Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gateway to the West

Over the holiday weekend, we took a road trip with friends to see the Reds take on the Cards in St. Louis. We made a weekend of it, and since Neil and I had never been there, we had to go up in the arch.

We have a National Parks Passport and quickly discovered that the proper name isn't the St. Louis Arch, but rather the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (if you're talking about the whole park) or the Gateway Arch.

I was surprised to learn that it opened in 1967--I had thought it much older than that. But that doesn't make it any less inpressive in my book. It is currently the tallest monument in the United States and the view from the top is incredible.

I was shocked by the amount of security, but that's just this post-9/11 world, I suppose. We went through the same security you'd go through in an airport, minus removing shoes. This program just started this year and was required by Congress.  I was also shocked by how tiny the capsules you ride to the top are--I was glad it was only a 4 minute ride to the top!

I love the symbolism of the arch. Not only is it the most recognizable landmark in St. Louis, it marks an important time and point in the history of the city--it commemorates the place from which Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition. The memorial also recognizes the first government west of the Misssissippi, the Louisiana Purchase and the Dred Scott Decision. When you see such famous landmarks, it is sometimes easy to get so caught up in the physical aspects--how tall a monument is, how many people are around, how much tickets cost--but moments like these call for a pause to reflect on just why you're standing in that spot.

Thanks to our friend Stacia for taking the photo. It was a perfect day for walking around!


Ken said...

I have never been, sounds like I will have to put it on my list. Love the picture btw.

Deej said...

I ran across your blog while doing some delving into the Lincoln assassination. Wonderful writings here.
I live up near the other end of I-71.
And I was also in St Louie that same weekend for a get-together of wonderful internet friends to finally meet in person. Middle of the country, y'know. We visited the Arch and attended the Cards/Reds game that Sunday as well.
I've read quite of few of your great posts and you've given me some good ideas.
I hope you can find something to smile about each day.

JR said...

Wow, that is too funny Deej! Look for more stuff soon when the weather gets warm!

Digital Inks said...

you've done really excellent job! thanks a lot for sharing!!