Weekend Getaway in Washington – Major Attractions

Washington, DC which is formally the District of Columbia is the capital of the United States formed on July 16, 1790. According to the Article One of the United States Constitution, the federal district will have a distinct character apart from the rest of the states. It would also serve as the Federal Capital.

It was originally a separate municipality within the federal territory which was later converted in to a single unified municipal government for the whole district. The city shares its name with the state of the same name located on the country’s Pacific Coast.

Even though Washington DC is governed by a mayor and a 13-member city council, yet the United States Congress has the supreme decision making authority and may influence the local laws. This has resulted in the deprivation of voting rights of its residents and has a lesser self-governance as compared to the other states.

The city has several monuments and historical structures which commemorate important phases of American history. The architecture of the city varies greatly and reflects different styles belonging to different eras.

Some of the important and significant structures could be described in the following manner:

Air Force Memorial: This is one of the most significant buildings in the city which give a glimpse of the life of the people with the Air Force. The memorial is simply designed and is visible from the Interstate 395 heading north into Washington DC. The highlight of the Memorial is the trio of curving, obelisk-like, stainless spires of stainless steel which rise up to 270 feet in the air. They symbolize the danger, bravery and courage of the fighter pilots who have been, who are and who will serve the force.

The three spires angle out at the top in three different directions as if three planes in formation were separating from each other in search of different targets. The three spires also signify the three core values of the Air Force; Integrity, Service before Self and Excellence in all that is Undertaken.

FDR Memorial: This memorial is dedicated to both a President and also an era. This monument pays tribute to Franklin Delano Roosevelt who completed four successful terms as a President. All his accomplishments are honored through a variety of sculptures and words etched in four outdoor granite galleries. The exhibits span over a period from 1933-45.

The Memorial was opened in 1997 and is spread on an area of 7.5 acres which feature a park like look with its numerous of pools and waterfalls. The Memorial also has a statue of Eleanor Roosevelt and is the only presidential memorial which has included a tribute to the First Lady too.

Holocaust Memorial Museum: The US Holocaust Museum opened in 1993 and is the country’s leading centre for the study and documentation of the Holocaust. It depicts the genocide and persecution of innumerable Jews, Gypsies, Poles, and other political dissidents by the Nazis in Germany during 1930s and 40s.

It is a three-floor permanent exhibition which tells the tales and history of the Holocaust through artifacts, films, photographs and eyewitness testimonies. It can be a very somber and harrowing learning experience and that is why visitors above the age of 11 years are allowed.

A Hall of Remembrance on the second floor holds an eternal flame and also serves as a national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust.

Thus, the Federal Capital of the United States is a virtual haven for people studying historical monuments and various architectural styles.