Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shaun Visits Olympia (and Salem)

Whilst driving the many many miles to visit Aunt Goldie, I decided to make a little pit stop in the state capitols of both Oregon and Washington. Perhaps using this opportunity to teach Shaun a little bit without him really knowing. (Don't tell!) Our first stop was Olympia, the capitol of Washington. The capitol plaza was very lovely. Shaun was very excited about this adventure.

We walked the grounds looking at monuments, statues, and dedications. Shaun learned a little about WWII, more specifically how Pearl Harbor got the United States involved. There was a monument to all of the fallen at Pearl Harbor. The fallen depicted in brass wheat stocks. So the number of people that died could easily be visualized. We then looked at a world map in the walkway, where I showed him where certain countries were, and their involvement in war. From there we walked to the Totem Pole you see pictured. This was made by a local Indian. Shaun loves totem poles. From there, there was a quick walk through a garden, where the first picture was taken. Then across the street to a statue and up to the steps of the Capitol building. Once inside, we were greeted with more marble than I have ever seen in my life! More statues and dedications. Up the steps and under the massive dome. The light you see hanging came from the east coast by train and weighs 5 tons! And used 200 light bulbs! Holy cow! I showed Shaun the Senate Chambers via the gallery. I explained this, and the house across the building, is where the laws for Washington are made. I explained in minimal details the responsibilities of the congressmen and the delicate balance of laws to protect and assist, and laws that infringe on our freedoms. He decided he'd like to help make good laws when he grows up. But, alas, I went on a little too long, and I lost his interest. Asking what he thought of the whole thing, I got the response pictured. He had no clue... mom talks too much! The whole experience, I feel, was quite an impact for him, and he seems to clearly remember Olympia is the capitol of Washington.

In our venture to Salem, the capitol of Oregon, there wasn't as much to explore, and the batteries died in the camera, so I only have the first shot, which I think, will earn Shaun the nickname of Mr. GQ. Whoa, strike a pose kiddo! Inside, the set-up was much the same as Olympia, however, the architecture was more modern than Olympia. Outside, there was a ring of flags for all the states in the United States. In order of inclusion in the Union. We went through that reading each state and their date of entry. There was also a replica of the Liberty Bell. One of the 50 replicas made in France. Personally, I read the plaques and felt a little sad at the state of our freedoms, and at the same time, anticipating the American Spirit rising up, and being the free amazing nation I know we are. But, I didn't share this thought with Shaun, he's little, and doesn't need all these politics just yet. Just like Olympia, there were many monuments, dedications, and statues to enjoy. Nearly all of them with the theme of the Oregon Trail and the pioneer spirit. So Shaun learned a little about that too... which, I suppose he was familiar with, he plays the Oregon Trail game on the computer!

Upon leaving Salem, Shaun expressed how cool it was to see the capitols of Oregon and Washington, and that we should visit all the capitols of all that states! I told him that was a tall order, and we should probably start with Hawaii. He said that was a great idea! I imagine we will visit Sacramento... then... who knows!

Until next time!