Hey Blog Followers,
This post will be really really LONG !
If you are in a hurry read it later, or just look at the pictures.
Cliffs Notes – some of our favorite things below in Red.
Tuesday June 12 = 1st day in Annapolis
Wednesday June 13 = 1st Day in Washington DC – Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, The White House, WWII Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery.
Thursday June 14 = 2nd Day in Washington DC – Lunch at the Exclusive Capitol Hill Club, visiting Capitol Hill, Library of Congress, Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park.
Friday June 15 = Annapolis Naval Academy
Saturday June 16 = Just sittin’ at Ego Alley and watching Boats & People.
Jun 12 – Tue
Well, we just arrived in Annapolis today, and so far I must say – WOW !
We have only seen the city for about 4 hours and we already love it.
Annapolis looks like a mix of St. Augustine, Savannah, Charleston with many restaurants, bars, pubs, art galleries, theatres, music venues, churches, domed city buildings, brick lined streets, town circles, and lots of cool 1800 vintage houses.
All within walking distance from the marina.
AND – It is home to The Annapolis Naval Academy.
We arrived about 12:30pm.
We got tied up & checked in.
We had the ceremonial safe arrival beer toast.
We washed the outside of the boat & cleaned the inside.
We (when I say we, I mean I) took a nap.
We showered up.
We went into town.
Annapolis is the capital of Maryland (it became the 2nd capitol after St Mary’s in 1694) and has a current population of about only 40,000 (surprisingly small to me).
Situated on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the Severn River, 25 miles south of Baltimore and about 30 miles east of Washington, D.C.
The history of Annapolis dates back to 1649, when an English community of Puritans, seeking religious freedom, nestled into a spot on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay and called their new town Providence.
This small settlement grew, eventually becoming named Anne Arundel’s Towne, after the wife of Lord Baltimore. By the late 1600’s, Anne Arundel’s towne housed most of the 25,000 residents in Maryland, and in 1694, Governor Sir Francis Nicholson chose it as the capital of Maryland because of its central location.
Nicholson renamed this new capital Annapolis in honor of Princess Anne, who became Queen of England 1702. He directed that the city be built following a grand baroque street plan, similar to the great capitals of Europe. The highest town circle revolved around the capitol building. The second-highest circle featured an Anglican church. Residential areas, merchant districts and schools sprouted up around these centers.
In the 1700’s, Annapolis led the political, cultural and economic activities of all the Colonies. Construction of what is now the Annapolis State House began in 1772. The state house has since hosted numerous monumental events, including General George Washington’s resignation from the Continental Army in 1783. Present-day visitors can step inside the Old Senate Chamber, where this event occurred.
Toward the end of the Revolutionary War, the city temporarily served as The Nations Capital to the newly forming American government when the Continental Congress met in Annapolis from November 26, 1783 to June 3, 1784. (Note – the Nations Capitol has actually been in 7 other cities besides Washington DC).
Congress also ratified the Treaty of Paris here on January 14, 1784, which ended the American Revolution.
Since the 1800’s & after the Civil War, steamboats began bringing visitors to Annapolis to lounge on the beaches and the waterfront location of the City Dock encouraging the growth of resorts, beachfront shops and yacht clubs, and establishing Annapolis as an elite summer destination.
At the turn of the 19th century, water trades such as oyster packing, boat building and sail-making became the city’s chief industries. Waterfront villages took root throughout the county, and the shipping ports bolstered their workforce.
Today, Annapolis is rapidly becoming a center for high-tech industrial development as well. The city’s location in the high-tech corridor between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. helps attract and retain technology companies and services. New companies concentrate primarily in the areas of fiber optics, telecommunications, computer-related technologies, Internet-based services, regional data centers, medical equipment and supplies distribution, and environmental concerns.
The main technical industries in the city are the production of radar electronic equipment and underwater military devices, as well as research and development, and communications. Annapolis is a port of entry and a farm produce shipping center for nearby agricultural areas.
Enough History for now !
We went into town on our first Annapolis walk about 6pm.
The city looks very European with traffic circles, somewhat narrow brick-lined streets, lots of street-side cafes, and the buildings/businesses all conjoined together.
The choices for dinner were endless.
We ended up tonight at a place called Stan & Joes.
We sat at the bar, and had a wonderful dinner as we picked the brains of the waitress Hanna & bartender Phil, for things to see while in Annapolis.
