Points of Interest Washington District of Columbia, the city: • The city is only 10 miles square, shaped in a truncated diamond formation. • The original name of DC was The Federal City. • The name is in honor of both George Washington and Christopher Columbus. • Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant was commissioned by Washington to design the city, but was dismissed a year later because he was difficult to work with. However, most of his ideas were used. He died in Maryland, penniless and forgotten. Later, his remains were moved to Arlington National Cemetery. • The streets are formatted in a wagon wheel fashion, and the streets are named alphabetically. There is no ‘J’ street. According to rumor, it is because L’Enfant and John Jay were enemies. • The capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington DC in 1800, although most of the buildings and roads were not ready. • In 1912, the city of Tokyo, Japan gave the US 3,000 cherry trees. These are the cherry trees you now see in Washington. (However, enraged citizens chopped many down after Pearl Harbor.) Arlington National Cemetery: • The 612 acres where over 270,000 heroes lie used to be the homestead of General Robert E. Lee and his wife Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee. When Lee accepted the role as the general for the Confederate Forces in the Civil War, he knew he would probably never see his homestead again. • The property was almost immediately seized by the Union soldiers. After all, it’s only a little more than a mile away from the White House, in fact, it is a great view of the nation’s capital. The Arlington mansion was used as a military hospital during the war. • The Union soldiers made sure that the first graves were placed close to the house. A large vault for unidentified bodies was placed in the rose garden to deter the Lees from ever returning, some say by direct order of President Lincoln. (Thus beginning the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? concept in Arlington) • Take note that while we are in Arlington, we would have been below the Mason-Dixon line during the Civil War. It is amazing to think that our nation’s capitol is so close to the border, that the general of the Southern forces would have been so familiar with DC, since he probably looked at the outline of the DC streets daily. • In 1883, the Lee family was financially compensated. Lee later used that money to start Lee University in Virginia. • Robert E. Lee’s wife was the great granddaughter of Martha Washington. Arlington House mansion was built in honor of George Washington by his foster grandson George Washington Parke Custis. • Soldiers from every armed conflict since the Revolutionary War rest at Arlington. • This military cemetery will probably be full by the year 2025. • John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, William Howard Taft, and Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant (the designer of D.C.) are some of the famous people buried at Arlington. • Arlington averages 15 funerals per day/ 3,000 per year. • There are memorials to Apollo 1 and the Space Shuttle Challenger, gravesites of Justices of the Supreme Court, House and Senate members, architects, writers, a heavyweight boxing champion, crewmen from the failed attempt to rescue American hostages in Iran and many more.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: • The Memorial Amphitheater is the largest memorial in the cemetery. • The Tomb holds the remains of an unidentified soldier from World War I, World War II, and Korea. Recently, the body of the Unknown Soldier who fought in Vietnam was exhumed and identified. With the science capabilities with DNA testing, some believe that all the soldiers may now be exhumed and identified. • There is also a Tomb of Unknown Soldiers from the War of 1812 and a Tomb of Unknown Soldiers from the Civil War in Arlington Cemetery. • The Third United States Infantry (The Old Guard) guards the site 24 hours a day, 365 days a year The Capitol Building: • The Capitol is built on a former camp site of the Powhatan Indians. • George Washington laid the cornerstone on September 18, 1793. However, no one knows where the silver-plated stone lies. • The Capitol is 16 blocks away from the White House. Some say this was the distance it took President Washington to ride his horse and cool down from an argument with political leaders in his day. • The Capitol consists of two chambers separated by the Rotunda. • When looking at the Capitol from the mall side, the House of Representatives is on the right. The Senate is on the left. • Only one house of Congress will meet at a time. You can tell which house is in session because the flag will fly above the house that is meeting. • The House consists of 435 members. It is led by