..I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." - Jefferson to Dr. Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800
God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.
Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.
I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.
Next we saw the George Mason memorial. He wrote the Virginia bill of rights and refused to sign the Constitution without a bill of rights. What a man to be grateful for! What would our country be like today without the bill of rights??
“That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent natural Rights… among which are the Enjoyment of Life and Liberty, with the Means of acquiring and possessing Property, and pursueing and obtaining Happiness and Safety.”
-- George Mason. Virginia Declaration of Rights, May, 1776.
Mason was among the first to call for such basic American liberties as freedom of the press, religious tolerance and the right to a trial by jury.That night Talia had fun crawling into our luggage.
The next day we had a tour of the White House!!This was one of the things I was most excited about for the trip, but I was totally disappointed. After having made reservations through a congressman about 3 months in advance, we were herded in like cows with no tour guide, only a pamphlet and then herded out. It was beautiful, but I like to hear the significance of things! That is what makes the difference to me. So, it was a little bit of a disappointment. We asked a gaurd if anything important had happened in any of the rooms we saw, lately, and he said Sheryl Crow and some other artists had been there about two weeks ago. Oh good, at least we know that our tax dollars are going to personal concerts for the president.-gag!
Andrew Jackson memorial. Department of the Treasury.
We went to the Ford's Theater next.
We weren't allowed to go into the theater that day, due to rehearsals, which was a bummer. But it was cool to see the artifacts in the museum. Like John Wilkes Booth's gun that shot the president...
and the door to the presidential box, Lincoln's clothes, and the pillow he laid on as he was dieing. We went to the National Archives to see all of the founding documents -Constitution, Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights. That was amazing! I didn't realize the documents were on animal skins! Also, the penmanship of those documents is amazing.
Next we went to the Natural History Museum.Yum, Yum, give me gum gum! (Statue from Easter Island, and Night at the Museum.)
We saw huge whales.Sea anemone made of yarn.A great geological section that Talia enjoyed too. (It did say please touch!)Jade. Huge Geodes.The Hope Diamond.Smithsonian Castle.Washington Monument.That night we ate at the Old Ebbits Grill, a place Rob's friend had suggested. Basically across the street from the White House and the Treasury.
That night we drove 3 hours (!) to Jamestown for the next day. It turns out there are two places you can go to see there. A place with people in period dress recreating what it was like, then the actual place with the actual artifacts. One was run by the state, the other the federal gov. What a waste! Don't you think they should work together? Oh well, we decided we wanted to see the real stuff.
Jamestown was the first PERMANENT ENGLISH settlement here in the Americas. They came over in 1607. I learned that John Smith was put in shackles on the boat on the way over and they wanted to kill him, since he and the captain of the ship didn't get along. That it was a commercial endeavor (they thought they would find gold), and that not all the stories we have heard about John Smith and Pocahontas are necessarily true.
Here is an actual bread oven found here at Jamestown.
Here is what some of the living conditions were like there at Jamestown. I can see why lots of people got sick.A memorial put up in 1907.
This was our tour guide. He was awesome. He sounded like a pirate.
I loved the inscription behind him, it reads..
Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own, and to serve and fear God the giver of all goodness, for every plantation which our heavenly father hath not planted shall be rooted out.
Advice of London Council for Virginia to the Colony 1606
This is the original church built by the Jamestown Settlers.
This is the front. This part had to be reconstructed.
As you can see, the settler used oyster shells in their mortar to make up for their lack of limestone.
They have been digging and finding the exact spots where their forts were located and they are building replicas on the exact dimensions locations.
This guy was the coolest ever! He had tons of cool information on Jamestown and is part of the archeological dig that is now going on there at Jamestown. They are digging up bodies of the inhabitants to see, from their bones, if they really died of starvation or of poisoning. He used to work as an engineer for space shuttles and would go to all of the launches! We learned that John Smith wrote tons of stories of women swooning after him and saving him. Also the story he wrote about Pocahontas saving his life may have been made up because 1. He wrote it after she died, 2. She was probably only about 10 years old when it supposedly happened, 3. He wrote about a number of women stepping in and saving his life. We don't have another person to back up the story. So, I was swooning over John Smith her to show all how he said lots of women were swooning over him.
Our tour guide said that Pocahontas would to cartwheels naked in the middle of town when she was about 10 years old. So, we had to get Wendy to recreate that moment for us.We were also told that a couple of old ladies went around to government officials and got the land given to them to make sure that this site was preserved. On this fence, it mentions the "Colonial Dames" that preserved this landmark. So, Wendy, Talia and I are being the Colonial Dames.Next we went to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's home. We got there 1 hour before it closed. We ran to get up to the house, but I think we came at a great time because there were no lines!!
The original front door.
The back of the house. Notice all of the chairs lining the back of the house. I can just imaging people sitting on the back porch and soaking in the beautiful view of the Potomac River. Here is the view. I can understand why George Washington wanted to live here, not in D.C., and wanted to be buried here, not in the Capitol building, like some wanted him to.His carriage.
View on the way to his final resting place.His, and other Washington family member, final resting place. So beautiful and peaceful. Gardens.
We also got to see the original "Prayer at Valley Forge" painting by Arnold Friberg.