Celebrating Independence Day in Washington, DC is a truly unique experience. Aaron and I were blessed to be here last year, to celebrate with thousands of people, sitting on the Capitol steps, in the scorching sun, listening to the tunes of Gladys Knight and Reba McIntyre, and watching the fireworks with the Washington Monument as a backdrop. This year, we decided to go in the other direction, visit Mt. Vernon and celebrate George Washington's birthday on his spacious estate.
We got there at noon, and as we parked and walked to the entrance, we counted the license plates of 24 different states of the United States, all there to celebrate the 4th of July. The picture above depicts how we were greeted as we were walking up to the mansion.
This man was operating a camera of the era of Washington, and you could get your picture taken for a nominal fee. As I walked past him, I heard him instruct the couple in front of him to not smile, as they did not smile in pictures during Washington's time. It made me think of India, and how the older generation still does not smile or have any physical contact while having their pictures taken. It makes for a very morose photograph.
This lively band, braved the heat, and played some wonderful music.
The mansion of George Washington. I don't think I will ever tire of this estate, which is why we got ourselves an annual pass to Mt. Vernon!
The militia lined up on the back lawn looking out on the Potomac. How they managed to smile and not faint, is beyond me. The heat, combined with the humidity, hung in the air like a heavy, wet blanket. Nonetheless, it was exciting to see them there and imagine a time when this was a way of life, and this very lawn had seen the hustle and bustle of the real militia, conferring with General Washington.
This cannon was a sight to behold, and the sound waves it produced was quite tremendous in effect. The militia warned the people to cover their ears and to back up a few more feet while they loaded and fired this bad boy.
I loved their uniforms, and their devotion to volunteer, in order that their fellowmen would have the opportunity to participate in such an important day for their country.
Daytime fireworks. I could not see a thing in the sky when I took this picture. I am glad my camera's eye caught much more than my own.
Aaron interrogating one of the youngest members of the militia.
George Washington's Birthday Cake!
Time for a break!
Guess who I ran into while walking around the estate??? Yes, George himself! George stayed in character the entire time, and was actually in conversation with a French nobleman, who was visiting his estate. Washington, being the gracious host that he was, stopped to chat with us, as we followed him around. He was incredibly tall!
Needless to say, Aaron interviewed him about the affairs of the country and his interests, as we strolled over to this tree for some much needed shade!
Classic! Need I say more?
Enjoying some birthday cake, dressed in red, white and blue.
The military drummers are actual paid soldiers, and some of them were as young as sixteen years of age. These kids portraying those drummers were very good and skilled at entertaining large crowds of people.
Are we done yet?????
Patriotism to the max!
This was a very special moment for me. As we walked up to the tomb, it happened to be the hour that the wreath-laying ceremony takes place. They open the gates of the tomb and invite ex-military and veterans to participate in laying the wreath inside the tomb.
Here lies the remains of George Washington, interred in his favorite place - his estate. And beside him, in the other sarcophagus, lies his beloved wife. The small black gate inside the tomb leads to another room, where 25 relatives and family members of Washington are buried.
The Wharf - Boat rides on the Potomac.
Slave Monument on the estate at Mt. Vernon.
Faces of the Fourth!!!
I hope you all enjoyed strolling with us through Mt. Vernon's 4th of July celebration. And here's one more Face of the Fourth for you :D