Our Canadian Thanksgiving holiday might have been way back in mid-October, but that didn’t stop us from ringing in U.S. Thanksgiving alongside our American friends on our trip to Washington, DC. Surrounded by countless historical sites and buildings in the District of Columbia, we felt the best way to celebrate one of the most coveted national holidays south of the border was with a lengthy walking tour of the American capital on a crisp autumn day. We started our journey through history at one of the most recognizable buildings in the world – the United States Capitol. Sitting atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall, it acts as the official meeting place of the United States Congress, which is made up of two houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Over the years, the Capitol has hosted a multitude of major events, including presidential inaugurations and Independence Day celebrations. Interestingly enough, the building also holds great geographical significance as all addresses in Washington, DC are designated N.E., N.W., S.E., or S.W. in relation to its Rotunda.
Built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, the Lincoln Memorial is a must-visit attraction for anyone making the trek to the DC area. Located on the National Mall directly across from the Washington Monument, Lincoln is featured in a seated sculpture within a temple-like structure. Two of his most famous speeches – the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address – line the walls of the building. Among the most famous speeches given at the historical site was Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in August 1963 in conjunction with the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. One of several monuments constructed to honor American presidents, the Lincoln Memorial is open to the public 24 hours a day, and has been listed on the National Register of Historical Places since 1966. Approximately six million people visit the site each year.
On a previous visit to Washington, DC, we stopped off at the well-known “Reflecting Pool”. Unfortunately, major renovations to the area were underway at the time, and we couldn’t get a very good look at the site. We decided to make a return visit on this trip, and the construction work that began in October 2010 was now complete. Needless to say, the site is nothing short of impressive. Countless tourists were there when we stopped by on Thanksgiving Day. Still, they weren’t lining up to dip their feet in the icy water as per tradition because it was about -10°C outside.