©Unless otherwise noted, all content and photos are © 2016 Monumental Thoughts.
Eight names are currently being added to the Vietnam Wall of those who were killed in action or died as a result of their injuries during the Vietnam War, which will make the new number 58,315. They are the following:
Jeffrey R. Barber
LCPL, U.S. Marine Corps
Oct. 9, 1950 – Sept. 6, 2011
Michael G. Frey
PFC, U.S. Army
Oct. 21, 1949 – Sept. 15, 2014
Chester A. Lederhouse Jr.
LCPL, U.S. Marine Corps
Jan. 19, 1947 – July 13, 1966
James S. McGough
SP4, U.S. Army
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Feb. 23, 1951 – Jan 3, 2014
Leonard E. Outlaw Sr.
ENC, U.S. Coast Guard
Dec 19, 1936 – March 23, 1972
Lee A. Rawn
PFC, U.S. Marine Corps
Lake Worth, Fla.
May 4, 1946 – April 24, 1967
Jimmy L. Smith
SP5, U.S. Army
Sept. 30, 1948 – May 24, 2014
John D. Stenhouse
LCPL, U.S. Marine Corps
April 13, 1949 – August 15, 2012
Also, nine names will have their status changed from missing in action to killed in action. This is done by a diamond that denotes confirmed death is created over the cross that meant missing in action.
• Donald G. Carr; MAJ, USA; San Antonio, Texas; Panel 3W, Row 101
• Richard C. Clark; LT, USN; Tacoma, Wash.; Panel 28E, Row 59
• Kenneth L. Cunningham; SSGT, USA; Ellery, Ill.; Panel 17W, Row 33
• Rodney L. Griffin; SGT, USA; Centralia, Mo.; Panel 11W, Row 85
• Billy D. Hill; SFC, USA; Fallon, Nev.; Panel 35E, Row 6
• James W. Holt; MSGT, USA; Hot Springs, Ark.; Panel 37E, Row 84
• Edwin E. Morgan; CMSGT, USAF; Salisbury, N.C.; Panel 6E, Row 4
• Bunyan D. Price Jr.; SSGT, USA; Belmont, NC; Panel 11W, Row 87
• Dale W. Richardson; MAJ, USA; Cashton, Wis.; Panel 11W, Row 87
But the Temperance Fountain at Seventh St. and Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. across from the U.S. Navy Memorial endures. And surely torments. And doesn’t work anymore.
Created by San Francisco dentist Henry D. Cogswell, the temperance crusader donated the statue to the city in 1882 believing if the public had access to drinking fountains they would consume less alcohol. Ironically, it once sat in front of a liquor store.
Faith, Hope, Charity and Temperance are chiseled on four columns with a life-sized heron on a canopy and dolphins underneath.
Alas, you can no longer drink from the fountain, which used melting ice to produce cold water for both people and horses. The city tired of the expense and turned it off.
So raise your glass to Dr. Cogswell for the best of intentions that failed. He wasn’t the first or last dreamer to do so in Washington.
Probably 90 percent of visitors at Arlington National Cemetery walk through the middle of the 660 acres to John F. Kennedy’s Eternal Flame and then cross over to the Tomb of the Unknowns for the changing of the guard. Some also see Arlington House.
They are so missing out on what makes Arlington my favorite site in the Washington area.
The best parts of Arlington are far from the tourist hot spots. The places where the endless rows of white headstones stretch beyond your vision and the silence is so entrancing you lose yourself to the energy of the cemetery.
I love the rear of the cemetery past the Tomb while heading to the border of Fort Myer. But recently, I was entranced walking along Sherman Drive behind Arlington House where Section 29 drops down to meet the bottom of Section 28 where Lincoln connects with Mitchell. To put it another way, walk out the side entrance by the women’s memorial past William Howard Taft’s grave to the next section ahead.
Look at the photo above – do you feel the endless energy of those stones?
Next time you visit Arlington, break away from the traditional stops and find outlying areas that seem like an isolated oasis and you’ll feel what Arlington is really all about.
