Houdini and Francis Scott Key drank here

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Let’s visit the old Redskins Park

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Strutting in Peacock Alley

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Steamed crabs Southern Maryland style

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War of 1812 remembered

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The memorial FDR really wanted

Name the five greatest U.S. presidents and Franklin Delano Roosevelt should make the list. Ironically, he received the least striking memorial until a second was built in 1997.

But that’s the way Roosevelt wanted it.

Shortly before his 1945 death while barely into his fourth term, Roosevelt told Justice Felix Frankfurter to erect a basic white monument the size of his desk. It wasn’t erected until 1965, but still sits by the National Archives along Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. The white marble cost $12,000 and paid for by admirers.

Ironically a commission began planning the larger memorial in 1955, 10 years before this memorial opened.

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National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is must see

National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
It has probably been 40 years since I last saw the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and it wasn’t even completed then. A recent visit showed I’ve been away too long.

National Shrine of the Immaculate ConceptionThe Shrine on the outer edge of Catholic University on 400 Michigan Ave. NE is far more than a Catholic church that has seen Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict visit. It is a place of unique architecture as well as worship with nearly one million visitors annually.

It was a long journey towards completion, starting with a 1910 request to build it that took 10 years before the cornerstone was layed. The lower (crypt) level was completed by 1931, but the death of a bishop, the Great Depression and World War II halted construction until 1959. It was completed in 1990. More than 70 chapels and oratories fill it.

The beauty and peace that fills the Shrine certainly make it a must see. And, there’s even guided tours, free and ample parking and a cafeteria.

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The Torch of Freedom still shines brightly

Torch of Freedom

It’s not often one monument can essentially tell the history of the U.S., but the Torch of Freedom gives 12 scenes from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam.

Located in front of the Veterans of Foreign Wars building at Constitution Ave. and Second St. N.E. the three-sided bronze marker features relief scenes of major events.

The 35-foot marker was erected in 1976 and sculpted by Felix de Weldon, who is more famous for the Marine Corps War Memorial commonly known as the Iwo Jima Memorial.

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Eleftherios Venizelos: Maker of Modern Greece

OK, I admit knowing nothing of Eleftherios Venizelos when coming across the statue along Embassy Row on Massachusetts Ave. by the Greek embassy. But that’s the cool part of being a tour guide – you learn, learn and learn.

Venizelos was prime minister of Greece from 1910-20 and 1928-32. During his time, Venizelos helped re-unite Crete and Greece, aligned with the Allied forces during World War I despite the monarchy’s opposition and doubled overall population and geography by gaining Macedonia, Epirus and the Aegean islands.

If you fly into Athens nowadays you’ll see its named for Venizelos.

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Star Wars coming to Smithsonian Air & Space

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Ben Franklin along Pennsylvania Ave.

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Visit Great Falls

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Iwo Jima memorial

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VP heading to the Hill

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Lost in a sunflower maze

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How to say War-shington

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Roman statues at Union Station

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Driving around Washington in 1941

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Visit Charlottesville, Va.

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Visit two regional aviation museums

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