Happy Independence Day from Washington D.C. We are proud and honored to be spending America’s 244th birthday in our nation’s capital.
Friday was a beautiful day here walking in the shadow of the Washington Monument and seeing the White House.
In 1975 Dodie played in the Junior College Nationals Volleyball Tournament in Catonsville, Maryland. They returned back to Texas as the national champions with great fanfare.
Last year she mentioned she’d always regretted being that close to Washington D.C. and not visiting it.
This is my 16th visit to D.C. and it’s my pleasure to be spending Dodie’s first trip with her. But it’s a surreal visit. Never have I seen this city the way it is now.
It was generally very serene and peaceful. Families of all races and persuasions were walking the grounds of our monuments with obvious pride and enthusiasm. Joggers were jogging. Bikers were biking. Picnics were held under shade trees. Americans were celebrating.
But there was an underlying dichotomy in the city. The Washington Mall, including the monuments, were surrounded with temporary fencing. Scores of plastic portable restrooms were closed and locked forcing embarrassing accidents and others to relieve themselves in public.
Workers, with cranes and trucks, protected by police escort, were laying concrete barriers at strategic locations not already protected.
I’ve seen the White House during the terms of Reagan, Clinton, both Bush’s, and Obama. I am particularly joyful to be here during Donald Trump’s presidency. But Wow!
A tourist–or a rioter for that matter–can’t get near the White House. The amount of barriers, fences, gates, police and other protection is tremendous.
Away from the Mall, Independence, Pennsylvania, Constitution avenues were like a Twilight Zone episode of the 1960s–virtually deserted. Where was the traffic?
We drove by historical Ford Theater to show Dodie the Lincoln assassination site. The area was empty.
A few blocks northwest, we did find some mediocre protest activity for defunding police, “Trans Black Lives Matter,” and “Students For Free Tuition.” It wasn’t impressive, but I’m sure CNN could try to make it so if they practice their usual and predictable folly.
We were there as President and Mrs. Trump were preparing to leave for their Mount Rushmore visit. We felt very safe. We were not afraid.
Although I very rarely post political comments or even follow news anymore (and will to continue to lay low and just get people to the voting booth in November), we said when we began our trip, for fun we’d count the number of Biden and Trump signs and flags along the way.
What is portrayed on news broadcasts is far from what we’ve seen. People are not intimidated by political correctness or backing down from voicing their opinions.
Through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and in D.C., the current tabulation is Trump 65 vs Biden 0.
Interestingly, Dodie as our official counter, has made some interesting observations:
“If there are American flags flying, usually there’s a Trump flag nearby.”
“These are not little flags. Most are humongous. They’re huge.”
“It’s not just rural areas or country roads. We see ‘Trump’ in cities like Vicksburg, Clarksdale, Memphis, Murfreesboro, even Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.”
Even in Washington D.C., we haven’t seen a single Biden sign.
RVs, with “TRUMP” banners traveling down the highways were especially surprising. Motorcyclists, with American and Trump flags were seen.
On Highway 20, between Tyler, Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana, a large billboard proclaimed, “I love my President so much I named my dog Donald.”
She didn’t count the billboards, but they are solidly there. At Graceland, in Memphis, I counted six people with either Trump T-shirts or MAGA caps on. In Pigeon Forge, 4. Gatlinburg, also 4. In restaurants we’ve seen only Trump or MAGA. Not one Biden. We didn’t include this in our tally.
We were particularly pleased to see a Marine helicopter flying over toward the White House and wondered if it would be taking the Trumps to Air Force One.
Even at the Texas Roadhouse near our hotel in Chantilly, Virginia I overheard a couple talking about how disgusted they are with mainstream media and “fascist liberals.” They indicated to their server the wanted to get home in time to watch the President in South Dakota. I honestly didn’t think I’d hear that in this community.
In a rare event, we turned the television on in our room just in time to see Trump discuss the nation’s statues.
“These monuments express our noblest ideals: respect for our ancestors, love of freedom, and striving for a more perfect union,” he said. “They are works of beauty, created as enduring tributes. In preserving them, we show reverence for our past, we dignify our present, and we inspire those who are to come…”
“To destroy a monument is to desecrate our common inheritance,” he continued. “In recent weeks, in the midst of protests across America, many monuments have been vandalized or destroyed.”
“Some local governments have responded by taking their monuments down. Among others, monuments to Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Francis Scott Key, Ulysses S. Grant, leaders of the abolitionist movement, the first all-volunteer African-American regiment of the Union Army in the Civil War, and American soldiers killed in the First and Second World Wars have been vandalized, destroyed, or removed.”
“These statues are not ours alone, to be discarded at the whim of those inflamed by fashionable political passions; they belong to generations that have come before us and to generations yet unborn.”
“My Administration will not abide an assault on our collective national memory. In the face of such acts of destruction, it is our responsibility as Americans to stand strong against this violence, and to peacefully transmit our great national story to future generations through newly commissioned monuments to American heroes.”
Later he announced the proclamation to establish a National Garden of American Heroes.
Within 60 days, a Task Force will submit a report to the President proposing options for the creation of the National Garden, including potential locations for the site.
Importantly, and possibly in regard to some of the statues that have been ordered down by local agenda driven politicians, they will “consider the availability of authority to encourage and accept the donation or loan of statues by States, localities, civic organizations, businesses, religious organizations, and individuals, for display at the National Garden.”
“The National Garden should be composed of statues, including statues of John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Henry Clay, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Douglas MacArthur, Dolley Madison, James Madison, Christa McAuliffe, Audie Murphy, George S. Patton, Jr., Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Betsy Ross, Antonin Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington, and Orville and Wilbur Wright.”
“The National Garden should be opened for public access prior to the 250th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 2026.”
“Statues should depict historically significant Americans…who have contributed positively to America throughout our history. Examples include: the Founding Fathers, those who fought for the abolition of slavery or participated in the underground railroad, heroes of the United States Armed Forces, recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor or Presidential Medal of Freedom, scientists and inventors, entrepreneurs, civil rights leaders, missionaries and religious leaders, pioneers and explorers, police officers and firefighters killed or injured in the line of duty, labor leaders, advocates for the poor and disadvantaged, opponents of national socialism or international socialism, former Presidents of the United States and other elected officials, judges and justices, astronauts, authors, intellectuals, artists, and teachers. None will have lived perfect lives, but all will be worth honoring, remembering, and studying.”
“All statues in the National Garden should be lifelike or realistic representations of the persons they depict, not abstract or modernist representations.”
“The National Garden should be located on a site of natural beauty that enables visitors to enjoy nature, walk among the statues, and be inspired to learn about great figures of America’s history. The site should be proximate to at least one major population center, and the site should not cause significant disruption to the local community.”
Wherever the Garden is located, Dodie and I will put it down on our Roadtrip Bucketlist.