Friday, September 25, 2009

Touring, Touring.

I have so many pictures to share and videos that I've shot -- and no time to sit and process them all, so after Jim's last show on Sunday, after we get home, I'll sort through them and start telling stories.

But we had a special "backstage" tour of the Supreme Court building, a tour of the Scottish Rite Temple, which is the opening scene in "The Lost Symbol," and, on Thursday, a special tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Then, over to the Capitol for the House, Senate and a short visit with our Congressman (we just walked right into his office).

First, from the Smithsonian Museum of American History, an iconic statue (from Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" of George Washington depicted as an Olympic god.)

Union Station:

The Presidential Yacht, used frequently by FDR but sold off by Jimmy Carter:

Speaking of FDR, Jimmy with Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR memorial:

The Vietnam memorial:

A diorama of the Supreme Court. This is actually a little model, but we got to sit in the "honored guest" chairs and stand at the lecturn. No photos inside, unfortunately. But we did find out that in the friezes above, there is a religious historical figure depicted that they never talk about. It was meant as a tribute, but the followers of this religion don't like it when people make images of him.

The Capital from the steps of the Supreme Court.

We also toured the Supreme Court library, but all of that is on video, which I'll edit after we get home. It was exciting to get to go where nobody else gets to go.

Once again, if you're reading "The Lost Symbol," this is the iconic Scottish Rite Temple depicted in a couple of key scenes. They let you go inside and take all the photos you want. Their "secrets" involve only their rituals and meetings. In fact, they're a very open society and allow tours. Begun centuries ago, the Masons played a pivotal role in helping to establish freedom of thought and religion in this country, existing alongside the Catholic Church during the Dark Ages, promoting science and thought, which the church did not like. They were constantly persecuted for it. But, in fact, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and a number of founding fathers were Masons, and Franklin used those connections to get France and Germany on our side during the revolutionary war.

Two sphinxes sit out front. (I'll have video of our tour, also).

This is the big meeting room with the stone altar. During meetings, they will lay out all the holy books representing the beliefs of whoever might be in attendance. They were probably the first organization to promote freedom of religion.

And, of course, we had to sit in the big throne.

To be continued...


Bev Sykes said...

See? See? I knew you had to read that book while you were still in DC!!!

Josh said...

First off, I miss you both already.

Secondly: did anybody tell you about the Roman soldier statues in Union station?