Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Lyle Laverty set up a special Washington Mall monument tour for us on Wednesday. He arranged for a National Park Service ranger to take us around to all of the monuments on the mall. We were told to be in the lobby of the Interior building on C Street.
Assistant Secretary Laverty met us there and introduced us to Ranger Jerry. At about 9 AM we loaded up into a van and then we were off for our special tour.
Our first stop was the World War II Memorial. Having a National Park Ranger on the tour was awesome. Ranger Jerry explained the layout of the memorial and told us how 400,000 Americans died in the war.
After the World War II Memorial we drove up to Arlington Cemetary where we visited President Kennedy's grave and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After watching the changing of the guard we drove back to the Washington Mall and went to the top of the Washington Monument.
One of the benefits of going on the tour with Ranger Jerry was that he would park the van right next to the monuments. At the Washington Monument he literally pulled the van up on the sidewalk.
Our last stop before lunch was the Jefferson Memorial. We took a moment to get this picture with Ranger Jerry.
When we finished there Ranger Jerry took us to the Reagan Building for lunch. There is a food court in the basement.
Did I mention it was cold and rainy in DC that day? The hour we had at the food court was a welcome respite.
After lunch we stopped at the FDR Memorial, which I didn't even know existed. It is now my favorite monument in DC, the kind of monument I would want people to build for me (I don't need the 55 story phalice, I'll leave that one to Alex).
We also visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial. Ranger Jerry was there the whole time, giving us a running commentary on the history of the monuments and the wars and presidents they honor.
A huge thanks to Ranger Jerry and Assistant Secretary Laverty for taking good care of us.