After dinner, we walked back to the boat thru the historic residential district.
The historic district had a hilly terrain, very narrow 1800 vintage houses, conjoined colorful houses, and brick-lined sidewalks.
At the end of the residential area, we re-entered the marina area. There are about 8 marinas right here in Spa Creek near what is known as the Ego Alley area, where folks come to show off their boats & look at other people’s boats.
There are another 10 marinas in nearby Back Creek, just south of Spa Creek Bay.
We saw a relay race of paddle boarders in process in one of the harbors.
When we returned to our Annapolis Yacht Basin Marina, we saw a very large boat with a HELICOPTER !
The bay we are in is beautiful, with views of many moored sailboats & also views of The Naval Academy, across Annapolis Bay.
It was a great 1st night in Annapolis, and we can’t wait to see the rest of the city this weekend.
For the next 2 days, we will drive to Washington DC and learn a lot about our Nations Capital. Both Jonell & I have never been to DC, we are really looking forward to it.
Jun 13 – Wed
Wednesday was one of the highly anticipated days that we have been looking forward to since we left on The Loop – It was the 1st visit ever, for both me & Jonell in Washington DC !
We rented a car to visit DC, rather than boating 3 days up/back on the Potomac River.
With the coaching of our Looper friends Lab Partners (Beth & Rip), our plan was not to drive in to DC, but to drive the rental car to a metro station just outside of DC (the New Carrollton Station) , and take the Metro into DC.
We are currently planning on 2 days in DC, with more than 18 places on our itinerary.
Today we were able to visit 7 historic, well-known places.
1. The Washington Monument
2. The National WWII War Memorial
3. The Lincoln Memorial
4. The National Mall Reflecting Pool
5. The Vietnam Memorial
6. The White House
7. Arlington National Cemetery
8. The US Marine War Memorial – Iwo Jima Memorial
1. The Washington Monument
> The Washington Monument was built to commemorate George Washington, the first President of the United States.
> Located due east of the Reflecting Pool and the Lincoln Memorial.
> The monument is made of marble, granite, and bluestone.
> It is the world’s tallest stone structure and tallest obelisk, standing 554 feet 7 inches.
> Construction of the monument began in 1848, was halted from 1854 to 1877 due to lack of funds and the intervention of the American Civil War, and officially opened October 9, 1888.
> A difference in shading of the marble, visible approximately 150 feet or 27% up, shows where construction was halted and later resumed with marble from a different source.
Unfortunately, the monument was closed for repairs to the elevator system, so we could only see the outside.
2. The National WWII War Memorial
> The National World War II Memorial was dedicated relatively recently, on May 29th, 2004.
> This was the first national memorial made to remember World War II, the 16 million Americans who served in the armed forces at that time, and the more than 400,000 soldiers who died in the war.
> The memorial is located in the National Mall, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
> It was proposed in 1987, when a World War II veteran Roger Durbin approached Representative Marcy Kaptur from Ohio, to ask if a World War II memorial could be constructed. Kaptur introduced the World War II Memorial Act to the House of Representatives as HR 3742 on December 10, 1987.
> It took two and a half years to build.
> It is the size of a football field, and contains arches, pillars, a wall of stars, fountains, a pool, and many inscriptions.
> The memorial consists of 56 granite pillars, arranged in a semicircle & two 43-foot arches on opposite sides.
> Each pillar is inscribed with the name of one of the U.S. states.
> The northern arch is inscribed with “Atlantic”, the southern arch with “Pacific.”
> As one approaches from the Pacific arch, the pictoral scenes begin with soon-to-be servicemen getting physical exams, taking the oath, being issued military gear, the combat scenes, burying the dead, & ending in a homecoming scene.
> On the Atlantic arch side, there is a similar progression, but with scenes generally more typical of the events in the European theatre. Some scenes take place in England, depicting the preparations for air and sea assaults.
> The last scene is of a handshake between the American and Russian armies when the western and eastern fronts met in Germany.
> The monument also includes a semi-circular Freedom Wall with about 4000 Gold Stars, with each star representing one hundred service personnel killed or missing in action, totally over 400,000 people, second to only the 600,000 Americans killed in the Civil War.
