Hey everyone, (for those who had a fall break from school, I hope you had time to relax and enjoy yourselves)! I personally visited Virginia for the first time and I wanted to reflect on my visit. My boyfriend, Patrick, and I drove down to the Skyline Drive that winds its way through the beautiful blue ridge mountains (in Shenandoah National Park), camped for a night in a nearby state forest, and then drove across the state and visited the Washington D.C. area.

I unfortunately don’t have any photos of my own to share since I took everything mostly on a 35mm camera and used a 4×5 field camera (still in the process of developing all my film) and my phone camera doesn’t do justice to the mountains or all the monuments I visited in D.C.

I mostly wanted to talk about the monuments/memorials Patrick and I visited. The two that spoke the most to me were the Marine Corps War Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. I visited the Marine Corps Memorial designed by Felix de Weldon, a sculptor, and Horace W. Peaslee, the architect, on Sunday evening after dark and had no idea of the sheer size of it. It’s based off an incredible moment captured through photography by artist Joe Rosenthal on February 23, 1945 of six marines struggling to raise up the American flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima during WWII.

The second Memorial I spoke of was designed by Maya Lin. Her design for the Memorial was chosen through a national competition. It’s a very reflective piece both literally, as granite was used to physically show your reflection, and figuratively. I also got this site after dark and the space had lights lining the pathway so you could read the names (over 58,000) inscribed on the granite. It tapers from the ground-up from both ends and is meant as a meditative walk through. This Memorial is peculiar in the way it’s built horizontally instead of taking up vertical space much like other Memorials and Monuments do. Very humbling indeed and it stands very closely to the Lincoln Memorial as well.

image courtesy of asla.org

The trip overall was wonderful and I wish I could’ve spent more time, especially in D.C. I totally recommended taking a weekend trip to Virginia and the D.C. area if you can. Have a great week everybody!

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