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As most people know,
Washington, D.C. is the capital of the
Untied States of America. Actually, the official name
of the area is the District of Columbia; however, the
Washington name has been used because it was our first
President, George Washington, who picked the site for
the capital city.
It could be said that the Washington area of the district
is that area that contains the official government buildings.
The District of Columbia is not a state and is the only
area of the continental United States not represented
by a star on the national flag.
himself chose the location for the
city that bears his name, and which serves as the seat
of government for the United States of America. Over the
course of 200 years, Washington, D.C
has grown with the nation, and it now represents the very
best of America. From its monuments to its incomparable
museums, from the Mall to the steps of the Capitol, Washington
offers visitors one-of-a-kind attractions.
The majestic Capitol building stands at the center of
the city, allowing unobstructed views of the best known
attractions and centers of government.
The giant open space of the Mall is marked off by the
various museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the largest
cluster of museums in the world. The National Museum of
the American Indian pays tribute to the original American
settlers. The National Air and Space Museum celebrates
the nation's achievements in flight and space exploration,
from the Wright brothers first biplane to the Apollo moon
mission and beyond. Visitors line up daily for the Natural
History, American History, and Science Museums to explore
the wonders of history, science, and technology, and to
view the famous Hope Diamond.
The Smithsonian Institution also includes the world-famous
Sackler, Freer and Hirshhorn galleries. Art lovers appreciate
the nearby National Portrait Gallery and National Museum
of American Art.
Looking past the mall, the Washington monument stands
505 feet above the city.
It was the tallest man made structure in America from
its completion until the early 1900's. Behind this monument
is the reflecting pool and the memorials dedicated to
President Abraham Lincoln and to those whose lives were
lost in World War II, the Vietnam War , and the Korean
conflict. New to the area of the tidal basin, and facing
the Jefferson Memorial, a memorial to Franklin Roosevelt
lies on the Potomac River. Not far from there, the National
Holocaust Museum hosts millions of visitors each year.
The offices of the various government agencies take
up much of the remainder of the city, and most offer
free tours to the public. The White House also offers
free tours, and the lines can sometimes stretch around
the adjoining block to visit "the people's house."
Just outside the city, the National Zoo houses thousands
of animals on 163 acres of parkland.
Across the river in Arlington, the Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier stands amidst the somber majesty of Arlington
National Cemetery, where John and Robert Kennedy are
Washington has many distractions from politics. Washington's
theater life is thriving; it is second only to New York
in number of theater seats. The National Symphony and
other musical companies play full schedules. As a temporary
home to diplomats from around the world, Washington's
restaurant offerings are among the finest and most diverse
in the country.