the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. Our Representative is Steve Chabot. Ohio has 18 representatives. • When the House is in session, a silver inkstand is placed on the Speaker’s table. This same stand has been put out since 1818. • The Senate consists of 100 members (2 from each state). • Our senators are George Voinovich and Mike DeWine. • Bells will ring throughout the Capitol and legislative offices to let people know what is going on in the chambers. Lights under the clocks will also flash the same message. • The cast iron dome is covered by copper. Weighing 8.9 million pounds. It will contract as much as 4 inches on days of extreme temperature. • Freedom, the bronze statue atop the dome, was made by Thomas Crawford. • The capitol was burnt by the British in 1814 and the names of many of the British soldiers who led the destruction are inscribed in some of the walls. • If you stand in one corner of the old House chambers and whisper, the sound follows up the walls, through the dome, and a person on the other side will be able to hear it. (So don’t talk about anybody!) • The red curtains were hung to help muffle the echoes. • In the basement floor of the Rotunda lies an empty crypt that was supposed to hold the body of George Washington, but he was buried instead at Mt. Vernon. • The Capitol has been open all night long only once- when JKF’s casket lay there and the line of mourners stretched for several blocks. • For more information on the capital, visit http://www.house.gov or http://www.senate.gov Embassy Row: There are more than 130 countries that have embassies in Washington DC.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt: • This outdoor memorial is divided into four sections, one for each of FDR’s terms in office. (the Early Years, the Great Depression, the Horrors of a World at War and the • Seeds of Peace) • Each room has familiar quotations from his fireside chats. • FDR was the only president to be elected four times. • Fearing a potential dictatorship, Congress later added a law that a president cannot serve more than two consecutive terms, the amount of terms George Washington served. • FDR actually has two memorials. The first one is located behind the National Archives and at FDR’s request, is no bigger than the desk at which he worked. • The FDR Memorial is controversial in nature. First, because it is the first memorial also dedicated to a lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, and secondly, it goes against FDR’s wishes. He never wanted a memorial bigger than his desk, and also, this memorial depicts FDR in his wheelchair, which he was confined to after contracting the polio virus. FDR did not even allow his picture taken in his wheel chair, much less want a statue made of him while sitting in it. Ford’s Theatre/Petersen’s House: • President and Mrs. Lincoln arrived late to the Ford’s Theatre to see ‘Our American Cousin’ on April 14, 1865. • During the third act, southern sympathizer and actor John Wilkes Booth entered the President’s box and shot him in the head. Booth jumped from the box, catching his boot spur in the flag draped across the box, and broke a small bone above his ankle. Shouting “Thus always to tyrants” in Latin, he ran outside to make his escape. Most people thought it was part of the play. • A surgeon had Lincoln carried across the street to Petersen’s Boarding House and placed him in the back bedroom. • At 7:22 AM, President Lincoln died. “Now he belongs to the ages.” • For days before the event, Lincoln had been having dreams of his own death. • Ironically enough, a few weeks before he shot Lincoln, Booth had rented the same room and slept in the same bed that Lincoln later died in. • It was later found out that this was just the beginning of a large conspiracy. As Booth was shooting Lincoln, others were supposed to assassinate the Secretary of State and the Vice President. However, they did not do it. • Several were imprisoned and hanged for aiding and knowing about Booth’s plan, including his girlfriend who claimed she knew nothing about the assassination plan. • Booth required medical attention for his broken ankle. Dr. Mudd came to him and helped him. The saying, “You’re name is mud? is believed to come from this episode. • Booth was found hiding out in a barn in Virginia, where he was shot and killed on April 26. • For more information about the assassination, see “Presidential Assassinations and Attempts” at the end of this packet. • The federal government ordered the theater closed after Lincoln’s assassination. It was then used by the government as office space. However, the floor collapsed in 1893, killing 22 office workers and the building was no longer used. In the mid 1960’s, Congress authorized a restoration plan and it was opened as a museum. Today, it is used both as a museum and once again as a playhouse.
