Monday, March 9, 2009


Last weekend, I hung out with some friends down on the National Mall. This is a conversation I overheard:

Standing at the top of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial looking east, which features a prominent view of the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol. Following is an exact quote:

Tourist woman to member of her tourist party, presumably a family member: "Oh honey, look!" Everyone in her party cranes their head eastward as she points. "Be sure to get a picture of the White House."

I hear stuff like this all the time. I don't know about you, but when people visit your respective city and say stupid stuff like this, do you wanna slap 'em upside the head? Or is that just me?

Before I visit a city--any city--I try to do my homework so I know what I'm going to be seeing and what it means. Here's how I feel about visiting our Nation's Capital: If tourists and visitors can't be considerate enough to do some homework before visiting whatever city, state, or country they're traveling to, please, for the love of all that is historically holy and respectful, at least do it for this city, especially if you're a citizen of this country. It's embarrassing and you look silly when you can't tell the difference between the White House and the U.S. Capitol.

Visual aid: In case you're still unclear on which is which, here are a few pictures of each, so you'll be able to tell going forward. (Click on images to enlarge.)

On the left: The White House. Where the President of the United States lives and works.
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot see it from the Lincoln Memorial.
On the right: The U.S. Capitol. You can see it from the Lincoln Memorial.

A Guide to What You're Seeing When You Stand
on the Steps of the Lincoln Memorial and Look East:
The Reflecting Pool, the National World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument,
the Smithsonian Castle, the U.S. Capitol, and the Library of Congress.
Click image to enlarge and read the Post-it Note-like-thingies.

This tutorial has been a public service of D.C. Confidential. Thank you for listening and have a nice visit! And now, back to our blog posting previously in progress...

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential

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