West Baden Springs Indiana

West Baden Springs Indiana
Inside of the AMAZING West Baden Springs Resort in Indiana.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC

Allow me to get a bit more personal than usual on this post.

My father is a Vietnam Veteran and I have total respect for all of our men and women in the military.  I know it is a bit of a cliche for someone to say that they appreciate their service, but I do appreciate all of their service.  I can't say this enough.

There are no names on the Wall of people I have known personally, but there was one in particular that I wanted to look for.

One of my dad's friend's died while serving.  My time on this planet and his missed each other by about a decade.  However, we share the same first name by no coincidence.

Sometimes, when I go back home, my dad and I drive to a certain rural area.  We drive by an old church where I grew up, and where I got married.  Next to that church a cemetery.  In that cemetery is the grave of my dad's friend that I mentioned earlier.

I really wanted to find the name of the person whose grave I have visited often but never met.  I was concerned I might not be able to find his among the more than 58,000 listed.

The rangers in the area were very helpful though.  It is actually very easy to find the location of the name you are looking for.

There are a couple of books listing those names on the wall alphabetically, then showing their coordinates.

In fact, one very sweet ranger came over as I was looking for the name I wanted to find, and helped me pinpoint the exact location.  She then offered to do a rubbing for me.

I really appreciate that rubbing of the name of my dad's friend.

As with any war, we still feel it's ripples.  If you have a loved one who was there, you especially do.  AND, when you hear first hand stories about horrible things that happened there, that affects you too.  The pain can be felt for a lifetime, and it can be so great that it bleeds over into a second generation.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ford's Theatre Washington DC

Possibly one of the most overwhelming places we have ever visited was Ford's Theatre during our recent trip to DC.

History changed in way swill will never know at this spot.  The assasination of Abe Lincoln was just a massive event.

I don't think you can over estimate the importance of Lincoln and his mark in history.  His birthsite, where he grew up, where he is burried, and where he died are all National Parks.

We bought our tickets and went to enjoy the short two man play "One Destiny".

We seated ourselves and enjoyed just being there.  There is something mystical about the place.

During the play, the characters mentioned feeling haunted by the events of the day.

I think we are still in many ways haunted by what happened.  None of us were around when it happened, but it is still a strange and sad event.

Even the historc figures associated with the assasin Booth and his capture are odd.  Look up the stories on Boston Corbett (he disappears from history) and Lincoln's friend at the play that night, Henry Rathbone.  There are other fascinating characters too.

"One Destiny" was really good.  The two actors play an actor and the owner of Ford's Theatre from the time Lincoln was shot.  They discuss some of the co-conspirators and their thoughts and motivations.  They kind of play out scenerios trying to figure the whole thing out.  They seem to have some guilt that they could not predict what Booth was up to.

As they play through the moments just before the shooting (the actor reluctantly goes through the lines of "Our American Cousin") you can feel the tension.  A shot is heard and a light flashes form the actual box where Lincoln sat.

"One Destiny" is a very nice play relating to the assasination and Ford's Theatre.  It gives almost any visitor the opportunity to see an actual performance during their visit to the landmark.

Right across the street from Ford's is the Petersen House, which is part of the tour.  You can see the actual room where President Lincoln died.

The museum there is great too.  Various items relating to Booth and his conspirators were on display, including pieces of the four ropes used in the hanging of the other four convicted.

Presidential Sites by William G. Clotworthy

While I am on the topic of DC, Lincoln, and Presidents, I thought I should mention this book, "Presidential Sites" by William Clotworthy.

This isn't really the kind of book you would read straight through- it is more of a reference book listing places you might want to visit associated with each President.

I have been carrying my copy around in my trunk lately.  Its just a nice book to keep around as you are road tripping.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Smokey Bear in Washington, DC

The Forest Service has a very nice visitor center in DC where you can actually see an anamatronic Smokey Bear!

We stopped by to visit Smokey!

The very kind ranger told us a bit about Smokey and his story.

The center had several cool freebies too, including a VERY cool retro comic about Smokey and some postcards!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

US Capitol, Washington DC, 1939

The postcard showing the Capitol on top was sent in 1939!  The middle postcard is undated, and the bottom photo I took in May 2012!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Berea College Country Dancers

I am not sure of the year on these.  I have mentioned my connections to Berea College here before.  I love the school and especially the Country Dancers!

The bottom postcard reads-

The Berea College Folk Drama of the Civil War "Swing that pretty girl round and round."  Real native dances are performed by Berea College Country Dancers, with choral and organ accompaniment.

