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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Come on-a My (White) House

You know this house. I know this house. My daughter knows this house. I had planned on taking the family on a tour of the White House, but when I recently learned that there would be a wait of between 5-6 months for tickets (obtained from your state's members of Congress) - not enough time considering that we're scheduled to leave for Shanghai 上海 in February - I figured I owed it to my daughter at least to show her where the President of the United States lives and works, even if meant having to content ourselves with looking in from the outside.

We approached the White House this afternoon by way of Lafayette Square, home to several statues of heroic figures from American history, but only one of them an actual American. That honor belongs to Andrew Jackson, hero of the War of 1812 and the seventh President. Amber had never heard of him, so I showed her a twenty-dollar bill to illustrate who he was. She was happy to turn the bill over and realize she was seeing the same building almost directly in front of her:

Another statue we checked out in the square was that of Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Pole who fought for the U.S. during the American Revolution. The rear of the statue features an American eagle killing a snake under the words "And freedom shrieked as Kosciusko fell":

To badly paraphrase General Pershing, "Here I am, Lafayette!" This tribute to the Marquis de Lafayette (no surrender monkey, he) shows a nude woman symbolizing America handing the French general a sword. Anyone who has ever proudly eaten "Freedom Fries" should be made to stand guard here during the height of a Washington, D.C. summer (mostly as punishment for not realizing that french fries come from Belgium, not France):

Following a quick lunch of hot dogs purchased from a cart, the two of us (my wife decided to take the opportunity to relax at home this afternoon) went up to the gates to have a closer look at the Executive Mansion:

At White House Gifts. Tea parties are not for racist reactionaries who are shockingly ignorant of American history (recent and otherwise):

We walked over to the South Lawn, where Marine One lands and takes off. Today, the only activities taking place on the grass were provided by numerous squirrels, who obviously enjoy presidential protection:

Amber and I finished off the afternoon by playing some Frisbee on the Ellipse. When I was her age, I wanted to visit Washington, D.C. and see all the sites. My daughter is getting to do these things now - there's no better place than here for an introductory course in American civics:

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