Thursday, May 9, 2013
Because of my recent knee surgery, and subsequent (and ongoing) recovery process, things have been somewhat quiet for the past month. Thanks in part to the physical therapy exercises I'm currently doing, I have much more mobility now in my left knee, but I'm still far from completely recovered. Which has proven to be very frustrating, because I love to walk. I'm getting tired of hobbling and limping.
Anyway, getting to the point of this particular post, we found ourselves in Alexandria this afternoon needing to visit our credit union. The transactions were done much more quickly than anticipated, and with some unanticipated free time and with my camera conveniently on hand, we decided to visit the George Washington Masonic Memorial, the 333-foot (101 meters) tall edifice that sits atop a hill overlooking downtown Alexandria. We've driven by this building on many occasions, and Amber and I once took a look at the outside after closing time, but today was the moment we took the opportunity to finally go inside and ascend the tower. Which can be done at any time during opening hours provided you join the guided tour - ours commenced at 3 p.m.
Inside the main hall, the general stands tall and proud. My daughter, who last week went on a school field trip to Mount Vernon, was suitably impressed.
Lafayette, we are down here. Stained-glass windows of prominent personages from Washington's time line the walls on the left and right sides of the main hall.
On the third floor there are displays on Masonic societies in the United States. My maternal grandfather was at one time a Mason in the U.K.
The fourth floor contains artifacts connected with Washington's life. Some of the odder ones included locks of the first President's hair and a cup made with metal from his first casket. I settled for a picture of this banner carried by American forces during the War of 1812 (which took place thirteen years after Washington's death).
The real reason for visiting the Washington Memorial is to enjoy the views from the ninth-floor observation deck. Here is the view looking down King Street in Alexandria. In the distance loomed ominous-looking rain clouds.
The skies were a little clearer looking towards the District of Columbia
Things were getting breezy as the rain clouds neared, but being wind-swept didn't seem to faze Amber much.
Back inside, we walked through a hallway lined with postcard images of historic Masonic temples from various locales around the U.S. This is Sacramento's house of Masonry, dating from 1913. Below is a picture of what is looks like today:
The George Washington Masonic Memorial from the outside. This was taken as we were leaving for home, and by this point the rain clouds had started to reach us.