Posted on 1-29-13:
When you work in politics (as we did for many years), cool things happen, like running into – literally – Bruce Willis in the Map Room of The White House, or riding in an elevator with Sen. McCain and Bono discussing healthcare in Africa, or trying desperately to understand one word in a conversation with Henry Kissinger, or visiting hide-away offices in the Capitol. Cool stuff happens.
One of the coolest is the dome tour. The dome tour is something you can only do if personally escorted by a Member of Congress. Not for the faint of heart, you have the privilege of climbing 20 stories (well over 300 stairs), until you are standing outside, on top of the dome, just under the Statue of Freedom. Nearly 280 feet high!
You see Washington from a different perspective. I was reminded of the old saying “all roads lead to Rome.” You can see dramatically how the city was originally laid out by Pierre L’Enfant and Andrew Ellicott and that all roads did indeed seem to converge on the Capitol. The symbolic power of the Capitol is immense.
Upon re-entering the dome and beginning to climb down you can stop at the Visitor’s Gallery. Here you can see close up Constantino Brumidi’s great fresco, the Apotheosis of Washington, 180 feet above the Rotunda floor. It is pretty cool to see Neptune helping to lay a transatlantic telegraph cable with a warship in the background – the detail from seeing mere feet above your head is amazing. When you are on the floor you don’t even know there is a gallery up there. From the gallery you can yell as loudly as you want and no one on the floor will hear you; but whisper and a person on the other side of the gallery can hear as clearly as if you were right next to them.
What was my lasting impression from the dome tour? Looking at something from a new perspective allows you to see it in a whole new light. It exposes hidden ideas and new avenues for you to explore. If you’re stuck, do something to look at your situation from a different point of view. One of Aberdeen’s core beliefs: perspective is Key!