I have been in the Capitol several times. Each time I enter is a new experience. I don’t know how to explain the feeling that engulfs me. It’s a combination of wonder, awe, respect, excitement, humility, pride, and much more. The above two images were taken looking directly up from near the center of the Capitol Rotunda. I was shivering with awe when I took these images and had a very difficult time trying to be steady enough to get a decent shot.
The Apotheosis of Washington was painted by Constantino Brumidi in 1865. It depicts George Washington rising to the heavens in glory. The fresco is 180 feet above the Rotunda floor.
‘Washington, Liberty, and Victory/Fame’
George Washington is flanked by two female figures representing Liberty and Victory/Fame. Thirteen maidens, symbolizing the 13 original states, surround the three main figures. Six groups of figures are painted around Washington, Liberty, Victory/Fame, and the thirteen maidens. These represent war, science, marine, commerce, mechanics, and agriculture.
‘War’ is depicted by Armed Freedom and Eagle defeating Tyranny and Kingly Power.
Walking around the Capitol, one receives different beautiful vignettes. These two were taken five years apart, about 20 feet from each other. Maybe this summer we will get the chance to return and get another perspective from this spot.
The siege of our Capitol yesterday by the Trump-incited mob is a travesty of respect for our democracy. For me, it will never be forgotten.
I reflect on more sane times like this image taken on a warm summer late afternoon around a decade ago. I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to be able to freely walk around the various sections and chambers of the Capitol back in the Reagan administration. It made me proud to watch open Congressional sessions. I gained an insight and appreciation of our Democracy in progress. Those opportunities are no longer available to the general public.
Many have not had the opportunity to visit the Capitol. My aunt, who was a retired school teacher, saw the Capitol for her first time in her late years. Tears came to her eyes, and she exclaimed that every young student should have the opportunity to visit the Capitol to understand how our nation is governed.
For the next several posts, I will share images of the experiences I have had working in and visiting our Capitol.
This Fourth of July will be different that any other. The Fourth of July has always been a special time when I’ve celebrated with family and friends. I remember growing up and having family get-togethers at Sportsman’s Park in Yakima and watching fireworks at the Selah Park. I’ve been lucky enough to spend the Fourth in Washington, DC four times. I’ve watched fireworks over the Capitol Mall … what a glorious experience. Our University of Washington college group (the Whizzies) have gotten together for the Fourth every year since the the mid 80’s. For the past 30+ years we have joined together at Sunriver Resort in Oregon. We have watched the Whizzy children grow up and have children of their own. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed all our lives but not our spirit. Though we will not physically get together, we will have a collective Zoom event to celebrate the Holiday and our friendship.
In these difficult times, let’s all take the time to reflect on what this special holiday represents. It is a time to be grateful for what others have given to insure our independence and freedom. It is a time to give back to our Country and peoples and to make our Nation stronger.
Let us not forget all those who have given their lives to give us the freedom that we now have. Let us look back in history and understand all the difficult situations we have encountered and faced as a nation. Let us remember what it took to overcome those times.
Our current situation with the Covid-19 virus is minor compared to what we have faced before. Yet we are fighting amongst ourselves on how to move forward. Rather than fight, let all of us focus on how we can move forward to assure a strong recovery and a safe environment. It will take patience, compromise, and sacrifice. But as many times before, we can do it!
“More Hats” Capitol Hill Eastern Market, Washington DC
Like I mentioned in an earlier post, hats were everywhere in the Market. They were different colors, different shapes, and different textures. A stacked set of colors and repeating lines caught my eye here. It was pure “eye candy”
Photographs by Xiong Tom Tan, Capital Art Capitol Hill Eastern Market, Washington DC
Every market also has its artists. The images of Xiong Tom Tan caught my interest. In particular, his images around the Capitol Mall area were beautiful. He photographs the area throughout the year. Several of his images were of the same scene taken from the same specific spot during the four seasons. The compilation of the images took several years to get them in the optimal light. We spent several minutes talking about his work and what it took to get what he was after. As always, I learn things from every photographer I talk with.
Thank you Tom for your insights!
Tom may be contacted at (703) 785-1488 or (703 995-0841.
In any market there are people entertaining, and people enjoying the day. I spent quite a while waiting for something to happen around the sax player before I released the shutter. This little guys face tells the story. And … the sax player was great. After I took the photo, I stood and peacefully listened for several songs. The setting sang to my heart.