, VA for a meeting with top brass at Weider History Group.  Most of our time was spent devising our mission plan for 2009 for the website. On our last day there we were able to squeeze in a trip to the center of Washington D.C., a place I’d never been able to visit up until this point.

We only had a couple hours to spare, so we had to choose our destinations carefully.  For me, the most important things I wanted to see were grouped together at the west end of the National Mall, including the Vietnam, Korean, and World War II memorials, and the Lincoln Memorial.

We parked at a meter on a side street, which was only a couple blocks from the mall itself and made hitting the mall at the right spot easier.  We walked up to the mall and immediately found ourselves at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  We were able to snap one picture at the memorial facing the Washington Monument with no one in the background…just as a full bus load of tourists descended on the monument.  We had to keep moving.


Our next stop was the Lincoln Memorial, which for me was the most powerful part of our fast walking tour.  Forgetting for a moment the importance of this monument vis-à-vis Lincoln, think of all the movies, protests, and books which featured this amazing place.  As I was walking up the stairs I felt as if I was touching a part of American culture unlike anything I’ve felt before.  The thought occurred to me that I needed to share the moment with my wife and son, thus the picture of me on my mobile standing there on the steps!  This alone was worth the trip.

Our next quick stop was the Korean War Veterans Memorial, which was surprisingly well done.  It is hard to describe, but basically it features stone soldiers walking through the rain alongside a marble wall not unlike the one over at the Vietnam Memorial.  However, there are no names on the wall – only carved images.  It leads to a pool of water and some benches in a cozy circle for intimate reflection.  I really liked the presentation.

Last on our tour was the National World War II Memorial which is prominently placed at the east end of the reflecting pool.

As a final stop we decided to drop by the White House which was interesting mainly because its location is never shown accurately in mainstream media. The pictures always portray the White House as standing majestically alone, and you never really get a perspective of what is surrounding it. The buildings surrounding the White House are entirely unimpressive.  If you’ve ever been to the Alamo you’ll know what I’m talking about.  

I’m looking forward to going back to Washington D.C. as there are about 100 things I want to see now that I’ve had a taste of the city.  On my next trip to the home office I might have to spend an entire day exploring this area.

If you have any recommendations or have any stories about your visit to D.C., I’d love to hear them!