Washington, D.C.–the Capitol Building tour

I never really showed you any pictures from our trip back in March.  I know this because I’ve been getting letters and emails asking me to post my pictures.

Okay… not letters and emails….maybe one letter…and one email…

or not.

Doesn’t matter if you don’t want to see them, I’m gonna show ’em.  So there.

One of our first visits was of the Capitol.

(These are SOOC–straight out of camera.  Hence, the truck in the foreground.  Had I taken the time to do some postwork on this photo, I would have cropped the truck out.  But, since these are vacation photos, and not really for public consumption…wait…well, just act like you’re family watching the obligatory slide show of our vacation.  I keeping it real here, folks.  No need to get fancy, right?)

The Capitol Building is really a beautiful building.  In fact, I sort of think it’s prettier than the White House.  But, that’s neither here nor there.

If you ever plan to visit D.C. I highly recommend you contact your state representative.   You must start the process early, though!  Don’t wait until the last minute to try to set up a tour.

We went through Joe Barton, of Texas.

(Sorry for the poor picture quality.  Ugh.  I didn’t want to use my flash inside, so I was having to fiddle with the settings on my camera–this setting wasn’t right, I don’t think…again, just keepin’ it real.)

The nice thing about going through your State Rep. is that you get a personal tour given by an intern or other office staff member.  Your tour takes you places most folks don’t get to go.

Like, into your State Representative’s personal office.  (That was our tour guide, Noah.  If your son or daughter is into political science and government and such, you should consider checking into how they can intern at the Capitol after graduating high school. Since my kids are into baseball and eating, I don’t think I’ll be pursuing that.  I’m just hopeful they graduate.  But, good luck to you!)

Not such a bad view, huh?

One really cool thing, especially if you have kids, is the basement “subway” that the insiders use to travel from their building to over to the Capitol.

Both of my boys thought this was pretty cool.

It’s a short ride, but fun for the kids.

Yeehaw!  A shout-out to the Texas boy!   (Brush up on your Texas history, if you don’t know who Stephen F. Austin was.)

The building really is quite pretty.

Any chance you recognize this stairwell?

No biggie, if you can’t.  The picture’s not the best.  But, that’s my youngest looking very Presidential… or trying to…

Those are the very steps every President since Ronald Reagan has taken just moments before they take the Oath of Office.

Just behind where I was taking the picture, were the doors that led out to the West Front of the Capitol Building.

It was surreal being on the very same steps as the President and their families, just before taking the Oath….waiting for the doors to open….waiting to step out onto the West Front…knowing there’s not turning back….

Of course, while in D.C. you are always being reminded of the potential for the crazies to do something, well, …crazy.

We started our tour by walking outside–it was a beautiful Spring day–and across the street to the Capitol.  (I know you weren’t there and you could care less, but we could not have had more perfect weather while there.)

As we were walking we noticed an inordinate amount of police on this day.  More than usual.  (One thing you begin to take note of while in D.C. is how tight security is.  If I recall correctly, there weren’t as many barriers in front of buildings, nor were there as many police officers visibly present before 911.  Now, everywhere you look, there’s an officer or a large concrete barrier protecting the buildings in and about D.C.)

Check out the SWAT members up on the roof.  Granted they were just standing there drinking their coffee, but later, as you’ll see, they were all about business.  Apparently, the President was planned to make an appearance at the Capitol.  (We were in D.C. at the peak of the Healthcare Reform Bill discussion and voting.)  So, there was added security in the area.

Sure enough, while we were walking away from our tour, the President arrived!

I was too far away (and apparently, I have a very dirty lens), but you can see all the suits going up the stairs….See the President?  See him?

Okay, so, if you plan a trip to D.C., begin very early in contacting your state rep. and ask for a tour of the Capitol.  I promise you, you’ll get a better tour, if you do.  When we were there with our oldest son a few years back, while on the same tour we got to sit in the House Chamber, where the President gives the State of the Union Address.  We sat in what was, at the time, Condoleezza Rice’s chair, and in the Supreme Court Justices’ various chairs, which was very cool.  We weren’t able to go on the Chamber floor this time, due to the voting, etc.  But, if we had wanted to take the time, we could have gone inside the chamber to watch Congress in action, from up in the gallery.

We couldn’t take the time to wait, though.  We had places to go and people to see.

Maybe next time.

More on D.C. later, Tater,

E.

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