3. The Lincoln Memorial
> It took more than 50 years to get a memorial built for Lincoln – He was assassinated in 1865, but the memorial did not open until 1922.
> It has 36 columns representing the states in the union at the time of Lincoln’s death.
> Daniel Chester French designed the statue of America’s 16th President — which was produced by a family of Tuscan marble carvers known as the Piccirilli Brothers.
> The statue is composed of 28 blocks of white marble.
> The north & south walls contain 2 of Lincoln’s most famous speeches; Lincoln’s inaugural speech is inscribed on the North wall, and the Gettysburg address is on the South Wall.
> The Memorial Steps – There are 87 steps from the Reflecting Pool to Lincoln’s statue inside the Memorial. The number 87 is for ‘four scores’ and ‘7’ , from Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.
> Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, was delivered on the steps of the memorial on August 28, 1963, and an inscription is present on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
> From 1959 to 2008 – the Lincoln Memorial was shown on the back of the US one cent penny & Lincoln’s portrait bust on the front.
Trivia – what is currently on the back side of the penny ?
* 1909-1958: The words ONE CENT between two wheat ears
* 1959-2008: The Lincoln Memorial
* 2009: Various images from Lincoln’s life
* 2010-: The Union Shield
> The memorial also appears on the back of the U.S. five dollar bill.
4. The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool
> The Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool is the largest of many reflecting pools in Washington, D.C.
> It is located in between the Lincoln Memorial & the Washington Monument.
> Part of the iconic image of Washington – It is lined by walking paths and shade trees on both sides.
> It dramatically reflects the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Mall’s trees, and/or the sky.
> My searches for what the reflecting pool symbolizes or why it was built really came up with nothing other than the visual effects linked to the Lincoln & Washington Monuments.
5. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
> The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built without government funds – Jan C. Scruggs, a wounded Vietnam War vet, starting with $2,800 of his own money to form the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in 1979. Many politicians expressed their support, and the U.S. Congress passed legislation reserving three acres in the northwest corner of the National Mall for a future monument. All donations, however, came from the private sector. Bob Hope and other celebrities lended a hand with fundraising, and by 1981 some 275,000 Americans, along with corporations, foundations, veterans groups, civic organizations and labor unions, had given $8.4 million to the project.
> A college student won the memorial’s design contest – The guidelines stipulated that the memorial should contain the names of every American who died in Vietnam or remained missing in action, make no political statement about the war, be in harmony with its surroundings and be contemplative in character. Over 1,400 submissions came in to be judged anonymously by a panel of eight artists and designers. In the end, the panel passed over every professional architect in favor of a 21-year-old Yale University student Maya Lin, who had created her design for a class.
> All of the names on the wall have been read out loud five times – As part of the wall’s 30th anniversary celebration in 2012, all 58,282 names were read out loud just prior to Veterans Day. Volunteers started reading the names on a Wednesday afternoon (except for breaks from midnight to 5 a.m. each day), they didn’t finish until the following Saturday night. Every name was similarly read out loud in 2007, 2002, 1992, and 1982.
> As of Memorial Day 2017, there are 58,318 names on the wall with a few more added each year.
> The walls are sunken into the ground, with the earth behind them, symbolically, this is described as a “wound that is closed and healing”
> One wall points toward the Washington Monument, the other in the direction of the Lincoln Memorial.
> The earliest date of eligibility for a name to be included on the memorial is November 1, 1955, which corresponds to President Eisenhower deploying the military assistance. The last date of eligibility is May 15, 1975.
> The names on the wall are listed in chronological order by date of death.
> At the entrance, there are books inside weather-proof enclosures which list the names alphabetically, and then tell you what section on the wall you should look for your loved one.
> There is debate on the 1st person recorded as being killed in action in Vietnam. Google shows Richard B. Fitzgibbon, but the docent guide gave us a long story advising us that is not an accurate statement. He told us the 1st two men were Dale Buis & Chester Ovnard.
> Jonell & I also spent some time looking for my only real rememberance to the Vietnam War. When I was about 15 years old, I wore a POW bracelet for about 3-4 years, with the name of a soldier from Warren Michigan named Michael J. O’Conner. The bracelet was given to me by my Uncle & Aunt – Wayne & Betty Murphree , who were president & secretary of the Warren Jaycees, and actively involved in the return of missing POWs.