Joseph Henry was a 19th century scientist whose work in electromagnets led him to become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. Among his useful outlets for electromagnets was an early version of the electric doorbell in 1831. He also layed the work for the creation of the telegraph, established weather reports using the telegraph and designed lighthouse innovations.
The nine-foot bronze statue facing the National Mall with the Smithsonian Castle behind it was paid for by Congress and sculpted by William Wetmore Story. President Rutherford B. Hayes attended the dedication while famed composure John Phillips Sousa led the Marine band in its first playing of “The Transit of Venus March.” A relief of an electromagnet is on the side of the base.
Henry died in 1878 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington.
The Associate Justice served 36 years and 209 days as a Franklin D. Roosevelt appointee who lasted until his 1975 retirement. Even then, Douglas tried to participate in the Court’s business until a 1978 letter from all nine justices informed him he was retired.
Douglas was called the most “committed civil libertarian ever to sit on the court” by Time magazine in 1975. Indeed, “Wild Bill” survived two impeachments by Congress incensed over his erratic actions.
Douglas was a staunch First Amendment advocate, gave a stay of execution to Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and was a certified tree hugger after hiking the entire 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia.
This bronze bust lies in the public hallways of the Supreme Court.
A dozen or so people gathered on the otherwise empty street at 7 a.m. seemingly away from the many commuters entering the city. They would only stay a short time.
Both strangers and old friends said hello and waited for a countdown. Suddenly, it was a prayer circle and a group reading of Walt Whitman’s “O Captain! My Captain!”
“O Captain, my captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won.”
And then an unknown young lad came by with yellow roses, laying them gently by the door. The door that led to the room where Abraham Lincoln died 151 years ago at that exact moment — 7:22 a.m., April 15, 1865.
A large wreath later followed and re-enactors stayed around Petersen House and Ford’s House all morning. But, mostly, a milestone passed quietly among those who cared deeply.
Long before it was a staging area for Civil War troops met by president Abe Lincoln or where blood was shed during the Battle of 1812 as British troops marched into Washington or even when it became a cemetery, Fort Lincoln was an historic area.
The 178-acre cemetery established by the Maryland General Assembly in 1912 includes one of the original boundary stones ordered by President George Washington to determine the capital’s exact limits.
The cemetery is technically in Bladensburg, Md. as boundary stone NE7 hugs inside the fence line. Visitors should head as far to the right in the cemetery as possible, pass the columbarium for urns and about 50 feet afterwards across from the Garden of the Crucifixion to find the white stone inside a black iron fence.
The stone was erected in 1791-92 during the survey by Andrew Ellicott. The iron cage was erected around the cemetery stone in 1916 by the D.C. Daughters of the American Revolution and a new one in 2012 using iron from the old cage.
The cherry blossoms have come and gone. That means it’s spring – right?
Saturday was a new adventure in guiding. I often say I love the job – you meet people from everywhere, get some exercise and make good money. It’s all good except when it rains.
Or maybe I should say snow. My Saturday morning tour started alongside the first heavy drops of rain outside the White House. And then it started snowing. Like really hard. My group thinned over the next hour. They couldn’t take the conditions. Oh, what’s a little snow, rain and 35 degree wind chill, but that’s just me.
By the 90-minute tour covering the Lincoln assassination’s end, only half the group remained. I always tell people with my personal tours you can always come another day for free and that’s what many decided. I can’t say I blamed them for leaving.
But that was just round one. I still had an afternoon 90-minute tour along Embassy Row.
I exchanged my soaked winter coat that’s luckily waterproof for two fleece jackets in my car and headed to DuPont Circle. While waiting 20 minutes for the group, my mind kept wandering to “I just want to go home. Can I leave?” The wind was now 20-plus mph so a 45-degree afternoon became a 30s wind chill.
When showtime starts I usually block out the elements and keep going. I was just happy two groups of people were brave enough to weather the two rough conditions. It was 11,000 steps for me and a handful more to the couch for the evening.
