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Washington D. See as much as you can

By Robin Dearing
Bill, Margaret and I just got back from a trip to Washington D.C. Bill had a conference, so Mar and I decided to tag along ... definitely one of the best decisions we made in a while. I'd been to D.C. many times while I was in graduate school at Penn State — a mere three-hour drive away. Bill had visited before, too. This was, of course, Margaret's first time. I love D.C. for so many different reasons. And I was hoping Margaret would love her time there as well. That fact that it's our nation's capitol makes all my patriotic tendencies come bubbling to the surface, especially when I think about how our country was founded and all the things that I've been able to accomplish because I live in this country. Knowing that my daughter will have opportunities that are not afforded women in other parts of the world is something of which I'm very proud. Plus there's a sense of history that is made palpable by the grandeur of the architecture. The monuments that line the mall are on such a scale as to remind us of the great accomplishments by some truly great Americans. The dot on the exclamation point that is the dramatic power of Washington D.C. has got to be the U.S. Capitol building. It dominates the skyline with its impressive dome and colonnaded facade. outside%20the%20capitol.jpg Luckily for Margaret and I, Bill had the foresight to call Sen. Ken Salazar's office in D.C. and set up a tour of the building. I knew that tours were available, I just never figured out how you got one. It's as easy as calling your elected representatives. Did you know that? I hadn't a clue. At the time of our tour, our group (which included Bill's colleagues) headed over to the senator's office in a building near the Capitol. A lovely intern, Beatrice, took us over to the Capitol via a series of underground passages and even a mini subway system used to transport congressmen back and forth between the Capitol and their offices. senate%20subway.jpg Again, I had no clue that congressmen get their own public transportation. Maybe I'm just slow. Inside the Capitol we were presented with wonderful artwork and more amazing architecture. I loved the Brumidi Corridors on the Senate side of the building. Brumidi.jpg The level of intricacy and detail was astounding. A true feast for the eyes. We all enjoyed by the statuary hall. Not just because of the lovely sculptures, but because of its acoustical properties. Originally the statuary hall was location of the desks of the representatives. That was until it was discovered that it was a whispering gallery. This is a phenomenon that allows a person to whisper on one side of the room and be heard on another side. Despite the fact that the hall was filled with many tour groups, we were able to hear our tour guide as she stood on the other side of the hall. We were all pretty amazed when her voice seemed to be beamed down right on top of us from a very far distance and heard over the top of, at least, 75 other people. But that's how the whole experience was for us — amazing. The elegance, remarkable detail and the utter care taken in the creation of our nation's Capitol is truly a wonderful sight to behold.

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