Monday, February 28, 2011

Ford's Theatre

The site was originally a house of worship, constructed in 1833 as the second meeting house of the First Baptist Church of Washington, with Obadiah Bruen Brown as the pastor. In 1861, after the congregation moved to a newly built structure, John T. Ford bought the former church and renovated it into a theatre. He first called it Ford's Athenaeum. It was destroyed by fire in 1862, and was rebuilt the following year. When the new Ford's Theatre opened in August 1863, it had seating for 2,400 persons and was called a "magnificent new thespian temple".

Just five days after General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln and his wife attended a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre. The famous actor John Wilkes Booth, desperate to aid the dying Confederacy, stepped into the box where the presidential party was sitting and shot Lincoln. Booth then jumped onto the stage, and cried out "Sic semper tyrannis" (some heard "The South is avenged!") just before escaping through the back of the theatre.

Following the assassination, the United States Government appropriated the theatre, with Congress paying Ford $100,000 in compensation, and an order was issued forever prohibiting its use as a place of public amusement. Between 1866 and 1887, the theatre was taken over by the U.S. military and served as a facility for the War Department with records kept on the first floor, the Library of the Surgeon General's Office on the second floor, and the Army Medical Museum on the third. In 1887, the building exclusively became a clerk's office for the War Department, when the medical departments moved out. The front part of the building collapsed on June 9, 1893, killing 22 clerks and injuring another 68. This led some people to believe that the former church turned theatre and storeroom was cursed. The building was repaired and used as a government warehouse until 1931.

It languished unused until 1968. The restoration of Ford's Theatre was brought about by the two decade-long lobbying efforts of Democratic National Committeeman Melvin D. Hildreth and Republican North Dakota Senator Milton Young. Hildreth first suggested to Young the need for its restoration in 1945. Through extensive lobbying of Congress, a bill was passed in 1955 to prepare an engineering study for the reconstruction of the building.[3] In 1964 Congress approved funds for its restoration, which began that year and was completed in 1968.

The theatre reopened on January 30, 1968, with a gala performance attended by First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, Vice-President Hubert Humphrey, and many other government officials and dignitaries. Performers included soprano Patricia Brooks, Henry Fonda, Harry Belafonte, among others.

Since 1968, Ford's Theatre has been both an active theatre presenting plays and musicals and a historic site dealing with the assassination of the 16th U.S. President.[5] The Ford's Theater Museum beneath the theatre contains portions of the Olroyd Collection of Lincolniana. On display are multiple items related to the assassination, including the Derringer pistol used to carry out the shooting, Booth's diary and the original door to Lincoln's theatre box. In addition, a number of Lincoln's family items, his coat (without the blood-stained pieces), some statues of Lincoln and several large portraits of the President, are on display in the museum, including the blood-stained pillow from the President's deathbed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

SkyWatch Friday

The Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery
The Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., was dedicated on May 15, 1920. While many ceremonies are conducted throughout the country, many consider the services at Arlington's Memorial Amphitheater to be the nation's official ceremonies to honor all American service members who serve to keep the United States free.

About 5,000 visitors attend each of the three major annual memorial services in the Amphitheater. They take place Easter, Memorial Day and Veterans Day and are sponsored by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. The Easter Sunrise Service begins at 6 a.m. Memorial Day and Veterans Day services always begin at 11 a.m. Many military organizations also conduct annual memorial services in the amphitheater.

The Memorial Amphitheater was the dream of Judge Ivory G. Kimball, who wished to have a place to assemble and honor the American defenders.

Because of Kimball's campaign, Congress authorized its construction March 4, 1913. Judge Kimball participated in the ground-breaking ceremony March 1, 1915, but did not live to see his dream completed. Ivory Kimball died May 15, 1916, and was buried in Section 3 of the cemetery, near the Memorial Amphitheater he campaigned to build. President Woodrow Wilson placed its cornerstone Oct. 15, 1915.