After about 10 minutes of looking for his name in the book, we finally figured out that his name would not be on the wall, because he eventually made it home after being released from the POW camps.
> The visit to the wall was a somewhat chilling/somber event.
6. The White House
We visited the White House Visitors Center and read a bunch of interesting facts regarding the White House History.
> 1792 – George Washington selects the location of the White House.
> 1800 – John Adams becomes the 1st president to live in the White House.
> 1819 – British troops set fire to the WH, 1st Lady Dolly Madison rescues a portrait of George Washington, & it is ultimately returned to the renovated WH as the only object from the original 1800 residence.
> 1833 – The WH receives running water.
> 1861 – The Civil War begins, union troops occupy the WH to protect Lincoln, and the WH remains open to the public throughout the war.
> 1863 – Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation in the WH.
> 1865 – 600 mourners attend the funeral service for Lincoln in the East room of the WH.
> 1865 – President Johnson pardons all confederate troops.
> 1878 – 1st Easter egg Roll at the WH.
> 1894 – The WH receives electricity.
> 1902/1909 – President T. Roosevelt leads an extensive renovation of the WH, including a new temporary working area known today as The West Wing.
> 1909 – President Taft makes the West Wing permanent & adds the Oval Office.
> 1921 – Warren G. Harding reopens the WH after being closed during WWI.
> 1923 – Radio comes to the WH.
> 1948/1952 – President Truman initiates a complete renovation of the crumbling WH, gutting the interior, and leaving only the exterior walls intact. The interior is rebuilt to be historically accurate.
> 1956 – 1st televised press conference by President Eisenhower.
As expected, security was very high and the photos of The White House are limited to those taken at some distance away.
Interior tours are available, but you must apply 3 months ahead of time for security clearances.
7. Arlington National Cemetery
Maybe you are thinking, boy this is a long post (you should try writing it !)
We’ll try to keep this section about Arlington shorter.
We saw a lot of memorable things, but the most interesting for us were;
> The enormous number of tombstones (over 400,000) on the beautiful 624 acre site.
> The Kennedy Grave sites – John F. Kennedy & Jacqueline
> The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier & changing of the guard
> Monuments to the Space Shuttle Heroes
The enormous number of tombstones (over 400,000) on the beautiful 624 acre site.
> The Kennedy Grave sites and eternal flame – John F. Kennedy & Jacqueline
> The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier & changing of the guard
Video – Changing of the Guard = https://youtu.be/y2IOLFz1EYk
> Monuments to the Space Shuttle Heroes (Challenger-1986) & (Columbia-2003)
Ok, I know you really wanted some interesting facts about Arlington, here are a couple:
> One of the soldiers buried at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier was identified 14 years after he was buried – The World War I, World War II and Korean War soldiers buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are unknown, but the identity of the Vietnam soldier is known but not released.
> Arlington National Cemetery is on lands once owned by Robert E. Lee – after Virginia seceded from the union, the property was overrun by federal troops. When Mary Anna Lee couldn’t pay a $92.70 property tax in person, the federal government snatched it, selling it to a tax commissioner for government use.
> The cemetery didn’t gain a national reputation until after the burial of President John F. Kennedy – After his assassination in 1963, President Kennedy’s body was expected to be buried at the Kennedy family plot near Brookline, Mass. But after First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy stated her husband belonged to the people, a burial plot in Arlington Cemetery just below General Lee’s old mansion was prepared.
8. The US Marine Corps War Memorial ( Iwo-Jima Memorial)
Just outside of Arlington is the Iwo-Jima Memorial.
On February 19, 1945 about 70,000 marines invaded the small Pacific Island of Iwo Jima which was under control of the Japanese army. The island was a strategic objective due to its airfield which was used for kamikaze attacks. By capturing the island, the Allied Forces would not only prevent attacks from the island but it would also give them a base from where the Japanese mainland could be reached by the B-29.
One of the first objectives in the attack was capturing Mount Suribachi, the highest point on the island. On February 23, 1945 at around 10:30 am, a small American flag was raised atop the mountain. Later that day, a much larger flag was raised by five Marines and a Navy corpsman. The flag raising was witnessed by news photographer Joe Rosenthal whose pulitzer prize winning picture of the flag raising would become a symbol of the war in the Pacific.
The very long, very tiring 1st day at DC was over, it was time to return to the marina in Annapolis.