Holocaust Memorial Museum • This museum stands as a memorial to the six million Jews and millions of other victims of Nazi fanaticism who perished in the Holocaust. • Each participant receives an ID card of a real person whose age and gender matches their own. At the end of the tour, they can find out if their person survived or was another victim of the Holocaust. • We will visit Daniel’s Story, a more age-appropriate part of the museum. Iwo Jima Marine Memorial: • The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the bloodiest battles of World War II. Of the 21,000 Japanese soldiers on the island, only 1,000 survived. The U.S. lost almost 7,000 of its 75,000 soldiers. The conflict lasted approximately 1 month. • Securing this island eventually led to the safe passage of our B-29 bombers (the carriers of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki). • A photographer took the picture of the five Marines and one sailor who struggled to raise the American Flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima. This picture was then on the front cover of Time Magazine and later issued to become a bronze statue. • Three of those five men (and 36 of the 40 members of the platoon) died before the end of the first week of battle. • This memorial honors all US Marines who have lost their lives in military duty. • This is the largest bronze statue ever cast. The soldiers are 32 feet tall. • If you count the number of hands on the memorial, you’ll find one hand too many! Jefferson Memorial: • Jefferson was the third president of the United States. • The dome-like structure on the Jefferson Memorial is similar to Jefferson’s favorite architectural design. He used this style not only on his home at Monticello, but also in his design of the University of Virginia. • The 19 foot bronze statue weighs 10,000 pounds. Take a look at his shoes- it’s one of the many inventions Jefferson had. These shoes have no right or left sides. Instead, you could wear either shoe on either foot, minimizing the wearing down on one side, and therefore, allowing shoes to last longer. • Jefferson is considered the greatest genius in American government. He was an architect, musician, inventor, agriculturist, statesman, and intellectual. He was the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence. • Jefferson died on July 4, 1826, fifty years (to the day) of the approval of the Declaration of Independence. (In fact, 3 of the first 5 presidents died on July 4- Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe.) • FDR had trees cleared from in front of the White House so he could see the statue of Thomas Jefferson from the White House. • President Kennedy once greeted a group of Nobel Peace Prize winners by saying they were the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever gathered together at the White House- with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone?
Kennedy Center: • When President Kennedy was assassinated, the National Cultural Center was named in his honor as a “living memorial”. • Over 40 foreign governments offered gifts to adorn the presidential memorial. • The complex houses six theaters that can seat 7,000 altogether, an educational resource center, a Hall of States that displays the fifty flags, the Hall of Nations that displays flags of all the foreign countries, and the Grand Foyer, which is one of the largest rooms in the world. In fact, if you could lay the Washington Monument on its side in the Grand Foyer, you would still have a remaining 75 feet! Korean Memorial: • The Korean Memorial is made of stainless steel. • There are 19 soldiers arranged in patrol formation around strips of granite and scrubby bushes to remind about the rugged Korean land. The soldiers are wearing ponchos to recall the harsh weather that had to be endured. When the sun casts shadows on the strips of granite, you can see 38 figures, in reference to the 38 parallel. • A black granite wall is etched with the faces of more than 2,500 servicemen and women. • The words “Freedom is not free” is etched into a small wall while the statistics of the war’s toll is etched on the rim of the nearby pool to substantiate the statement. • The Korean War has been coined “The Forgotten War” since many feel it was overshadowed by the World Wars and Vietnam. Library of Congress: • This is the largest library in the world with over 83 million items. If the shelves were laid end to end, they would stretch from Washington DC to Detroit, Michigan. • The collection grows by 10 items a minute. In fact, if you would spend 1 minute looking at each item for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, it would take you 648 years to see everything! • When the building was completed in the early 1900s, it was described as “the most beautiful building in the world.” • Many historical documents are preserved here, including Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, letters written by George Washington, and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, as well as the contents of his pockets the night he died. An original copy of the Gutenberg Bible is on display. Lincoln Memorial: • The marble statue of Lincoln is chiseled to make him appear contemplative as he looks across the Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument. Behind him is the bridge to Arlington, Virginia, the symbolic link between Lincoln and the South. His hands are believed to be shaped in the sign language letters of ‘A’ and ‘L’ for his name. • The Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address are chiseled on the walls. Supposedly, there is a misspelled word in one of the speeches. • The Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool have been sites of important cultural events. Namely, the Civil Rights March to Washington, many anti-Vietnam Rallies (like in Forest Gump- the making of Forest Gump itself!), the Million Man March, numerous gay rallies, and concerts have been hosted there. The Opera Singer Marian Anderson sang from the steps after she was refused permission to perform at Constitution Hall- because she was black.