One copy of the following items is sealed inside the box placed in the cornerstone that day:

The Bible
The Declaration of Independence
The U.S. Constitution
U.S. Flag (1915)
Designs and plans for the amphitheater
L'Enfant's map design of the city of Washington, D.C.
Autograph of the amphitheater commission
One of each U.S. coin in use in 1915
One of each U.S. postage stamp in use in 1915
1914 map of Washington, D.C.
The Congressional Directory
Boyd's City Directory for the District of Columbia
Autographed photo of President Woodrow Wilson
The cornerstone dedication program
The Evening Star newspaper account of the ceremonies, and the campaign to build the Amphitheater
The Amphitheater is constructed mainly of Vermont-quarried Danby marble. The marble in the Memorial Display Room is imported Botticino, a stone mined in Italy. The Memorial Display Room, between the amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknowns, houses plaques and other tributes presented in honor of the four service members interred at the Tomb of the Unknowns (first known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). A small chapel is beneath the Amphitheater stage.

The names of 44 U.S. battles from the American Revolution through the Spanish-American War are inscribed around the frieze above the colonnade. The names of 14 U.S. Army generals and 14 U.S. Navy admirals prior to World War I are inscribed on each side of the amphitheater stage.

"When we assumed the soldier we did not lay aside the citizen," from then-Gen. George Washington's June 26, 1775, letter to the Provincial Congress is inscribed inside the apse. "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain," from President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is inscribed above the stage.

"DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI," a quote from Horace's Ode III, 2, 13 is etched above the west entrance of the Memorial Amphitheater. Translated from the Latin: "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country."

To see skies from all over the world, visit Skyley!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Arlington House

Robert E Lee Memorial. Arlington House was the residence of Robert E Lee and his family before the Civil War.

Built by George Washington Parke Custis and his slaves between 1802 and 1818, the house and grounds have served many purposes over the last two hundred years: a family home for the Lees and Custises, a plantation estate and home to 63 slaves, a monument honoring George Washington, a military headquarters, a community for emancipated slaves and a national cemetery.

The house is currently undergoing a major restoration project and all the furnishings have been removed from the house.

For more info on Arlington house, visit here

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - Arlington

Inscription reads:






The Unknown of World War I

On Memorial Day, 1921, four unknowns were exhumed from four World War I American cemeteries in France. U.S. Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger, who was wounded in combat, highly decorated for valor and received the Distinguished Service Medal in "The Great War, the war to end all wars," selected the Unknown Soldier of World War I from four identical caskets at the city hall in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, Oct. 24, 1921. Sgt. Younger selected the unknown by placing a spray of white roses on one of the caskets. He chose the third casket from the left. The chosen unknown soldier was transported to the United States aboard the USS Olympia. Those remaining were interred in the Meuse Argonne Cemetery, France.

The Unknown Soldier lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda from his arrival in the United States until Armistice Day, 1921. On Nov. 11, 1921, President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Unknown of World War II and Korea

On Aug. 3, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill to select and pay tribute to the unknowns of World War II and Korea. The selection ceremonies and the interment of these unknowns took place in 1958. The World War II Unknown was selected from remains exhumed from cemeteries in Europe, Africa, Hawaii and the Philippines.

Two unknowns from World War II, one from the European Theater and one from the Pacific Theater, were placed in identical caskets and taken aboard the USS Canberra, a guided-missile cruiser resting off the Virginia capes. Navy Hospitalman 1st Class William R. Charette, then the Navy's only active-duty Medal of Honor recipient, selected the Unknown Soldier of World War II. The remaining casket received a solemn burial at sea.

Four unknown Americans who died in the Korean War were disinterred from the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. Army Master Sgt. Ned Lyle made the final selection. Both caskets arrived in Washington May 28, 1958, where they lay in the Capitol Rotunda until May 30.

That morning, they were carried on caissons to Arlington National Cemetery. President Eisenhower awarded each the Medal of Honor, and the Unknowns were interred in the plaza beside their of World War I comrade.

The Unknown of Vietnam

The Unknown service member from the Vietnam War was designated by Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Allan Jay Kellogg Jr. during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 17, 1984. The Vietnam Unknown was transported aboard the USS Brewton to Alameda Naval Base, Calif. The remains were sent to Travis Air Force Base, Calif., May 24. The Vietnam Unknown arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., the next day. Many Vietnam veterans and President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan visited the Vietnam Unknown in the U.S. Capitol. An Army caisson carried the Vietnam Unknown from the Capitol to the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984. President Reagan presided over the funeral, and presented the Medal of Honor to the Vietnam Unknown.

