10/25/51 - Columbus Day BY-WAYS - 10/25/51 - Columbus Day, 1951. -

My dear Friends,

Tonight there is to be a Columbus Day parade in downtown Cleveland. It seems as if there is an ever increasing esteem for the memory of dear old Christopher. And I believe it is because we are re-discovering what a truly fabulous country he did discover. Every one who visits Europe in these post-war days - and writes about it - comes home with the deep urge to kneel and kiss one's sod and thank God for America. Just one hundred fifty-one years ago last April, our Federal Government was moved from Philadelphia to the "Territory of Columbia." What a beautiful city has grown from that little town on the banks of the Potomac! Although Virgil and I had visited Washington and its most important buildings years ago - on separate trips - this time we felt we must do it together. One could easily spend a month - eight or ten hours a day - just becoming acquainted with Washington. We have tasted just enough to make us thirst for more.

As I mentioned before, Almira Lytle, our generous hostess, took us on a tour of the National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institute. This was on Sunday afternoon. For detailed study you could spend a week in each building. That evening Almira entertained us in her lovely home by showing us pictures in color - projected on a screen; pictures that she has taken of our mutual loved ones and of scenes in and around Washington. Almira belongs to a camera club; I hope she will forgive my mentioning the fact that she has won a number of prizes with her photography. She showed us enough Florida scenes to tantalize us, and about two scenes in the Rockies. Although we begged for more, she makes it an iron-clad rule not to show pictures for more than 45 minutes at a time. Virgil and I will be avenged. We're going back, and park there 'til she shows us the rest. At present writing there are 1100. Come to think of it, there are now 1102, for she took two of us. Like all artists, she has to make a fizzle now and then. My beloved Cousin Knox Gilkerson, visiting and ministering to his ailing sister Ina, made a week-end trip to Washington - to see Almira. He writes in re the photo fiat of me, "Beware, Sis, You're aging!"

Enough of this fiddle-faddle. Monday morning we went first to re-visit the Washington monument. Standing so tall and firm and chaste on top of the gently sloping hill, it seems to personify George Washington's quality of character. As a large party of us entered the huge elevator, and began the long ride upward, a recorded voice told us how remarkable was the building job of this monument. Although it weighs over 86,000 tons, in the sixty-seven years since its completion, it has settled less than two inches. In a thirty-mile wind it sways but the tiniest fraction of an inch. Up at the top are the little windows on every side, out of which you can look over a great city. By each window is a large map that indicates each building, or historic spot, that you may see from that window. On the ride down that same voice reminds you of the greatness of the man, who protested this monument to him. The "Voice" entreats all who visit this shrine to try to uphold the ideals for which the Father of his Country stood. It was a deeply moving experience. Now enough for this week. But more of Washington next week.

Florence B. Taylor

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