Origin of the English word monument, “The word ‘monument’ comes from the Latin word moneo, which means to remind. The Romans used the word to describe their public statues and buildings, and this intriguing ancient definition points to the heart of what a monument is. A monument is anything that reminds us of a person, event, or an idea from our collective past”.
From Laura Brooks, author of “Monuments: Masterpieces Of Architecture”
On January 20th, which coincided with Trump’s first year as “El Presidente”, I embarked on my first road trip back to Virginia, since moving to California in 2016, via Interstate 40. I stopped by a cascade of historical sites and monuments starting with the “Lost City” in Nevada, which was the first city ever formed in that state about 3,000 years ago, and the Hoover Dam Lodge (which showed photos of the Hoover Dam being constructed). From there I stayed in Flagstaff Arizona where it was a bitter 11 degrees (I just missed a snowstorm by two days). From there I went to see the mile wide meteor crater site where Neil Armstrong, and the other two astronauts, trained for the Apollo 11 mission before going to the moon. While the astronauts trained there one of their suits ripped, against a rock which caused the team working on the astronaut suits to modify them. Onward I went to the snow covered Petrified Forest, a National Park that is regularly escalated for dinosaur bones. That park has rocks that is hundreds of millions up to a billion years old. Then I went to Albuquerque, New Mexico where I saw the High Noon Saloon, that had been built in 1785, and still had parts of the original building in intact. There I saw a Spanish style home that was essentially a two level mini castle and I saw the National Museum Of Nuclear Science and History with a parking lot full of decommissioned nuclear bombers and a rocket from the Mercury space mission. In Shamrock, Texas I saw a carved stone that was piece of a castle from Ireland and I went to a cafe to sit on the same seat Elvis Presley once sat on before performing at a concert. In Armillo, Texas I went to a famous Steakhouse where I partook in a competition to eat a 72 ounce steak in 60 minutes (I failed). In Clinton, Oklahoma I went to the Route 66 Museum and in Oklahoma City I went to the Cowboy Heritage Museum and the Oklahoma History Museum (where I saw an outfit from Saddam Hussein’s palace that he used to wear that had been acquired from Operation Red Dawn in 2003). From there I went to the Severe Weather Center, to tour the facility and the Doppler Radar station that my father used to work on as an engineer, at my birthplace in Norman, Oklahoma. I visited the closed down Dillard’s shop that my father met my mother at while she was working back when she was a teenager. From there I went to the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis Tennessee where Martin Luther King had been shot 50 years ago. Then I headed to Nashville, Tennessee to the state Capital building and the Tennessee State Museum where I had seen a Ku Klux Klan flag (my first time seeing a KKK flag on display in a museum). From there I made it back to Virginia where I went with my older sister Linda to check out the Smithsonian Space Museum, with various rockets from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. In DC I also saw the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, by Catholic University, and the National Archives. While in Baltimore I went to the top of the 11 Story World Trade Center and the Washington Monument of Baltimore (which is older than the one in Washington DC). After that I went to Fort McHenry, the location of a battle during the War Of 1812 which the song the “Star Spangled Banner” is based off of. I also went to the Walter Art Museum, which has furniture and paintings from royal residences from Europe. In Pennsylvania I went to the Flight 93 Memorial, so now I can say I’ve been to all three sights related to the attacks of 911 that impacted so many worldwide. While in Fredericksburg, Virginia I toured President George Washington’s childhood home, the President James Monroe Museum, the Fredericksburg Civil War Battlefield, a Fredericksburg Civil War Museum that had a confederate flag flying behind the building, the Chatham plantation which had been owned by a wealthy plantation family that had several Romanesque statues in the courtyard enterance of the House with a view of Fredericksburg City in the distance from Stanford Heights, and the steps by the Fredericksburg City Museum where Lincoln has once walked on. In Lorton, I went to Workhouse Arts Center, a former penitentiary from the 1800’s that now hosts several art galleries in rooms prisoners were once housed. In Quantico, I went to the National Marine Corps Museum. In Richmond Invisited the Hollywood Cemetery and the former White House of the Confederacy. Near the former White House, I got to walk along the streets where hundreds of former slaves followed Lincoln, a walk his security detail had advised against due to Confederate sympathizers still being present, reached out for him and called him “The Great Emancipator”. In Virginia Beach I went to the National Aviation Museum where I met veteran from the Korean War, whom I told that the first US conflict was in Korea occurred after the Korean military fired on US ships trying to establish a trade route in that country in 1871. I also went to the Chrysler Art Museum, the Virginia Beach Contemporary Art Museum and to The Artists Gallery, another local art gallery in Virginia Beach where I met the gallery owner Constance Fahey and were I saw book carving of President George Bush’s biography “Decision Points” and of several other books for my first time. From there I went to Norfolk, Virginia where I saw Freemason Street, which had the first ever Masonic Lodge in Virginia and houses from colonial times.
On my way back I continued to go sightseeing on my way to Interstate 10. After seeing Aze Haq, a former actor who played one of the vampires in the “Vampire Diaries” I went to see “The Little White House” where Franklin D. Roosevelt had died in while getting his self portrait done. From there I went to Montgomery, Alabama to see the site were Jefferson Davis visited when the song Dixie was first played, and the house where Martin Luther King resided in when it had been bombed by stanch segregationists. From there I went to Selma to the bridge were the truly unfortunate instance of police brutality called “Bloody Sunday” occurred during the Civil Rights Movement. Then I went to visit the USS Alabama Battleship that served in various battles amungst the Japanese Empire during WWII. Then I went to Baton Rouge to see the Old State Capital that was essentially a castle. Close-by was Lafayette and I went to the house that the Frenchman Lafayette used to live in. Then I went to the Houston Space Center where I saw a replica of the US Space Shuttle. Then I went to Dallas to see the site where John F. Kennedy had been shot and to the courthouse in Fort Worth where the court scenes in Walker Texas Ranger had been filmed. From there I went to a Scottish Rite Temple in El Paso, Texas where I befriended a Vietnam War Veteran. While I on scenic drive, which is on a hill above the city, I could see Mexico from the distance. From there I visited downtown Phoenix, Arizona for Mardi Gras and visited an art gallery in Riverside, California on Valentines Day, while passing by Fort Tejon, an army fort that had been abandoned during the US Civil War. Definitely a trip filled with historically significant and artistic sights to see!
For more information on the above sites you may refer to:
Fountain, Henry. “Otherwordly Arizona”. (2009). New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/travel/escapes/23Flagstaff.html