From my seventh story vantage overlooking Washington Circle, I cannot glance like he does down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, or beyond to the U.S. Capitol, or further still to the Supreme Court itself. The angle is much too sharp. Pierre L'Enfant gridded this radial in 1791; today, these eight spokes of metropolitan bustle intersect at a central horsed George Washington statue installed in 1860—the second statue publically displayed in Washington D.C. From where I sit I cannot smell the freshly mown grass, cannot taste the kicked-up mower dust, cannot hear the fall rustle of three nearby rust-brown chestnut trees. But I can see Washington's oxidized patina face forever-staring down Pennsylvania Ave. toward the triptych of governmental branches, saber drawn beneath tri-cornered hat, stallion rearing, ready to charge. In dedicating this statue, then-President James Buchanan wrote, "May Washington City, which Washington founded, continue throughout many generations to be the seat of government of a great, powerful and united confederacy. Should it ever become a ruin by a dissolution of the Union, this statue will teach the lesson to all the dwellers upon earth that our grand political experiment has failed." And so, George Washington pulls at the reins, and stares down the avenue—a kinetic stasis frozen in bronze—waiting to instruct what earth dwellers remain when the time comes for him to share all he has witnessed these many years.
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