As I have fond memories of San Francisco, my memories of Washington, D.C., are just as fond, having lived there from 1944 to 1947.
I relocated to Washington, D.C., from Poston, Arizona, one of the concentration camps, and stayed with my married brother and his wife for about four months. Since my brother enlisted in the Army and was to be stationed at Fort Ord, I obtained a “mother’s helper” job with a prominent Washington, D.C. family with four children, ages 12 to 6 years.
Washington, D.C. is the nation’s capital and it is indeed a capital city. It has a uniqueness that no other city in the United States has. To name a few, the Capitol itself, the White House, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. I cannot describe the feeling I had when I stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It was so awesome that tears streamed down my checks and I could almost hear the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
Another unique attraction are the famed Japanese cherry blossoms, which bloom only in the spring and were presented to the United States by the Japanese government as a symbol of friendship on March 27, 1912. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the presentation and many cities throughout the United States have celebrated the festive occasion.
While living in Washington, D.C., I was able to enjoy the beauty of the flowering cherry blossoms. My friends and I used to ride our bikes around the Tidal Basin and then have a picnic lunch on the lawn not too far away from the blossoms.
Washington, D.C. has four definite seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn. The winter is “BRR-ing” cold. The spring has the festive cherry blossom blooming around the Tidal Basin and the freshness of the climate. The summer is unbearable, “sticky” and humid. “Autumn” in Japanese is written “tree on fire,” and indeed, it is so absolutely true and beautiful when the leaves turn, yellow, red, orange and brown.
The first president I voted for was Harry S. Truman. There was so much controversy about President Truman, but I will always have great respect for him. In 1945, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was going to be honored and on the day of the celebration, it was raining steadily. Truman’s staff members felt that the ceremony should be canceled. Truman disagreed and in the pouring rain, he honored these noble men. It was a most impressive event in spite of the inclement weather.
Washington, D.C. is a wonderful sight-seeing city with its Smithsonian Institution, where one can spend a whole day enjoying the “one and only” artifacts and displays. The Ford Theatre, where Abraham Lincoln was shot. In the neighboring states, one may have a fascinating visit to Monticello, Jefferson’s home in Virginia. In Maryland, one may visit the “Bay” where Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner.” The famous Walter Reed Hospital is also there.
I feel everyone should visit the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., the city where “history was and is in the making” in the United States. One can learn so much as well as being entertained when traveling, especially to such a city as Washington, D.C.
NOTE: FOR THE FUN of it, I am willing to give my “meows” to comments, problems, or questions you may have by writing to me in c/o The Rafu Shimpo, 701 E. Third St., Suite 130, Los Angeles, CA 90013. I will answer selected letters in this column.
Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.