Monday, October 26, 2015

Washington DC, Part Two

Still in catch up mode.....Here is Part Two in DC

One of the places that Hailey wanted to see was the Holocaust Museum.

She studied World History last year so she wanted to visit the Museum.  We headed there first thing in the morning and were issued entrance tickets to enter during the second hour.  The tickets were free but they manage the crowds by limiting the numbers that can enter each hour.  It actually works well so that I did not feel overpowered with crowds of people.  (Waiting in line was another matter.)

It is unbelievable that there are people who deny the authenticity of the Holocaust and believe it is a hoax.  The Holocaust Memorial Museum  stands as a testament to the atrocities committed in Western Europe in World War II, and the resiliency of those who survived.  On the day that we attended a women who survived a death camp as a child spoke of her experiences and ultimate survival.     

Trapped within rail cars carrying Millions to a horrible end.

Yet, within the walls of this Museum there is also tributes to the people who saw what was happening and did all that they could to help.  A wall stands with stories of those hero's .

 We streamed and watched the movie
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
              The Book Thief 

Both good period movies that explore aspects of the realities of those times without mirroring war scenes and battles. 

There are also several walls of ceramic tiles painted by children to remember the 1.5 million children who lost their lives as a result of the Holocaust.

There are also a number of Permanent Displays marking the events of other sites of Genocide since the Holocaust,  Rwanda in 1994, Bosnia-Herzegovina (1995), and in the Darfur region of Sudan (2003 to its peak in 2005).  Visitors are encouraged to leave a pledge of personal action against genocide.

The Final Display was, Genocide: The Threat Continues, which brings attention to the people and places at risk today for genocide and other mass atrocities.  The exhibit currently focuses on the deadly conflict in Syria, which has created n of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. 

I was haunted by a sign we saw before leaving.

                    Never Again

           What you do....Matters

Clearly the Holocaust Museum is a sobering experience.

After leaving the museum and eating a quick lunch we headed out on a Trolley Tour of DC.

We had some trouble getting on the trolley at the first stop....The Museum was after the Smithsonian stops and every trolley that came by was full.  It probably was not a good choice for the cost and the time that we ended up needing.
 We were headed to the Washington National Cathedral.  It is a distance from the main part of the National Mall.
 We were able to sit back and enjoy the sights on the trolley.

I have been to the Cathedral several times.  This visit there was a charge for admission to enter the Cathedral. That was a surprise.  $11.00 per adult. (No charge on Sunday)   

Construction began on September 29, 1907, and ended 83 years later when the "final finial" was placed 1990.
An earthquake caused damage to the Cathedral in 2011 and repairs are still being completed.

After the intensity of the Museum, the Cathedral was a welcome respite.
  It is a spectacular, peaceful place of reflection. 

Washington is about history, a city of tributes but most of all it is a city of the work of our country.
No visit to Washington can be complete without standing in the presence of each of the three branches of our government.

The Capitol is the Legislative Branch of the Government

 The Dome is currently under renovation.

Judicial Branch is represented by Supreme Court
Washington is about History, a city of Tribute but most of all it is a city of the work of our country.
No visit to Washington  can be complete without standing in the presence of each of the three branches of our government.

 The White House (President) is the Executive Branch of Government

Most of our visit in DC is dedicated to visiting places.  But often my best memories are the people that I meet.  Their stories, and learning about their passions.  And so it was in DC. 

  Outside of the gates of the White House was a woman sitting on the grass.  People seem to come here and bring their causes. 

She brought 10,000 peace cranes that she had folded and put on strings.  She folded them in memory of the Bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and her wish that it never be repeated.

While we visited for a while, words were not needed to express her heart.

 Her cranes said it all.

~ Happy Trails ~




Friday, October 23, 2015

DC, Inspiration for Individuals and a Nation Part 1

When we don't think it can get any hotter (in the 100's),  we  are headed to Washington DC.  There doesn't seem to be a good time to go to DC in the summer.... It seems to be hot and get hotter and then a whole lot of humidity was stirred into the pot.  We choose to bite the bullet and just go.

We have friends who live near DC, so we are able to park the Roadtrek in front of their townhouse and plug into electricity so the kitties stay comfy in the air conditioning.  They live one mile from a Metro stop so we are dropped off and picked up after the day of tourist fun.