Mount • • •
Vernon: Mt. Vernon belonged to both George Washington and his brother. There were five complete farms on the 8,000 acres. During the Civil War, Mt. Vernon was considered neutral ground by both Union and Confederate armies. No military action was done on its land. • Whenever Navy ships sail past Mt. Vernon, flags are lowered to half-mast and the crew stands to attention. • There is a family grave-site where George and Martha are buried, and there is also a slave burial ground nearby, where approximately 75 of Washington’s slaves were buried. • Although George Washington is considered “the father of our country”, he had no children himself. Martha had two children from another marriage that George accepted as his own. It was from Martha’s son, John Parke Curtis’ line, that Robert E. Lee married into the family. National Archives: • This building houses some of the most influential and interesting documents in America. In addition to holding the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence, it also has Richard Nixon’s resignation letter (and his Watergate tapes), the Emancipation Proclamation, the Louisiana Purchase treaty, and several of Susan B. Anthony’s letters. In storage lies photo albums from Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun. • The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence are stored in special helium cases covered with a green ultraviolet filter to help prevent aging. • These cases can also be lowered in a burglar, fire, and shockproof vaults for night storage or in case of emergency. • If you look closely, you can see some mistakes that were made in the Constitution and then “whited out” with a type of paint. Look closer still, and you can see a small hand print. • The National Archives safeguards 5 billion paper documents, 9 million aerial photographs, 6 million still photographs, and 300,000 video, film, and sound recordings. Although we see only a tiny fraction of the building, the purpose of the building is to protectively house all of our documents. The building itself is one city block. • There are 1.3 million cubic feet of historical documents here. • Author Alex Haley began his work on his book Roots here. • No pictures can be taken in the National Archives and guards stand at post during tour hours. You can, however, buy postcards for your scrapbook. National Cathedral: • Officially, the church is known as “The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul”. • This church honors all Christian faiths. • L’Enfant proposed a giant church, but our founding fathers feared a national religion, so instead decided to separate church and state. Later, it was decided to build the Cathedral after all. • The foundation stone was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907 with the same silver trowel and mallet George Washington used when the cornerstone of the US Capitol was laid in 1793. Eighty-three years later, the final stone was laid in the presence of George Bush. • The Cathedral is built on the highest point in the District. It is shaped like a Latin Cross and it is the 6th largest church in the world, measuring almost 2 football fields in length. The center tower is over 20 stories high. • In the Scientists and Technicians Bay, there is a window commemorating the flight of Apollo XI and contains a piece of lunar rock brought back from its flight. • Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan are interred in the crypt here. So is Woodrow Wilson, the only president to be buried in Washington DC. • Martin Luther King Jr. preached his last sermon here.
Newseum: • This interactive museum is dedicated to our 1st Amendment rights. • Thomas Paine’s writing desk and a first edition of Common Sense is on display, as is an announcement of the start of the Civil War in a newspaper. • For more information, contact http://www.newseum.org Smithsonian Institutions: (http://www.si.edu/) The Smithsonians consist of 16 museums and the National Zoo. It is the largest museum complex. In 1838, James Smithson, an English scientist, gave $500,000 to the American people to “Found an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge”. He never even visited America, but as an illegitimate son, he thought that all humans should have equal education, whether they were of noble birth or not. America, the land of the free, was the recipient of his generosity Air and Space Museum • All of these aircrafts and spacecrafts were actually flown or used as backup vehicles. • The Wright Bothers original 1903 Flyer is on display, as is the Apollo Lunar Module, Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis, and a Star Wars exhibit. • You can buy “space food” at the gift shop! Museum of American History • This museum focuses on the history of transportation, agriculture, communication, medicine, science, and technology in the United States. It has been called our “nation’s attic”. • The Foucault Pendulum never changes direction to knock down the red markers, it is the earth that moves underneath it! • The American flag on display is the actual flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the Star Spangled Banner. It flew over Fort Sumter during the British attack of 1812. • Also on display: Eli Whitney’s original cotton gin, Thomas Edison’s original light bulb, Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, and Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves! • A display of the items left at the Vietnam Wall is located on the third floor. (Highly recommended- bring tissues) Natural History Museum • The Hope Diamond, the largest diamond in the world, is on display. It is believed to be cursed by a god as it was stolen from the eye of an idol in India. As strange as it may sound, over 30 owners have either been harmed, killed or gone insane after purchasing the 44 carat diamond! • It took 16 bullets to kill the stuffed African Bush Elephant on display in the main lobby. • Other interesting displays: a 92 foot model of a blue whale, the insect zoo, Egyptian mummy coffins, and moon rocks. Supreme Court: • The Nine Supreme Court Justices are appointed by a President for life, but they must be approved by Congress. • The Supreme Court Chief Justice is William Rehnquist. • Several thousand cases are brought to the Supreme Court each year, but only about 150 are selected each year. • The Supreme Court used to have to meet in the Capitol Building. When the Capitol Building was damaged by the British, the Supreme Court met in a tavern. President William Howard Taft, a former Chief Justice, received permission from Congress to build the Supreme Court Building, spending close to 10 million dollars. • There is a massive statue of John Marshall, “the Great Chief Justice”, on the ground floor of the Supreme Court building. This floor also features exhibits on the history and function of the Supreme Court.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial: • Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs wanted a memorial in DC for those who fought and died in Vietnam. Although it was difficult to receive permission to remember this controversial “police action”, Congress did finally approve the idea. • A contest was held to find the creator of the memorial. Maya Ying Lin, a 21 year old Yale student, entered the contest as a class assignment. Her idea of a black granite wall listing all the names of the dead won the contest. Highly controversial, it was also highly poetic. Her black wall looks like a scar cut into the earth, similar to the scar on our nation in the aftermath of bitterness. She envisioned the wall being a barrier between the sunny world of the living and the dark world of the dead. Perhaps most poignant is the reflection of yourself in the wall as you look at the almost 60,000 lives that were lost in the jungle of Vietnam. The wall begins small and increases in size until the middle section rises over 12 feet. Symbolically, this is meant to show the overwhelming emotions many feel. Then, as you continue, the height gets smaller, symbolizing the healing of grief. As you walk away and head towards the Lincoln Memorial, turn back and look at the wall as it looks like scar- and a proof of healing. • Maya Ying Lin only received a B on the class project by her professor. • As the memorial was being built, many Vietnam Veterans were not happy with the design because they thought it looked like a ”black gash of shame”, so a realistic statue of soldiers was added to the area. • The Wall was opened on Veteran’s Day 1982. • As the visitors continued over the next few months (making it one of the most visited places in DC), they began leaving items for their loved ones, as many do in cemeteries. It was the first time in our country that this happened at a memorial. Teddy Bears have been left, pictures, jackets, letters, and once, even a Harley Davidson. Amazingly enough, even though DC has a large crime rate, the park service has never reported a case of someone taking one of the items left there. The items are collected each evening and put into storage. The American History Museum displays some of these items. • Those who died in the war are marked with a diamond; those missing or imprisoned are marked with a cross. • You can find a specific name by looking up their name in one of the books located to either side of the wall and then looking up their wall area and line. If you or any student need help finding a person, our guides will be able to help • Chaperones may want to bring paper and pens so the students can etch a name. • Be sure to look at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial of the Jefferson side of the monument. Washington Monument: • The Washington Monument is the tallest stone monument in the world. It is 555 feet tall. • It takes the elevator only 70 seconds to rise to the top of the monument. The 897 steps are closed to the public, but they contain memorial stones from the 50 states and various foreign governments. • You can see where construction was halted during the Civil War. The Line of Demarcation is caused by marble that was mined from different parts of the quarry. • The monument sways 1/8 of an inch in a 35 mph wind.