The Indian Fort Theater where Wilderness Road is produced, is the Berea College forest, three miles from U.S. 25.  Berea is in the edge of the Cumberlands, between Cincinnati and the Great Smoky Mountains.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Newseum, Washington, DC

Several friends who have been to DC said that a stop at the Newseum was a must.

The Newseum is not part of the other Smithsonian Museums in the area, and it is also one of the rare museums in the area that is not free.

We took the advice of our friends and checked the place out.

The newseum is incredible.  Every inch of the place is interesting.

We were impressed to see a huge section of the Berlin Wall on the first floor.

The Newseum has a large display of relics relating to true crime.  The unibomber's cabin and many other items connected to major criminal events were there.

There are a couple of impressive large displays relating to 9/11, including newspaper covers from the day after the attacks.  Personal items from some of the victims were there also and it was very emotional seeing them.  Cell phones from the site (with the write up about how rescuers heard them ringing for several days) were displayed in a case.  The museum actually had tissue out as you walked through the display.

Obviously, news and the way news is reported is a big part of the Newseum.  Many papers (new and very old) were there.  The current days paper is displayed on your way in, so the Newseum is updated daily.

A news studio is inside the Newseum.  There is a lot of activity there, and during the orientation video before your tour, they show a clip of President Obama walking out of the studio.

Another display that I enjoyed was on the top floor.  Various political buttons, signs and other items could be viewed.  Various gifts presented to presidents were displayed (like a football jersey presented to Ronald Reagan).

They also had several props and costumes from Saturday Night Live presidential parodies.  A TV next to the props showed the actual SNL videos.

Oh, I enjoyed the "4-D" movie they show too!  They have prepared a very cool film about some interesting moments in history and it is in very vivid 3-D.


Friday, June 22, 2012

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum- Washington DC

I did want to mention that we stopped by the Holocaust Museum while in Washington DC.

Obviously, this is a bit of a unique museum, in that you don't leave feeling good or upbeat.  The museum focuses on a very sad moment in very recent world history.

I personally had a professor in college who left Germany with his family when he was about 6.  He was Jewish and he told me about the things he actually witnessed.  They left and came to the US before things really broke out.  Sadly, once in the US, his family was hated for being German.  He watched Germans beat his dad up for being Jewish, and he watched Americans beat his dad up for being German.

Through talking to witnesses and reading, I know a good deal about this point in history.  What I saw at the museum was not a surprise to me personally, but it is always shocking.

While at the Holocaust museum, I was reading a display about some of the things that happened.  Another person was reading the same display and gasped.  I felt the same way when I first learned about this.

Before we started our tour, we watched a short film about victims and their liberators towards the end of WWII.

As we left the theater, I overheard some kids talking amongst themselves about how boring the movie was.  I know, kids have short attention spans, but I still felt hurt about this.  I hope parents that are taking their children to see something like this explain it to them, and work with them to make the most of their time at the museum.

And the museum was delicate about this.  They do have exhibits for younger kids.  One video area that was especially graphic was made to where you had to look over a tall fence to see the video.  No small person would be able to see it.

There are a few exhibits here that stay with you.  There are the shoes.  Actual shoes taken from people before they were murdered. 

There were stories of the hair shaved from the heads of the victims, sold and used like a product.

I will remember one photo in particular of a crying disabled child, taken moments before that child was murdered.

There was actual luggage packed for the relocation, by people unaware of what was about to happen to them.

I could go on and on.

Anyway, there are certain places you have to see in DC, and this is one of them.  I would also make this a place that you must visit at some point in your lifetime.


Let me also put a mention in of the "Remember Me?" project the Museum is doing through their site.  They have posted photos taken of affected by the Holocaust after the War.  There are updates posted, when they occur.  anyway, check it out as there are still mysteries surrounding these children.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Natural History Museum, Washington, DC

This is definitely one of those museums that speaks for itself, and I don't have much to say about it.

I did want to say though that this was amazing and we agreed that this was a top attraction on our trip.  I would rank this over most of the other museums we have been to ever.

The sections on evolution and the dinosaur skeletons were top notch.

On a very personal note, seeing a giant squid made my knees wobble!  I love the giant squid!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Department of Justice Building, Washington, DC

"From this $10,000,000 structure on famous Pennsylvania Avenue the activities of the famed G-Men are directed by J. Edgar Hoover, chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Attracted by the activities of the G-Men against crime, millions of visitors tour this building annually."

This postcard was sent from DC in 1939!!!  I love the Hoover and G-Men references!!!!