The Mall in DC

Location MapAt a time when clowns are terrorising the world and running for president, we took a walk around the National Mall in Washington DC to remind ourselves that great leaders did once exist in this country.

Seriously, there are clowns like Trump running for president and then there are those creepy ass clowns terrorising local neighbourhoods. As a person who finds clowns far more scary than funny, I welcome our creepy clown overlords to take over the world. Because it’s going to be a hell of a lot better than a world where a sexist, racist, discriminatory, megalomaniac with roadkill on his chrome-dome might rule (and I say rule with an air of tyranny) one of the most powerful nuclear-armed countries of the world.

Now I certainly don’t mean to overlook Obama as a great leader and speaker (people will appreciate him more when he’s gone), but what happened America? What happened to the great leaders of the past who you honour in your modern day Rome?

The National Mall in DC is filled with monuments and memorials covered in marble. Thankfully, the obelisk that so defines DC is not one of the many stolen from Egypt during a conquest – it’s just an inspired one. Actually, it’s a pretty inspiring place overall.

After waltzing past the White House like there was nothing to see here people (literally, there wasn’t much to see), we passed the World War II memorial and walked up to the Lincoln Memorial. Good to see this guy getting a good rap in DC and in Gettysburg.

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The Lincoln Memorial

The most impressive part is looking back across Lincoln’s Pool of Reflection towards perhaps the most over done phallic tourist photo in the world.

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The Washington Monument is thankfully not an Obelisk of Light if you know C&C

Feeling a bit peckish we went looking for one of those hotdog stands made famous by so many New York sitcoms. Sadly, it was well below par. No cheese and not even a real sausage?

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Not a great hotdog and my crazy brother

Out of the war memorials in DC and those back home, the Korean War Veteran’s memorial has to be the most interesting. Faces are etched into the stone wall which reflects the larger than life statues behind you. The expressions of the soldiers, wrapped in their winter cloaks for the cold Korean winter, are moving and eerie amid the undergrowth.

Apparently, on ANZAC day they hold the dawn service here and the statues emerge from their shroud of darkness and mist. It must be quite a sight. I knew Australia was involved in the Korean War, but I didn’t realise how big it was. There were millions of casualties.

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The Korean War Veteran's memorial is surely the best

Walking around the Tidal Basin we found the Martin Luther King Jr memorial. I guess he must be the only non-president specifically represented here, but here for good reason.

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Martin Luther King Jr's Memorial

Further around the lake is the memorial for Franklin D. Roosevelt and I think this was my favourite. A hundred metres or so of walls covered in peaceful waterfalls and quotes from FDR and his wife Eleanor.

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FDR's statue with his Scottish Terrier, Fala

So many great quotes from FDR stand out, but for me I think my favourite is:

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough to those who have too little.
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Right around the other side is a memorial for the USA’s 3rd president, Thomas Jefferson who is quite contrasting to all but Lincoln. They were over a hundred years before the others I guess.

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The Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin

All of these great leaders had a way with words and a clear belief in their good causes expressed through their words and actions. They believed that they existed in their role to humbly serve the people and defend their rights, not to big note themselves, amass wealth or wield power.

But alas, like the days of gentlemen, the days of great leaders seem to be over. Hopefully, we’re wrong though and there are some out there that just need a little more time to come around.

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