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Phew! The whole place smells like Sharpie…

September 8, 2008, 10:55 PM

Yes, I pulled out my Sharpies to hand-letter a few signs. I made three. This is the general gist of the message:

"Free Hugs" sign

Yes, “FREE HUGS“. You see, Wednesday, September 10, is International Free Hug Day. And I am ready to spread joy in Dupont Circle along with a few friends by offering free hugs to passers-by. I’ll show you the results of Free Hug Day later, once the day is through.

Otherwise, I spent Sunday afternoon in Rosslyn, photographing in the vicinity of 1815 North Fort Myer Drive, which is the building being demolished. I think I did fairly well, including getting a few shots that look like I was inside the building, even though I wasn’t.

I also went over to Freedom Park, which you may recall is where I shot the Freedom Is Not Free photo set way back in 2002. I’d heard rumblings that the sections of the Berlin Wall had been moved to the new Newseum in DC, and so I went to verify. First of all, the rumblings were correct:

The Berlin Wall area, minus the pieces of the wall

However, what I saw next really shocked me. I had heard about the Berlin Wall sections being moved, but I had no idea that they had also removed all the other exhibits. The statue replicas – gone. The jail cell door – gone. The cobblestones – gone. The boat – gone. Seriously, check it out:

No more exhibits

They cleaned it out. They removed the exhibits and the signage, and also re-sodded the grass. Just like they had never been there. And look at the Journalists’ Memorial:

The Journalists' Memorial is gone, too...

Totally wiped off the map.

I’ll tell you something: This sucks. I wondered if the Freedom Forum was really going to maintain Freedom Park indefinitely after the Newseum closed back in 2002 and then reopened in 2008 in DC. And as it turns out, they weren’t. They vacated, leaving two empty pedestrian bridges with no really good reason to ever want or need to go through there. Kind of a shame. Of course, Freedom Park and the old Newseum were free of charge. The new Newseum costs $20 per head. And considering the Berlin Wall got moved inside, I’m guessing that the other exhibits are in that big Newseum building in DC as well. And why give it away when people will pay $20 a head to see it, I suppose. Still, one of the diamonds-in-the-rough of Rosslyn is now no more.

Personally, I think I’m going to miss the Journalists’ Memorial the most, because that was just beautiful. It had so many effects with light that it was a lot of fun to photograph. Plus you could see it from the street, despite its being on an overpass. And besides the photo set that it first appeared in, the Journalists’ Memorial also showed up in A16 and Weekend with Katie.

So there you have it. And the remnants of Tropical Storm Hanna cleared the area, and so I had beautiful weather for the photo shoot. Can’t wait to show you more of it…

Web site: All about World Wide Free Hug Day

Song: Bill Cosby's "Little Ole Man" song

Quote: Free hugs!

Categories: Arlington, Netculture