When we got home from the very long day at Washington DC, we were entertained by a very chaotic sail boat race in the harbor next to our marina. Sailboats were coming into the finish line and there were several near misses of contact between boats & boats almost hitting the docks. The videos we caught don’t really show the full amount of the chaos, it was scary & funny to watch at the same time.
Sailboat Videos ;
> Video 1 = https://youtu.be/dTMrZKkX1Ag
> Video 2 = https://youtu.be/k4FTqWCQFks
Jun 14 – Thu
On Thursday we again drove the rental car to New Carrollton and took the Metro into DC.
Today was a special day thanks to Looper Pal Beth Tyler from Lab Partners.
Beth has a DC lawyer friend who was able to get us on the guest list at The Capitol Hill Club in Washington DC.
The Capitol Hill Club (also known as The National Republican Club of Capitol Hill) is a private social club for Republicans. It was established in 1951 by former New Jersey Congressman James C. Auchincloss & 100 other members. It is now “one of the most popular” exclusive gathering spots in Washington for lawmakers, government officials and other members of the political establishment.
Nellie & I arrived about 11:15am for the 11:30 Lunch Buffet.
We were seated and met waiter “Robert” who was very social.
I asked Robert who the most famous person was that he served ?
He said that there were many, but that current Vice President Mike Pence used to come most every day. Robert also said that he considers Speaker Paul Ryan as a friend.
We discussed our background a little and talked about The Loop.
Robert seemed enamored by the thought of The Loop, and discussed it with all his co-workers in the kitchen. He actually made us feel special.
The club was very swank and had paintings of many past Republican presidents all over the walls. The Grill was in the basement of the club, the Dining Room was on the 2nd floor. Nellie & I had dressed up a little and ate lunch in the 2nd floor Dining Room (Jackets Required).
While we were walking through the club, we saw a sign for The Annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, to be played later in the evening at Nationals Baseball Park. So that became our night-time plan.
After lunch, we walked over to The US Capitol Building.
We took some photos of Jonell on the Capitol Steps, then went on a 90 minute tour.
During the tour, docent Robert walked us into the Capitol Dome.
Robert showed us the beautiful mural at the top of the dome, and explained that the mural represents George Washington being welcomed into heaven. The mural is called The Apotheosis of Washington.
The center of the mural shows Washington with his knees draped in cloth, and he is surrounded by 15 women. 13 of the women represent the original 13 colonies, the other two represent Victory & Liberty.
On the outer perimeter of the mural are six scenes, each representing a national concept: “War,” “Science,” “Marine,” “Commerce,” “Mechanics,” and “Agriculture”
Just below the Washington mural, on the outer perimeter of the walls is another mural which shows the evolution of the country, starting with Columbus and the Indians & ending with the Wright Brothers.
After The Dome, we went into the National Statuary Hall (or Hall of Statues).
National Statuary Hall is a chamber in the United States Capitol devoted to sculptures of prominent Americans. Also known as the Old Hall of the House, it actually was the meeting place of the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 50 years (1807–1857), where many debates occurred. After new chambers were built, the room was repurposed as a statuary hall. Each state is allowed 2 statues, but there are only 24 on display at any one time, the rest are in storage. All statues must be Bronze or Marble.
The statues from Michigan include ; Lewis Cass in the Hall of Statues & Gerald R. Ford in The Rotunda (we did not get photos of these statues).
BTW – Lewis Cass was an American military officer and politician who served as governor of Michigan from 1813 until 1831. He is also the person of whom Cass Tech High School in Detroit is named after (where yours truly attended from 1973-1976).
After the Statuary Hall, as we were walking to the Library of Congress, we noticed the entrance to an interesting office.
After The Capitol Building, we had short stops to see The Library of Congress & The US Supreme Court. We were on a tight schedule to get to the baseball game, so we did not spend much time at either of these 2 places.
To end the day, we went to The Nationals Baseball Park, to watch the 57th Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. This was a very special game because it was the 1 year anniversary of the shooting of US Representative Steve Scalise, shot last year during a practice game. Steve Scalise played in spite of still currently using a cane, and as the gods would have it – STEVE SCALISE made the first defensive out of the game, cleanly picking up a grounder and throwing out the 1st batter of the game.
Seconds later, the Republicans on the field mobbed Scalise at second base, engulfing the majority whip in a group hug.