Don’t worry – it will be 90 degrees and sweaty before we know it. And, I’ll then dream of the snowy morning and hope for a breeze.
And it’s better than expected.
Now I’ll leave the nuts and bolts to the website Lincolncottage.org. But a few things hit me during the one-hour tour that was expertly done.
The serenity of the grounds is still there nearly 150 years after Lincoln spent one-fourth of his presidency staying at the cottage. I always wondered how much difference could three miles have made, but if it does so now it must have been countryside then.
The thought of standing in rooms that Lincoln spent so much time is pretty cool. Really, how often can you do that?
Ford’s and Petersen House are great venues, but they’re where Lincoln died. The cottage is about where he lived.
It’s certainly a pleasant alternative during the government shutdown and even after the politicians come to their senses and everything reopens.
It is perhaps the most overlooked statue in plain sight of the man for whom the city is named. Washington Circle by Foggy Bottom that intersects 23rd, K St., New Hampshire Ave. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW has a bronze equestrian statue of George Washington sculpted by Clark Mills. Yes, the same Clark Mills whose Andrew Jackson statue sits in the middle of Lafayette Park.
Washington is shown at the Battle of Princeton. It was first authorized by Congress in 1783, but wasn’t erected until 1860 at a cost of $60,000. The statue is modeled after Jacques-Louis David’s painting “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” with the horse resembling a wild one that once roamed the Midwest plains. Frankly, the statue lacks much of the action shown in the painting.
The circle itself is on Pierre L’Enfant’s original city map of 1791. Ironically, Washington fired L’Enfant over disagreements. The area was a jumping off point for Union troops during the Civil War.
Rocks are a Jewish tradition stemming from the Bible where Rebecca is buried along the road to Jerusalem by her family with the rocks deterring predators. Today, it’s a way of saying hello, I came by the grave. Americans have embraced the idea and also leave coins and medals.
A few months ago, I started noticing rocks atop a grave in Sec. 48 near the Tomb of the Unknowns about 100 feet from the top on the left side when taking the sidewalk from Crook’s Stairs. It’s the biggest pile of rocks by far I’ve seen. Finally, I stopped to see who “Rowe” was.
And it’s an amazing story.
James N. “Nick” Rowe was a U.S. Army lieutenant who was Vietnam prisoner of war from Oct. 29, 1963 when caught in an ambush to Dec. 31 1968 when killing his guard and escaping. Rowe was nearly shot by American troops in a helicopter thinking his clothes meant he was a Viet Cong soldier. He later wrote “Five Years to Freedom” about his imprisonment.
After leaving the Army in 1974, Rowe was recalled to duty in 1981 as a lieutenant colonel to create the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training program taught to high-risk personnel like Special Forces and aircrews. In 1987, Rowe was chief of the Army division of the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group helping Philippine forces counter the communist New People’s Army. In 1989, Rowe warned military leaders of planned assassinations of high-profile leaders, including himself. He was killed by a sniper on April 21, 1989 in Manila.
“So look up ahead at times to come,
despair is not for us;
We have a world and more to see,
while this remains behind.”
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge connecting Maryland and Virginia is named after the U.S. president. The bridge opened in 1961 and included two aluminum medallions of the president that looks like a coin. When a new bridge opened in 2009, the medallions were placed on the new bridge. (Frankly, I would have sold naming rights to the new bridge to Verizon or some big corporation for $200 million to recover some of the $1 billion cost. Certainly they would love the constant mentions on traffic reports. No different than a sports facility.)
The medallions were created by artist Carl Pal Jennewein, a German-born son of a die engraver. He moved to New Jersey in 1915 to work for a company of
architectural sculptors and commercial modelers. The award-winning designer is best known for marble sculptures at the Rayburn House Office Building, 13 Greek deities at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, four stone pylons at the 1939 World’s Fair representing the four elements, two Egyptian pylons at the Brooklyn Public Library entrance and the main entrance of the British Empire at Rockerfeller Square.