Wednesday, December 31, 2003

[Continental Drive: day 8] From Washington D.C. to New York

Washington D.C. to New York City!
It was 8th day of our journey. Next destination was our final goal, New York!!
To avoid some troubles about terrorism and related things, we determined to visit NYC in daytime, to stay at night of New Year's Eve in New Jersey or vicinities, and not to use subway.
Our car started in the morning, and passed Baltimore, Philadelphia. Along New Jersey Turn Pike, we found service area. That was first time I used service area in Freeway. I had never seen "service area" in US since then. (There are many service areas in Japanese highway. but all highways in Japan are not free. They are very expensive toll highways!) Another surprising thing was that we can not pour fuel in cars by ourselves in New Jersey. It's State law. All gas stations include service. Many roads going to New York City are toll highway. Wow! There is like Japan!
We entered Manhattan Island through Holland Tunnel.

NYC ( Manhattan Island )
We entered Manhattan Island. It was New Year's Eve. Incredible many people crowded in downtown.
Really huge! No pedestrian cared about traffic rules. They walked across the street everytime. Many cars always used their horns. Crazy... There were many yellow cabs on the street. People might be avoid to drive in Manhattan by their selves. I also didn't want to drive such crazy road. We should use subway, but we didn't.
Tokyo is also huge city. But I feel Tokyo is much more ordered than NYC. Many people all over the world are fascinated by New York. I know, there has strong vitality. But if I have to live in Mid-Atlantic, I'd like to choice around the Washington D.C.

We drove through Battery Park, Madison Square Garden, Central Park, and so on. Incredible number of police officers walked around and drove around everywhere. Finally, we drove in Broadway and peeped at Time Square. Even though that time was about 3pm, many people crowded in front of the stage. Many TV cameras reported the stage. And of course many police officers were in there.
After that, I heard million people gathered around Times Square at the countdown event. But I am convinced 10% of those people were composed of police officers!

Liberty State Park
Next, we escaped crazy Manhattan Island. We went Liberty State Park. Unluckily, The Statue of Liberty faces to the Atlantic Ocean. If you want to see her face, you have to ride some cruises or helicopters. We saw the last sunset of 2003. Wide sunset view of Manhattan was beautiful.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

[Continental Drive: day 7] Washington D.C.

National Mall
Last two days, we drove long time from New Orleans to Washington D.C. Actually, driving started me feeling a little bit boring. But it was a touring day! We parked our car and walked around the National Mall. It was Christmas and New Year's holidays. Big Christmas trees still existed in front of the US Capitol and the White House. Terror alert still kept high level. Policeman hung on a machine gun. (At that time I did not worry about terrorism seriously, The White House must be one of the targets of terror attack. But that time was New Year's Eve Eve. There were a few visiting people and President Bush was not there.)

Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial is one of my favorite in the Mall. This building was built for memorial of Lincoln. We found the monument of his famous speech. Martin Luther King Jr. also made a world famous speech, "I have a dream", there. The monument of that speech was added by carving on the step of the memorial building. I stood on the step. Martin Jr. must see same view.

Smithsonian Museums
There are several Smithsonian Museums in Washington D.C. All museums are free. You can see many impressive items in there. National Air and Space Museum is most popular in them. We also had visited NASA Johnson Space Center in Huston. I felt, NASA Space Center was a great memorial place but National Air and Space Museum had more memorial items about the Apollo.

Some aircrafts are so big that National Air and Space Museum can't display all of them. Smithsonian has another museum near Dulles International Airport. There are many big aircrafts and spacecrafts.

One Comment

I have to observe about one display in Dulles Smithsonian Museum. From 2003 that museum started to show one collection of World War II aviation, Enola Gay.

This airplane dropped nuclear bombs twice, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
You may know some Japanese peace organizations are asking to stop showing this massacre airplane of Smithsonian Museum. But it was still displayed in there.
I know there are many different opinions. Sometimes I think this plane body should be displayed in open space, because people all over the world must never forget and never repeat this terrible tragedy. I am afraid some people have already forgotten Hiroshima and Nagasaki even now.

BUT I REALLY OPPOSE the method of Smithsonian Museum. They put on this murder airplane among many other trivial planes.

When I saw that body, I really felt disgusting. The plane looks ordinary, but only two bombs dropped from this plane literally butchered over 140,000 people in Hiroshima and over 70,000 people in Nagasaki. I fear such human's incident.
The reason I have such feeling is because I know the history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And I think it is important to keep such feeling for creating peaceful world in the future.

But if your child visits here now, how does he/she feel?

I repeat. Enola Gay is put on among other many modern combat planes and other old civilian planes now.
How does your child distinguish all planes? He/she may feel, "Wow, there are many planes! Cool!", and then?

I insist, if Smithsonian want to show Enola Gay, they should prepare a special place for it to let visitors think about the meaning of war and nuclear bombs.
(And moreover, I think this opinion should refer other many combat planes. Are they cool? They were made for killing people.)

I saw Enola Gay. But I can not show the picture of its body here, because I know some people don't want this airplane showing in open space and actually I don't want to see its body many times. I just put on the explanation board of Enola Gay in Smithsonian Museum here.