Friday, September 9, 2011

Busy Weekend

Grandpa and Grandma Butler came to visit Labor Day weekend and as usual we kept them busy or maybe they kept us busy, I am not sure which!  They flew in Friday evening and after a bite to eat in Alexandria we headed to the National Mall. First, stop the breathtaking Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial.
This monument is brand new, just opening at the end of August.  It is a must see for everyone visiting the area. Along our trek we discovered the FDR Memorial which might be the most underrated of all of D.C.'s landmarks.  The memorial is set in chronological order, beginning with FDR's first term in office in 1933, the height of the great depression, and moves through WWII and his last day's in office in 1945.  There are waterfalls and amazing statuary, plus lots of information about one of the most difficult times in American history. Visiting at night was also a fun experience. I am excited to see what I missed when I visit again in the daylight.

Saturday we went to Annapolis to visit the Naval Academy and the quaintness that is downtown Annapolis Maryland.  We only had one minor incident when Scott set off the alarms at the Alumni House and we were detained by MP's.  Scott's name is officially on record with the U.S. Navy. So much for Atley's appointment to the academy. The Naval Academy is very picturesque. Established in 1845 it is full of grand old buildings plus the Navy boys clad in those white uniforms bringing back happy memories of Tom Cruise in Top Gun were pretty picturesque too. 

Downtown Annapolis is a bustling waterfront town.  Watching the sailboats and the luxurious yachts is always lots of fun.

Of course we had to hurry back for the BYU game, where we squeaked out a victory. Sunday was all about church and perhaps the boys last dip in the pool this season. Monday we went to the Newseum.  This museum has only been open for a couple of years and unlike the Smithsonian Museums it comes with a price tag.  After visiting, I think it is well worth the admission.  It is full of history.  Afterall, news becomes our history. There are theatres, including a fun 4D film that the kids thought was a riot.  Part of the Berlin Wall is within the museum and the Death Towers from which soldiers were authorized to shoot and kill any trying to climb the walls.

There is an observatory at the top with great views of the city.

There are also lots of obscure objects and images.  You can stand next to life size versions of famous criminals like Al Capone or people like J. Edgar Hoover and see how you measure up.  The collection of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs will have you in tears after only a few glances.  By the way, this is the only museum I have ever been in with tissue boxes strategically placed throughout the exhibits. You can visit the rustic cabin/shack where the unibomber hid out in the woods.  You can even see the reason we have to take off  our shoes every time we fly on an airplane- the shoe bombers actual shoes.

This is the  ladder the kidnapper of the Lindburgh baby used to snatch the infant from his home and the electric chair they used to fry the jerk.
  There are touching memoirs of Hurricane Katrina and with the 10th anniversary of 9/11 looming the artifacts and first-hand accounts of that horrific day were truly heart-wrenching.  In the pictures below you can see one of the antennae that was on top of the first tower.  You can touch pieces of the pentagon rubble.  On display are parts of the engines of the American Airlines flight that hit the second tower.  There are walls and walls of newspaper headlines from the day after the attack, even the passports of the terrorists that were later recovered in the debris. 

As annoying as the media often is, I realized how truly blessed we are to enjoy freedom of speech and freedom of the press. I also realized how few countries enjoy this same privilege. Below is a picture I took of a world map present at the Newseum. Countries in green have free press, yellow are partly free, and red countries have no freedom of the press. In other words, in all but the green countries the government is controlling what its citizens can learn and write about the world around them.
Perhaps the best part of the day was when Atley and Nash were able to create their own news broadcasts.  Atley chose to report on Hurricane Katrina.  He read the teleprompter and I think he made an adorable weather man, kind of a super-skinny white version of Al Roker.  Nash, who can't read, wanted to do a sports broadcast about his favorite team the Washington Redskins, too bad they only had a Washington Wizards Green Screen. He totally winged his broadcast and we thought it was hilarious. Check out our budding journalists in the video links below! Make sure you turn off the blog music by hitting the pause button at the bottom of the blog so you can get the full effect of these compelling broadcasts.

1 comment:

G&G said...

Great pictures and commentary. I didn't think you got that many shots since we didn't have a camera most of the time. Scott's phone did a good job. We had a great time. Really love the boys news reports, thanks for posting them.