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Monday, April 3, 2017

The National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

The National Museum of 
American History is one of
nineteen museums, galleries 
& the zoo that comprise the
Smithsonian Institution.

America is 241 years old, and there's a lot of history to see in this building.  Here are some of the small portions of American history that mean a lot to me.

George Washington, plantation
owner, surveyor & soldier &
first American President.

Standing around six feet tall,
George Washington was
the image that fledgling
America wanted to project:
a strong & powerful
Commander of the 
Continental Army.

Following the Revolutionary War, George Washington served as President for two terms and helped the Republic navigate the difficult waters of thirteen states becoming a working Union.

unveiled in the Capitol Rotunda
in 1841, is America's first

Sculptor Horatio Greenough's statue of depicts our first president as the Greek God Zeus.  Some people criticized the work because it featured our revered President bare chested.

The US flag that flew above Fort McHenry & was the
inspiration for Francis Scott Key to write the

Visitors aren't allowed to take pictures of this flag.  This photo is from the museum's website.

The "long march" to the Civil War included Frederick Douglass' Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself was published in 1845;  Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1852; the Dred Scott Decision in1857Abolitionists' speeches and articles against slavery, aiding runaway slaves; and violence.

John Brown's anti slavery crusade 
in Kansas was the prequel to the
Raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

Based on L. Frank Baum's book, The Wizard of Oz, there were numerous changes made for the movie.  Dorothy's silver shoes became red for the movie and are a treasured icon of America's film industry and culture.

Japanese bombers launched
from Aircraft Carriers
bombed Pearl Harbor
on December 7, 1941.

World War II was my parents' war.  My father enlisted in January, 1942.  He was trained as a Weather Observer in the Army Air Corps and was eventually sent to Iwo Jima.

ordered from their homes &
 spent the rest of the War
in Internment Camps.

Many of the camps were remote and the internees, who had not broken any laws, lived a bare bones existence under the watchful eye of armed guards.  The rounding up of Japanese-Americans and imprisoning them is a dark stain on American history.

Eric and I visited the Poston Memorial Monument at the Poston Japanese Internment Camp at in Poston, Arizona.

The announcement that
Japan surrendered was
welcomed on
July 14, 1945.

The photo of this kiss, taken in Times Square, has been seen around the world.  Statues of it exist in numerous places, including Key West, Florida.

Vietnam is a major focal
point of my childhood
& teen years.

I remember watching the news at a neighbor's house at age eight in 1964 and seeing a report of a body count.  The casualty count became a regular part of the evening news.

I was one of millions of
Americans who watched
the Vietnam War unfold
on TV.

As the conflict deepened, American men were drafted.  Over nine million American men and women served in the Vietnam War from 1964 to 1975.  The Draft was used to fill the ranks of the armed forces and the increasing numbers of men drafted to fight in Vietnam was the impetus of American protests of the war.  Increasing casualties, atrocities, including the My Lai Massacre, and news that the US involvement in the war had expanded to Cambodia Laos fueled protests and the increased the belief of many that our forces did not belong in this conflict.

On January 27, 1973, the Peace Treaty ending the Vietnam War was signed in Paris, France, which included a cease-fire.  US troop withdrawals began.    The South Vietnamese forces assumed more responsibility as the conflict wound down.  North and South Vietnam agreed to acknowledge the 17th parallel that divided their countries as they worked to peacefully resolve their differences. North Vietnam promised not to they would not use force to unify the country.

Promises were made, but not kept.  Communist North Vietnamese troops pushed southward across the 17th parallel into South Vietnam.  US promises of aid to South Vietnam if the North attacked were not kept.  The world watched as North Vietnamese soldiers spread south and overran Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam on April 30, 1975.

Meantime... Sesame Street
debuts on TV on
 November 10, 1969.

Bert & Ernie are beloved
characters on the show.

Generations of children, including mine, grew up learning and laughing along with the Sesame Street gang.

Those were the days....

The living room set of
All in the Family

Norman Lear's ground breaking, taboo breaking TV series first aired on January 12, 1971.  Archie Bunker struggles to make sense of his changing world throughout the 1970s.

Solar Power has been part of
America's electric power
generation system for
many years.

By the 1970s, solar panels started appearing on rooftops.  President Carter had 32 solar panels installed on top of the White House in 1979.  The Reagan administration curtailed funding research for the development of renewable energy and had the solar panels removed in 1986.

Computers & their development
dominated the 1980s.

This Apple III, released in the
early 1980s, represents this 
innovative era.

On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorists, flying American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 with thousands of gallons of jet fuel, intentionally crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.  2,977 people were killed in the terrorist attack.  al Quaeda terrorists hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 184 people.  The passengers on board United Airlines Flight 93 fought their terrorist  hijackers and the plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 40. President George W. Bush declared war was declared on terrorism and it continues today.

Wreckage from the South
Tower of the World
Trade Center

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