The morning sun that came up over Washington's Tidal Basin on Monday illuminated a new memorial opening to the public for the first time: a plaza and statue honoring the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
In late March and early April, a canopy of cherry blossoms opens over Washington, D.C., shedding delicate petals across the Tidal Basin. During the mass bloom, about half a million out-of-towners will join locals in raising their gazes to the tops of the trees, a 1912 gift from the city of Tokyo. (Global marketing minds might wonder: Coincidence, or clever strategy on behalf of Japanese camera makers? Snap once for yes, twice for no.)
Is the United States the "greatest country on earth"? You hear that a lot, or phrases like that, during this presidential campaign. Candidates may attack other candidates, or the sitting president, but they never attack the idea that America is special, a "city upon a hill." "The last, best hope of Earth."
The federal police force responsible for protecting the Washington Monument, the Statue of Liberty and other national icons is understaffed, under-equipped, under-trained and demoralized, according to an assessment that echoes earlier studies.