White House: • L’Enfant had originally planned for the “President’s House” to be surrounded by an 80 acre park. Jefferson, feeling that this was too large for one family’s enjoyment, had Pennsylvania Avenue extended through the lawn. • John Adams was the first president to live in the White House, but it was not the best of conditions. The House was drafty and the first floor rooms had dirt floors. The Adams family made the best of it however, and it is said that they used the East Room (The Ball Room) as the place where they hung their laundry! Even with these less than genteel conditions, John Adams wrote on his first night, “May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof!” • George Washington was the only president never to live in the White House. He died the year before it was finished. • The East Room has been used for more than just laundry. During the Civil War, Union troops occupied the room. Teddy Roosevelt was known to host wrestling matches in that room, as well as allow his children to go roller skating in there! • Probably most well known fact is that Jackie Kennedy is responsible for the refurbishing of the White House in the 1960s. • For more information, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov
Presidential Assassinations and Assassination Attempts: Interesting Information: The Secret Service started as a spy agency during the Civil War, assigned to detect counterfeit money and stamps. The role of protecting the President was added during President McKinley’s term, when a letter was found threatening the lives of several world leaders, one of them being McKinley. When the letter was discovered, it was already two years old and three of the listed six people had been killed. McKinley was the fifth on the list. Assassination Attempt on Andrew Jackson: Andrew Jackson had gone to the rotunda of the Capitol Building for a funeral of a congressman. Richard Lawrence approached Jackson and squeezed the trigger of his pistol, but the gun misfired and no bullet left the gun. As Jackson began fending him off with his walking cane, the man pulled out another gun and fired. This gun also misfired. Several congressmen, including Congressmen Davy Crockett of Tennessee, jumped on Lawrence and tackled him to the floor. Firearm experts figured the odds against two misfires in a row were about 125,000 to 1, odds so doubtful that many speculated that Jackson might have staged the attempt to increase his popularity.
Lincoln Assassination: When Lincoln was elected as president, he had planned to enter the city of DC in fanfare via the train. Railroad officials had heard of an assassination plot, so they changed plans and snuck the president into DC that night. When political enemies heard about the arrival, they made fun of Lincoln for having to “steal into Washington like a thief in the night.” Embarrassed, Lincoln vowed never again to change his plans for the sake of safety. In his years in office, Lincoln received more than 10,000 death threats, but he always refused to change his plans. The plot -- John Wilkes Booth- a Southern sympathizer and actor in DC helped prepare a quite elaborate plot. At first, he and his cohorts had planned to kidnap the president and then later trade him for ALL the captured Confederate soldiers held in Northern prison camps. After two failed attempts (they were unable to get near the president) and the end of the Civil War, they changed their plans. This time, Booth and friends planned to assassinate President Lincoln, Vice President Johnson, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of War. On April 14, Booth discovered that the President was scheduled to attend the play ‘Our American Cousin’ with General Grant at the Ford Theater that night. The Grants did not attend after all, but Booth was able to sneak into the Presidential Box and shoot Lincoln in the head, just behind his left ear. Jumping from the box seats, Booth managed to break a small bone in his ankle and made his escape. The other assassination attempts did not go as planned, however. The Vice President’s assassination was not even attempted- the man responsible for killing him got drunk and passed out. Garfield Assassination: Charles Guiteau believed God wanted him to kill President Garfield. He even checked out the jails in DC and claimed they were “the best jail in America” and wrote a book explaining his philosophies. For weeks he stalked the President and finally shot him in the back while the President prepared to leave by train to vacation with his family. The bullet was lodged near his spinal cord, but Garfield managed to survive for 80 days. Guiteau was found guilty of murdering the President and hung on June 30, 1882. McKinley Assassination: William McKinley was shaking hands at a reception at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo when Leon Czolgosz (aka Fred Niemann) pulled out a .32 caliber revolver and shot him. Czolgosz was an anarchist who had been following McKinley for weeks looking for a chance to kill him for political reasons. Ida McKinley, the President’s wife, had stayed in due to her frail condition with bouts of epilepsy. No one told her that her husband was shot until she asked about him later in the evening. 8 days later, the President died. Twelve hours later, Vice President Teddy Roosevelt was sworn into office (after they searched and found him mountain climbing in the Adirondacks.) It took a jury 35 minutes to convict Czolgosz of first degree murder. He was put to death by the electric chair. Carbolic Acid was poured into the coffin so that the body would disintegrate within twelve hours. Teddy Roosevelt Assassination Attempt: After his presidential term, Teddy Roosevelt was giving a speech for his new-found political party, the Bull Moose Party, when John F. Schrank stepped out of the crowd and shot Roosevelt in the chest. The bullet passed through his coat, glasses case, and notes for the speech and rested in his ribs. He gave the speech and afterwards went to the hospital to have the bullet removed. While he recuperated, the other candidates announced they would stop campaigning.
