E Pluribus Unum

Do you know what this latin phrase means? It is on all of your coins. It's on the Seal of the United States.

It means: Out of many, one. It refers to the fact that the United States was formed as one nation as a result of the thirteen smaller colonies joining together. In recent years its meaning has also come to suggest that out of many peoples, races, religions and ancestries has emerged a single nation.

This was one of the fascinating tidbits of information we learned on our visit to the U.S. Capitol building.

To visit the Capitol building, you enter through the Capitol Visitor Center...
Walking towards the visitor's center, we get our first glimpse of the Capitol Dome...

You must schedule a specific time to tour the Capitol Building. It is free, but you must book the tour in advance. We were early for our tour so we walked around the outside. It was an cloudy Saturday morning so there was hardly anyone else around.
Such beautiful detailing in the architecture...

The dome is topped with the bronze statue of Freedom. Amazingly, the statue is 19 feet 6 inches tall and weighs approximately 15,000 pounds. She stands on a cast-iron pedestal on a globe encircled with the motto E Pluribus Unum.

Ironically the man who played a key role in the creation of the Freedom statue was at the time a slave. Whether or not he saw the last piece of the Statue of Freedom put into place on December 2, 1863, Philip Reid was by that time a free man who became a master craftsman and artisan. You can read about him here.

Click here to learn more about scheduling a tour of the U.S. Capitol.

In my next blog post I will take you inside the Capitol and the beautiful dome.

All photos in this blog post were taken by my husband and me during our visit in September, 2013.



Today, sports figures and celebrities leave their mark on American society as much as the industrialists, explorers, politicians and writers did in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The National Portrait Gallery displays many portraits of those persons who have inspired us in the sports arena or on the silver screen.

Muhammad Ali: a silkscreen by Andy Warhol

Muhammad Ali: oil painting by Henry C. Casselli, Jr.

Michael Jackson: synthetic polymer and silkscreen by Andy Warhol

Joe Louis: oil painting by Betsy Graves Reyneau

Oscar Robinson: February 16, 1961 Time Magazine cover by Russell Hoban

Bobby Hull: March 1, 1968 Time Magazine cover by Leroy Neiman

Arthur Ashe: acrylic on canvas by Louis Briel

L.L. Cool J: oil painting by Kehinde Wiley

Katherine Hepburn: oil painting by Everett Raymond Kinstler

In addition to this portrait of Katherine Hepburn, her unprecedented four Best Actress Academy Awards are now part of the National Portrait Gallery's permanent exhibition...

From left to right are her Academy Award for Morning Glory in 1933. Interestingly, that particular statue was the very first to be referred to by a Hollywood reporter as an Oscar. She also won in 1967 for Guess Who's Coming Dinner, the very next year for 1968's The Lion in Winter and 1981's On Golden Pond. Nearly 50 years went by between her first and last award. Note how different each statue is from the others.

The National Portrait Gallery presents the wonderful diversity of individuals who have left, and are leaving, their mark on our country and our culture. As a Smithsonian Museum, admission is always FREE at the National Portrait Gallery. Click here to visit the National Portrait Gallery's website. 

All photos in this blog post were taken by my husband and me during our visit in September, 2013.