He was removed from the game to a standing ovation shortly after that play.
It was a chilling event !
BTW – Michigan was represented by Rep-Daniel Kildee (D), Rep Jack Bergman (R), Rep John Moolenaar (R), Fred Upton (R), and Mike Bishop (R).
All the players wore uniforms of their home teams.
After the game on the way out, we said hi to an old friend !
It was a very fun 2nd day in Washington DC.
On the way home we got a quick shot of the Jefferson Memorial (no place nearby to park).
Jun 15 – Fri
By Friday we had seen enough of Washington DC and all the WALKING !
Washington DC was a great city, but after 2 long days of walking our legs off, now it was time to focus again on our current port of Annapolis Maryland.
One of the most significant places in Annapolis, is The Annapolis Naval Academy.
Established in October 1845 (note how old – it was established before the civil war in 1861) , under the Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, it is the second oldest of the United States’ five service academies (The oldest is West Pointe, which we will also visit in upstate New York in July) . The academy educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The entire campus (known to insiders as “the Yard”) is a National Historic Landmark and home to many historic sites, buildings, and monuments.
Candidates for admission generally must both apply directly to the academy and receive a nomination, usually from a Member of Congress. Students are officers-in-training and are referred to as midshipmen. Tuition for midshipmen is fully funded by the Navy in exchange for a 5 year active duty service obligation upon graduation. Approximately 1,200 “plebes” (an abbreviation of the Ancient Roman word plebeian or “commoner”) enter the Academy each summer for the rigorous Plebe Summer. About 1,000 midshipmen graduate. Graduates are usually commissioned as ensigns in the Navy or second lieutenants in the Marine Corps. The United States Naval Academy has some of the highest paid graduates in the country.
The Naval Academy is located right on the waterfront, where the Severn River meets Chesapeake Bay.
We started our visit by signing up for a guided tour.
While we were waiting for the tour to start, we strolled thru the museum.
There were many displays of famous Naval Academy Grads, and a lot of focus of graduates who went on to become astronauts. The Naval Academy has graduated 54 astronauts. There was a dedication to Alan Shepherd (the first American to travel into space, and in 1971 he walked on the Moon) & The Space Shuttles Challenger & Columbia (Michael Smith & William McCool)
There were many many famous grads from the Naval Academy, here is a list of some ;
Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Roger Staubach, Alan Shepherd, David Robinson.
The Academy has graduated ; 1 President of the United States, 3 Cabinet Members, 19 Ambassadors, 24 Members of Congress, 5 State Governors, 5 Secretaries of the Navy, 5 Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 9 Commandants of the Marine Corps, 2 Nobel Prize Winners, 73 Medal of Honor Recipients, 54 Astronauts, 49 Rhodes Scholars.
I admit that it is a slightly better school than Wayne State University !
The tour began about 11:30am, we were greeted by tour guide Mel, who gave us a little more history about the school and then took us on a 90 minute walking tour.
The tour prelude included facts like ;
> After the Academy, all graduates must serve 5 years minimum in the Navy or Marines.
> Even pro athletes like Roger Staubach & David Robinson had to do this.
> There are 4500 students & 600 faculty – for a very intimate 8:1 student/teacher ratio.
> The Academy is also big on sports & fitness, there are 33 sports available, 2nd to only Ohio St & Stanford.
> The Academy is very selective, accepting only about 1200 of 17,000 applicants yearly.
The tour began at Dahlgren Hall – Initially used for armory training, now used as an activities center. It is a very large hall.
We walked past a post with many flags, Mel commented that “each flag on the post represented a victory over Army during last years sporting season”.
Next stop was The Buchanan House – It is the home of the Academy’s superintendent who lives on the 2nd & 3rd floors. Mel said that “the 1st floor is used only for entertainment, and that The Buchanan House is 2nd to only the White House for number of entertainment events per year”.
We strolled past some torpedoes – Mel said that “there are only 5 of this type left in the world, it is similar to what was used on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor”.
The next stop was at the Naval Academy Chapel – Built in 1904, The Naval Academy Chapel is a focal point of the Academy and the city of Annapolis. One row of the pews is adorned with a flower & candle, is never used & is dedicated to the men/women who still have “Not Returned from Assignment”, the phrase used in place of lost-at-sea.