The president also acted as next of kin by accepting the interment flag at the end of the ceremony. The interment flags of all Unknowns at the Tomb of the Unknowns are on view in the Memorial Display Room. The Memorial Bridge leading from Washington, D.C., to Virginia is lined with a joint-service cordon as the remains of the Vietnam War Unknown are taken by motor escort to Arlington National Cemetery for interment in the Tomb of the Unknowns.

(The remains of the Vietnam Unknown were exhumed May 14, 1998. Based on mitochondrial DNA testing, DoD scientists identified the remains as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. It has been decided that the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam Unknown will remain vacant.)

Every hour they perform the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Very moving.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Arlington National Cemetery

This weekend we took a trip up to DC and visited Ford's Theater, Arlington and Mt. Vernon.

This is one of the views from Arlington.

Friday, February 18, 2011

SkyWatch Friday

This morning's sunrise. I just went outside to snap this photo and it is unbelievably nice out! Another spring-like day for us here with temps in the 70's! To see skies from all over the world, visit

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Horses of Cumberland Island

A few years back we took a trip to Cumberland Island. I loved seeing the wild horses there so this week I'll take you back to Cumberland and show you some of my favorite horse pictures :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Bridges - Train Bridge

This is a "3 for 1" special! The first bridge is Humpback Bridge which I featured last Sunday (only open to foot traffic). You can see the ropes that people use to swing into the water on a nice hot summer's day. The middle bridge is the train bridge, complete with a train crossing and the 3rd (in the distance) is for vehicles!

Happy Superbowl Sunday!!

To see bridges from all over the world or to participate, visit world famous Louis La Vache!

Friday, February 4, 2011

SkyWatch Friday

A perfect winter day at Humpback Bridge, Covington, see skies from all over the world, visit SKYLEY!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Food For Thought Thursday - Golden Corral

Yesterday was my twin boy's birthday (the two cute little red heads in the pic) and they chose Golden Corral for their birthday meal which is an all-you-can-eat buffet, but I really think the reason they chose GC is the all-you-can-eat ice cream at the end!

To see more particpants in the Food For Thought series, visit Barcelona Daily Photo

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Woodpecker Ridge

Took the boys on a GeoCache here on Sunday. Funny, I didn't even know this place existed and it's only a few miles from us! Will definitely need to make a visit back in the spring when things are blooming!

The Woodpecker Ridge Nature Center offers birders and nature enthusiasts numerous opportunities for wildlife watching. Features of interest to most visitors include a hawk-watch platform, feeding stations for songbirds and hummingbirds, and butterfly gardens. Trails meander from butterfly gardens through hardwood forests, spruce and cedar stands, open fields, and pond habitats. Buddleia, echinacea, and other blooming flowers in the gardens attract large numbers of butterflies.

For more info on Woodpecker Ridge and directions visit Botetourt County Tourism

AND.....HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my babies Braden and Dalton! Today they turn 9! Where did the last 9 years go?!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February Theme Day - Fountains

Langley Fountain, Lynchburg, VA

Here, about 250 years ago, in the spring of 1757, John Lynch established Lynch’s Ferry. One of the city’s newest attractions now stands, or spouts, in the river at the exact spot where the founder’s ferry crossed the James River centuries ago. The three-year old jet d’eau, donated by a public-spirited citizen as a focus for riverfront renewal, was dedicated on August 20, 2004, and immediately became a major Lynchburg landmark, or watermark. Attached to a 19th -century stone pier that once supported a bridge across the James, and throwing a column of James River water 190' high, it is the highest such fountain east of the Mississippi. Critics have likened the water spout to a broken fire hydrant, which has a ring of truth when it is seen directly from the riverside. From a distance, however, and from other vantages points throughout downtown, the spray that rises above some of downtown’s tallest buildings adds a gossamer effect to the cityscape.

(copied from

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