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“This is the USA”

The National Archives Museum
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Morning Monuments Tour of Washington DC
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Owner description: Repository where the most important historical documents of the United States are held, such as the original Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution and the 1297 version of the Magna Carta.
Seattle, Washington
Level 6 Contributor
216 reviews
99 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“This is the USA”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

How could anyone go to Washington and not see the Charters of Freedom? They have done a great job there to protect and present these founding documents to us.

Visited August 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dublin
Level 6 Contributor
226 reviews
108 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 491 helpful votes
“Worth seeing the Declaration of Independance”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

Such an important document that it is worth seeing it in its original form (and even wtih mark-ups etc.)

Visited November 2012
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Thank A T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOMBALL
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“An honor and a thrill”
Reviewed November 5, 2012

It was an honor and a thrill to see the original Declaration of Independence and the original Constitution of the United States of America. John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, et al authored documents that have endured for over 200 years. It is hard to truly understand the job they did. I wish I could say thank you.

Visited October 2012
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1 Thank lenkcpa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monroe, Oregon
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“If you want to see our history, show up”
Reviewed November 3, 2012

The Magna Carta, Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence. Documents that changed the world... and you can walk up to them and see them.

Visited October 2012
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1 Thank Joseph B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dublin, Ireland
Level 6 Contributor
526 reviews
261 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 372 helpful votes
“A Special Anniversary Exhibit : Superb but Chilling !”
Reviewed November 2, 2012

We'd been to the National Archives building a few years ago to view what's regarded as The Holy Trinity of American historical records : the originals of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights. Having waited in line, we progressed through close (and barely polite) security to the magnificent marble Rotunda, where these precious, hardly readable documents were displayed in special argon-filled airtight containers. It was worth it for the sense of history, but you wouldn't go there for the read, and photography of any kind is banned.

This time we were back for a different reason : a special Exhibit titled "To the Brink - JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis", put together for the (October) 50th anniversary of that critical 13 day series of episodes which ultimately averted nuclear war. (For those too young to remember, the USSR installed nuclear missiles in Cuba, capable of reaching most major U.S. cities in 5 minutes, and President Kennedy had to devise and implement a strategy to achieve their removal, without precipitating a bigger crisis, in America's backyard or further afield !)

This is a superbly put-together Exhibit, drawing on documentary & audiovisual material not just from the National Archives, but also the Kennedy Library. While the documents are hugely impressive - we were fascinated, for example, by a CIA "Personality Sketch" of USSR Premier Kruschev & a "Psychiatric Personality Study" of Cuba's President Fidel Castro - for us, the really stunning stuff was the audio material.

Unbeknownst to almost all his entourage,(Bobby knew of course), President Kennedy had earlier in 1962 installed secret tape-recording equipment in the Oval Office & the Cabinet Room, capable of activation by JFK himself - judging by to-day's exhibit, he apparently used it quite a bit during the tense meetings on the Cuban Missile Crisis !

It is absolutely fascinating to hear the inputs of the President, Vice-President Johnson, Defence Secretary McNamara, the Chiefs of Staff, the CIA Director and other Advisors as they voice (with apparent frankness) their views & opinions on the information presented and what courses of action should be followed. For us, one of the most chilling moments recorded and reproduced was when the hawkish Air Force Chief, Curtis LeMay, described the President's proposed graduated course of action as "a pretty weak response", and appeared to cross the military / elected Commander-in-Chief divide by going on to claim "a lot of our own citizens would feel that way too" ! To cap it all, eye-balling the President, he offensively added (not once, but twice) "You're in a pretty bad fix" !!

Listening to this now, of course, we recalled the popular references later in the 1960s (arising from other events, it must be said) to "Bombs away with Curt LeMay" and we felt we gained a better understanding of this thoroughly scary man (wasn't he the Vice-Presidential candidate on a subsequent Right-Wing election ticket ?)

Adding to our perception that to-day's world probably doesn't really appreciate how close the world came to thermonuclear disaster was absorbing the Exhibit material indicating the raising of Air Command alert status to "DEFCON-2" status, with nuclear armed bombers airborne at all times. On the diplomatic front, it was impressive to view TV film of the confrontation at the U.N. Security Council between U.S. Ambassador Stevenson and Soviet Ambassador Zorin (a scene reprised in a Kevin Costner movie, we seem to recall !)

We hope we haven't spoilt this Exhibit for attendees, but we've highlighted just a few key segments to indicate just how good it is. Entry to the Exhibit, by the way, is from Constitution Avenue, it runs until February 3rd, 2013, time spent waiting in line was reasonable, and the security people were very courteous.We're delighted we saw the advertisements for it on the Washington Metro, and not surprisingly we purchased the well-produced $20 Exhibit Booklet.

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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