Below the Chapel is located The Crypt of John Paul Jones.
John Paul Jones has been lauded since 1775 as the Father of the US Navy. His influence and leadership were foundational in the establishment of the Navy and in many ways the success of our War of Independence. Mel said that “John Paul Jones never lost a battle during his entire career”.
Originally buried in France where he died in 1792, the remains of John Paul Jones were relocated into the crypt beneath the Naval Academy in 1906, in a ceremony presided over by President Theodore Roosevelt.
Our next stop was Bancroft Hall – The largest single dormitory in the world, housing the entire brigade of over 4000 midshipmen. Everyone stays in Bancroft Hall, there are no fraternities or sororities allowed.
Central to the Hall is the Rotunda, with a large domed roof & a wing on both sides.
Off to the side in the wings of the building were other museum type areas commemorating some of the most prominent grads, showing photos at graduation day vs current.
Looking forward from the Rotunda, we could see the doorway to Memorial Hall. This hall contains the honor roll of 2,660 Naval Academy alumni who have died in military operations. Unfortunately, there was an event in the Hall and we could not enter on this day.
Also seen from the doorway is the famous flag of “Don’t Give Up the Ship”
The mere five words stitched on a flag in 1813 produced one of the most enduring symbols in United States history, and have become a stirring, unofficial motto of the U.S. Navy.
The words on the flag originally came from Captain James Lawrence, a friend and colleague of Admiral Oliver Perry. Captain Lawrence was mortally wounded as he commanded the frigate USS Chesapeake in early June 1813. The flag and words came to prominence during the War of 1812 on September 10, 1813, in Lake Erie when Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry raised the hand-sewn flag in honor of his comrade Captain Lawrence to the loud cheers of the crew, and then executed a stunning defeat of the Royal Navy.
The tour ended after Bancroft Hall.
The only disappointment was that we came at the off-time of the school semester, and were not able to witness the famed Noon Formation, which normally occurs daily in the courtyard of Bancroft Hall. The students below are visiting High School students.
After The Naval Academy, we had some lunch, went to the Verizon store, and then came back to the boat for a pre-arranged 5pm social event with our Looper Pals – Pete & Pat Rollins from the vessel Resolute.
Jun 16 – Sat
Saturday was a very low-key day, we were both wiped out after the weekday events.
We returned the rental car, did some laundry, and had a few soda pops while we sat out on the dock at Ego Alley, and watched boats go by.
It was a very relaxing day, but may have been the most fun day of the week for me. We spent about 4-5 hours in the afternoon at a place called “Ego Alley”. Ego Alley is a cove off of the main Severn River combined with a large town square. The main attraction is the Public Boat Docks. Land people come to gawk at all the boats, boat people come to do a run up/down the cove and show off, there are tour boats departing, wedding parties taking photos, and this weekend there was even a Corvette show.
It was a bevy of activity.
We spent 4-5 hours sittin’ under the shade tree, watching the bevy of activity surrounding us.
After a very enjoyable / restful afternoon at Ego Alley, we came back to the boat, took a shower, and went to dinner at a place on Ego Alley called “Pusser’s”.
Pusser’s is a restaurant that is actually part of a large luxury hotel called The Annapolis Waterfront Hotel.
Our 45 minute wait for a table outside was rewarded with a wonderful table RIGHT ON THE EGO ALLEY WATERFRONT.
While eating dinner, we were able to watch boats come & go, and also watch some tour sailboats return and dock right in front of us. It was boating heaven with a rotating boat show while we ate.
It was an active week in Annapolis & Washington DC.
But the week was marked with a very somber event back home in Michigan – the passing of Jonell’s cousin Steven Smith.
Steven had experienced some significant health events in past years, but seemed well over it & very healthy.
He passed out while at work and was unable to be revived.
The event became one of those – what should we do moments ?
We discussed the thought to return home, or for Jonell to fly home.
We decided to mourn from afar & stare at the photo below, and remember Steve in life & not death.
He was definitely a “live everyday of life to the fullest” type guy.
We pray for his new wife Lisa of less than 1 year (shown in the pink top below), his children, parents, nephew and our great boating buddies – Jonell’s cousin Anita & husband Rich.
This photo was taken at our Bon-Voyage Party for The Loop on July 15th, 2017.
Steven passed on June 13th, 2018 at the age of 51.