©Unless otherwise noted, all content and photos are © 2013 Monumental Thoughts.
The Oscar A. Strauss Memorial Fountain at the Reagan Building along 14th St. N.W. was 20 years in the making. It was time well spent.
Strauss was a German immigrant in the 1850s who become one of the top U.S. diplomats in the late 1880s. He was an ambassador to Turkey and later spent 24 years at the International Court of Arbitration at the Hague in the Netherlands. Strauss was a proponent of the U.S. joining the League of Nations.
After his 1926 death, Congress soon authorized the monument that didn’t debut until 1947 because of World War II and debates over its location. The monument has a fountain and statues of Religious Freedom and The Reason.
It may not be for long. I’m talking to several groups, but until a deal is signed it’s not a done deal. I’ll still edit Warpath magazine on the Redskins and writing a book on the team called “100 Things Every Redskins fan should know and do before they die” that will be released in 2014.
Throw in my business interests as a Realtor, tour guide, poster company, and video company — VideoLegaciesEverlasting.com — and I’ll stay busy. But I’ll be honest — I am a newspaperman first and foremost and nothing replaces that.
My Washington Examiner column can be seen here, but let me add a few thoughts.
People ask me the biggest this or that. Best game, biggest story . . . I’m terrible at that. I live in the moment. I’ll just say it has mostly been a fun ride. Sometimes you lose sight of it during the tight deadlines, long days and low pay, but it’s what I was born to do.
So thanks for reading me in the Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Baltimore Bulletin, Maryland Independent and South Prince George’s Independent over the years. Maybe you’ll see me in another publication soon. If not, Monumental Thoughts lives on.
The Bullfinch Gatehouses certainly get around.
Now at Constitution Ave. and 15th and 17th Streets, the two gatehouses were once on the western edge of the U.S. Capitol grounds from 1828-74. Named for Charles Bullfinch, a prominent Boston architect before succeeding Benjamin Latrobe as architect of the Capitol, the sandstone houses were relocated because of landscaping changes at the Capitol.
|Sometimes the government website says it better than we can. Here is the FBI’s website explanation of the flags along its building on Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington.
The Grand Union, or Continental Colors, serving from 1775-1777, was first raised on January 1, 1776, on Mount Pigsah, Massachusetts, about the time the Continental army came into formal existence. It combined the British Union Jack and 13 stripes, signifying Colonial unity
|The Flag of 1777, which had no official arrangement for the 13 stars. It was flown by John Paul Jones on the USS Ranger and was the first American flag to be recognized by a foreign power.|
|The Betsy Ross Flag, 13 stars, designed by George Washington, Betsy Ross, and Francis Hopkinson. Although rarely used, it was adopted by Congress on June 14, 1777–the official date of today’s Flag Day.|
|The Bennington Flag, 13 six-pointed stars, allegedly flown August 16, 1777, over military stores at the Battle of Bennington, Vermont, when the Vermont militia beat back a superior British force.|
|The Star Spangled Banner, 15 stars and 15 stripes, immortalized by Francis Scott Key in our National Anthem during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, Maryland, in September 13, 1814.|
|The Flag of 1818, 20 stars, commissioned by a Congressional Flag Act that returned the design to 13 stripes and stipulated that stars be added for each new state.|
|The Great Star Flag, 20 stars, designed by Captain Samuel Chester Reid, U.S. Navy, at the request of New York Congressman Peter Wendover and flown over the U.S. Capitol on April 13, 1818.|
|The Lincoln Flag, 34 stars, raised by President Lincoln on February 22, 1861, over Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to send a message to Southern states, which were preparing to secede from the Union.|
|The Iwo Jima Flag, 48 stars, which was commissioned in 1912 but came to symbolize our Nation on February 19, 1945, when U.S. Marines raised it on Mount Suribachi after fearful fighting in World War II’s Pacific campaign.|
|The 49-Star Flag, commissioned in 1959 when Alaska achieved full Statehood. It flew for only one year, until July 4, 1960, after Hawaii achieved its Statehood and when today’s 50-star flag became official.|
What about the large banner streaming from the corner of 9th and Penn? It and its twin on 10th and Penn have been flying since May 29, 2004, after we were invited to be part of the dedication of Washington’s World War II Memorial this past Memorial Day, honoring the 16 million who served and the over 400,000 who died in World War II. This banner, of course, uses the 48-star format of The Iwo Jima Flag.
And that flag around the corner, on 9th street? It’s the 50-star flag, which our FBI police reverently raise each day at 5 am and take down at dusk.
Check out my new business – Video Legacies Everlasting.com
Behind the Lincoln Memorial and guarding the entrances to two bridges leading directly and indirectly to Arlington National Cemetery are four bronze equestrian statues that took a long path to their perch.
By Arlington Memorial Bridge are Arts of War statues while Arts of Peace statues lead to the George Washington Parkway.
A competition won by sculptor James Earle Fraser in 29 wasn’t completed until 1949. They were cast in Italy because of lack of bronze in the U.S. The Prime Minister of Italy then paid the $200,000 cost as a goodwill gesture to the U.S.
Finally, after an owner reneged on a promise to free her in exchange for hard work, Baumfree escaped with her infant child in 1826. By 1843, she changed her name to Sojourner Truth and preached about women’s rights and abolition.
Today, Truth’s bronze portrait is shown on the right side of the Statue of Freedom model inside the U.S. Capitol visitors center’s Emancipation Hall. She is the first African-American woman’s sculpture in the Capitol.
But three days before saying goodbye, I’m up for 2012 Column of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists at a fancy ceremony at the National Press Building. I shared the 1991 Dateline Award for 9/11 coverage while working for The Washington Times, but wasn’t invited to the dinner so this will be my first time in civilized society. Sports writers are used to eating hot dogs at halftime. We don’t mix well with news folks.
Anyway, maybe I’ll leave with a nice plaque. If nothing else I’m second so it’s a nice honor and who knows, maybe someone notices I’m not washed up yet and hires me to write a blog or something.
Meanwhile, I’ll work more as a tour guide and Maryland Realtor (great time to buy or sell folks.) I’m also launching a video company specializing in personal histories. More on that soon.
Until then, see you on the streets.
Well, Dumbarton charges and Montrose is free and more of a recreational area for picnics so it wins for family outings. It was owned by ropemaker Robert Parrot, who let neighbors enjoy the grounds. Sarah Louisa Rittenhouse succesfully lobbied Congress to acquire the property as part of Rock Creek Park. The marker says, “Through her vision and perseverance this land became Montrose Park.”