This is my last morning in Washington. I return to Key West today.
Though I began yesterday under the weather, by early afternoon I felt fine.
I took a walk. My hotel is within 2-3 blocks of most things. I ended up at the Ford Theater. The place where Abraham Lincoln was shot. The theater is now part of the National Park Service.
I did the tourist thing. I waited in line.
Upon entering, a sadness overcame me. I felt as if I was visiting a friend on view at a funeral parlor.
The theater was much larger than I had anticipated. It seats roughly 800. On the night of the shooting, it held 1,700. There was an upper area where those not financially well off could watch the play. Standing rom was $.25. Seats were $1 each. Box seats $6-$10 each.
Lincoln was seated in a box with his wife and friends. There was no Secret Service protection. It did not start till 1901. Lincoln did have one police officer guarding him. However, his function was to protect the President on his trip to and from the theater. Not while at the theater.
The villain John Wilkes Booth was friend of the theater owner John Ford. He was a familiar face at the theater. Booth was also known to the President. The relationship was described as friendly.
Booth shot the President. One bullet. It entered behind the left ear, traveled through Lincoln’s brain, and lodged behind his right eye.
Lincoln, still alive, was removed to a boarding house across the street. The Petersen House.
Lincoln was a tall man. Six feet four inches. The bed was not large enough. He had to be laid diagonally.
Lincoln wore a great coat to the theater that evening. A three quarter coat. He had purchased it at Brooks Brothers.
Lincoln died the next day, never having regained consciousness.
Someone besides Booth had to be punished. So thought the people who stood in the street between the Ford theater and Petersen House. They decided to tear down the brick theater building. Federal troops were called to protect the building.
I left the Ford Theater more knowledgeable and more sad.
The Petersen House still stands across the street. I could have toured the room Lincoln was taken to. I could have viewed the bed he rested on. It was not in me. I had had enough of Lincoln’s death.
I treated myself to lunch at the Willard House’s outdoor café. A beautiful setting. Sits on 14th Street, just around the corner from Pennsylvania Avenue. The weather was perfect. The huge trees a dark green shading the café. I had a leisurely lunch while enjoying the Washington Post.
Last night was Tuesday Talk with Key West Lou. My blog talk radio show. I did the show from my hotel room. A first! I was excited. It worked.
Next week I leave for an extended European trip. Italy, Greece and France. I shall be able to broadcast the blog talk radio show from where ever I am. The shows should be terrific! I am excited.
Last night’s show was a travelogue of my Washington trip. At the beginning however, I felt compelled to comment on the surveillance news of the past few days. I refer to the government having access to our telephone call numbers and e mails, tweets, etc. A big brother scenario of a size never before attempted.
I view this overview as surveillance out of control. Protection against terrorism is important. There must be a balance, however. Our liberties must be protected at the same time. I believe…..To protect our freedom, we must safeguard our freedoms.
I will dwell on the issue further during my Friday tv/internet show, the Key West Lou Legal Hour.
Sunday or Monday night is the Chart Room anniversary party. Forty five years. I will be there!
Enjoy your day!