F.D.R. Assassination Attempt: After President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected, but before he was sworn into office, a man shot at him with a pistol while the President-elect was sitting in an open touring car. A woman, Lillian Cross, standing next to the shooter grabbed his arm so that the bullets did not hit their target. The bullets missed FDR, but instead hit five of his touring companions, including the mayor of Chicago. The shooter, Giuseppe Zangara, an anarchist, was arrested and convicted of 80 years of prison. After the mayor died, Zangara was tried again, this time for murder. He was sentenced to death by the electric chair. Truman Assassination Attempt: President Truman lived in the Blair House (across the street from the White House) while repairs were being made on the White House. Secret Service Agents were worried as this house did not offer the security of the presidential home. In November 1950, these fears were realized. Two men seeking the independence of Puerto Rico ran toward the Blair House from opposite directions, shooting their guns. The two men, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, fired at the three guards stationed outside the house and made it to the front door before other guards shot them down. The gunfire only lasted three minutes (twenty-seven shots), but in that amount of time a guard and one attempted assassin was dead and two guards and the other assassin were seriously injured. J.F.K. Assassination: Perhaps the most controversial assassination was the death of President Kennedy. The Kennedys were traveling in an open car through Dallas when the President was shot. Details to this day are sketchy, as most witnesses disagree about what they saw or heard. Harvey Oswald, a communist, was accused of the crime, and days later was arrested by the police in a movie theater, where he had gone to hide from them. After being questioned for over twelve hours, Oswald was transported to a more secure prison. It was at this transfer that nightclub owner Jack Ruby broke through the crowd and shot Oswald dead. President Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery where weeks before had told his wife, “This place is so peaceful, I could live here forever.” Ford Assassination Attempt: Lynette Alice Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, was the first female to attempt to assassinate a president when she pointed her gun at President Ford. Secret Service agents saw the gun and wrestled her to the floor. Fromme said she didn’t like the way Ford was running the country. “Well you know,” she later told a jailer, “when people around you treat you like a child and pay no attention to things you say, you have to do something.” Three weeks later, Sara Jane Moore, a former police informant, shot at Ford, but the bullet whizzed over the president’s head and instead hit a cab driver. A former marine standing next to Moore knocked at her hand so she couldn’t fire again. Later, Moore said she didn’t know why she had shot at the president. She then wondered who would pick up her nine year old boy from school.
Reagan Assassination Attempt: While Ronald Reagan is known as an actor as well as a politician, few realize his assassination attempt was the result of a movie, Taxi Driver. In the movie, a cab driver stalks a political candidate, shoots criminals, and rescues a runaway girl, played by Jodie Foster. John Hinckley, Jr. became infatuated with this movie and with Jodie Foster, who was at that time a freshman at Yale. Vying for her attention after all his letters and calls were shunned by her, Hinckley bought a bus ticket that he hoped would take him to Yale to see her. It first stopped in Washington DC. Seeing President Reagan’s schedule in the newspaper, he decided he should prove his love to Jodie Foster. Before he went to shoot the President he wrote her a letter “I just cannot wait any longer to impress you. I’ve got to do something now to make you understand in no uncertain terms that I am doing all of this for your sake. By sacrificing my freedom and possibly my life, I hope to change your mind about me.” Hinckley then went to shoot the President. When the President emerged, Hinckley fired six shots in nine seconds, hitting Press Secretary James Brady in the forehead, a police officer in the neck, and a secret service agent in the chest. President Reagan was hit in the chest by a bullet that ricocheted off of the limousine. Hinckley was found “not responsible” by reason of insanity.