DC is one of my favorite cities.  While I have visited many times, this will be Hailey's first visit and I want her to come away with a flavor of the city that I love.  There is so much to see in DC, it is difficult deciding what we will not have time to see this trip.  When beginning our trip of 10 weeks, it seemed that we would have sooo much time to see and experience all this country has to offer.  In hind sight there is so much to do that it is really painful at times to have to make choices.  

On our first day, we head to the Smithsonian Museums.

Since I had traveled on the Metro before, it was pretty easy to navigate around the city.  It is one of the cleanest Metro's I have been on and certainly safe for daytime travel and I haven't had much hesitancy in traveling alone on the Metro.

After our 2 days in DC, Hailey rode the Metro like a Champ.

On our first day, we head to the Smithsonian Museums. 


The Air and Space Museum marks the great progress in air travel.

Beginning with the first primitive successful flights of the Wright Brothers in 1903,  then the Spirit of St. Louis that was flown solo by Charles Lindbergh on May 20–21, 1927, on the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris.

 And on to Space travel .... the progress in a short time is amazing.....

We both found it shocking how very small the space capsules were.  It is hard to imagine being cooped up in those early space capsules and no where to stretch your legs!!

Mercury Friendship 7 that John Glenn orbited the Earth in 1962


Apollo 11 Command Module that carried, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins back from the Moon in 1969.  Who doesn't remember where they were during the first Moon Walk, July 20, 1969?

In the American History Museum, I was shocked when entering the exhibit area to discover that the Star Spangled Banner was not in its place in the exhibit hall.  In its place was a new flag.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement..... but I was relieved to discover that tradition had not been undone.  The flag had been moved to a different location that contained it in a vacuum sealed case to preserve it from further deterioration.  The low light requirements does not allow for flash photography but our traditions can still be seen by the masses.

What do you most remember about the Natural History Museum....... For me it has always been the Dinosaur Exhibit......Not this was closed for renovation. But there is always next time.

 We took in art exhibits at the Hirshhorn Gallery......Hailey's request

The Age of Enlightenment by Yinka Shonibare  
A Satire of contrasts highlighting the history of western culture with scientific and technological  progress yet expanding colonization of underdeveloped countries and cultures.

Sound Suit  by Nick Cave
Nick Cave has created dozens of Sound Suits of cast off items. to be stand alone art exhibits or as costumes that performers wear

The Book, by Ansiem Kiefer
Born in Germany, the artist often uses books as a medium to express the way in which
books can symbolize knowledge and progress as well as dogma and myths and be used to shape or warp cultural belief and understanding.

I Am Its Secret, (Women of Allah)  Shirin Neshat

Probably the most emotionally challenging was a special exhibit.  I had not anticipated an art gallery would challenge my own beliefs and biases and trigger my own feelings of discomfort with Middle East Cultural differences. 

The exhibit included both photography with poetry and prose etched on the faces telling the stories of Women of the Middle East and especially her native Iran.

Black, White and Red, the colors represents the stark contrasts in cultural differences and stark realities of change in the world of women in the Middle East.

The Sights of DC

In my lifetime, I have also seen the addition of new memorials as they have been built and dedicated.  

Each time I visit DC it seems a different monument is my most memorable monument.  We made the rounds to all the major monuments which at one time or another have been my most memorable for that trip.

I'm unable to explain why each visit has a standout as many of the memorials have had their day as the most touching memorial.

Who of our generation is not touched when visiting the Vietnam Memorial.  With each visit, I have seem people making paper etchings from the names, and placing of mementos at the base where, fellow soldiers, family members or friends names are memorized.   It is impossible to visit the memorial without feeling emotional.

Though a controversial war, and a then initially a controversial monument, the Vietnam Memorial is one of the most visited monuments in DC with more than 3,000,000 visitors each year.

The memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982, after a march to its site by thousands of Vietnam War veterans.

About two years later the Three Soldiers statue was dedicated.

During this visit, the memorial that was most captivating to me was the Korean War Memorial.

19 larger than statues depicting the American military

 More than 2,500 photographic, archival images representing the land, sea and air troops who
  supported those who fought in the war are sandblasted onto the wall.

The memorial was dedicated on July 27, 1995
 the 42nd anniversary of the armistice that ended the war.

 Inscriptions on two plaques caught my attention and are planted firmly in my heart.

"Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country 
                                     they never knew and a people they never met."

The Martin Luther King Memorial

The memorial opened to the public on August 22, 2011.

The Memorial to Martin Luther King was somewhat of a disappoint and yet an inspiration at the same time.  The facial likeness did not match my minds memory of this great man.  I was inspired by the design of the monument.  To me the monument represents the work of Martin Luther King remains unfinished.

The official address of the monument, 1964 Independence Avenue, S.W., commemorates the year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

 "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

How can one walk the streets of Washington DC and not be inspired? 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Chocolate, Hershey, and Dimmed Legacies

You know you have arrived in Hershey when you see the flags and Kisses lining the Main Street.

I was prepared to spend about fifteen minutes in Hershey before moving on.  It seemed a bit contrived and clearly touristy but once there my curiosity to know know more of the back story of this quaint all American town was peaked.

 The old Hershey smoke stacks tower over the Hershey skyline.

After a brief drive around town we head to the Hershey Museum to get the background of this quaint little town that looks like a set out of the Willy Wonka Movie.  Billed as the Sweetest Place on Earth, this place had my attention with the mention of CHOCOLATE.

Milton Hershey payed close attention to the rapid development of the chocolate-making industry in the late 1800's   With the sale of his Lancaster Caramel Company to the American Caramel Company in August 1900 for $1,000,000, Hershey now had the money to expand his chocolate business.  After exploring several sites in and around Lancaster, Hershey decided to construct his new factory in a new location. 

After considering several urban sites along the eastern seaboard, Milton Hershey rejected traditional urban locations for his chocolate factory and instead decided to place his business in the country.  He chose a site in Derry Township, near the place of his birth where he already owned property and could purchase additional property at reasonable prices.  The area offered plenty of fresh milk, dependable labor force, and access to urban regional retail transportation centers.

The town (renamed Hershey) soon developed following a plan that had been carefully thought out by Mr. Hershey. Workmen started digging the foundation for the Hershey chocolate factory in early 1903. Before the year was half over, a school and several other key buildings were also underway. In designing his community, Mr. Hershey was influenced by other “manufacturing communities” which were springing up at the turn of the century, both in this country and abroad.
Like other “model towns” Hershey provided its residents with a wholesome environment, modern educational facilities and medical facilities, and affordable housing.

            Milton and Catherine Hershey                 

Milton Hershey also saw Hershey, PA as a tourist destination and plans to include parks and other attractions were added to his vision.

                Mansions Abound

 In 1916, the Hershey Zoo, the largest free private zoo in America at the time, opened to the public.


During the desperate times of the Great Depression, Hershey wrote checks to the five churches of $20,000 each helping the churches pay off debts incurred during those hard times.

The town continued to grow and prosper.
 By 1935, more than 50,000 people a year toured the factory. 

Though Milton Hershey died in 1945, the town and chocolate company as well as the various industries and philanthropies which bear his name continue to keep his dream and vision alive. 

 As times changed so have the company and sadly maybe so has the vision.

Turbulent Times

On July 25, 2002 it became public knowledge that the Hershey Trust Company seeking to sell its controlling interest in the Hershey Foods Corporation. The value of Hershey stock skyrocketed 25% with over 19 million shares trading that day. But over the following 55 days, widespread press coverage, as well as pressure from Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher, the community of Hershey, and Dauphin County Orphans' Court Senior Judge Warren G. Morgan, led to the sale being abandoned. The seven Hershey trustees who voted to sell Hershey Foods were removed by Attorney General Fisher and Judge Morgan. Ten of the 17 trustees were forced to resign. The former Pennsylvania Attorney General, LeRoy S. Zimmerman, became the new chairman of the reconstituted Milton Hershey School Trustees. Mr. Zimmerman has publicly committed to having the Milton Hershey School Trust always retain its interest in The Hershey Company

In February 2007, Hershey's announced it would be cutting more than ten percent of its US workforce and closing some of its U.S. plants.   By December 2007 the company no longer has facilities in Canada and other plant closures include facilities in Oakdale, California; Naugatuck, Connecticut; and Reading, Pennsylvania.  
 The company is built a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico, and it is setting up a joint manufacturing venture in China with Lotte Confectionery of South Korea. 

 On September 18, 2012, Hershey opened a new and expanded West Hershey plant.

Progress or Purely Profit ??