I just returned from a trip to Washington DC where Patty and I visited some places we hadn’t been before. One place was The Newseum, a new museum devoted entirely to News reporting and journalism. It actually is a tribute to our national Freedom of the Press as well as our Freedom of Speech. Those are two of our guaranteed freedoms under our Constitution and Bill of Rights that, quite frankly, I take far too casually.
It’s located on Pennsylvania Avenue between The Capital Building and The White House in the area where newspapers and reporters originally gathered to report and publish news on politics. It’s a modern structure with fabulous media presentations plus a nice, open air balcony that provides a great view of Washington DC.
I thought it was a bit pricey in the $23 per person range. I also felt like this was more of an exhibit rather than a museum. That may just be because it’s new, or perhaps because it wasn’t free to get into like many of the other Washington DC structures devoted to preserving or honoring our national history.
At any rate, housed within the six floors of the Newseum, are Pulitzer Prize winning photographs depicting war, politics, storms, disasters like 9/11 along with human achievements like space exploration, relief missions for refugees and part of the remains of The Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie. There is footage of the Kennedy presidency and assassination, investigative journalism on asylums, corrupt politics and criminals, and discrimination. It also took a light-hearted look at the monologs of Tonight Show hosts and how Saturday Night Live cover the weekly news events too. While I got absorbed in more of the pop news during my lifetime, they did a good job of covering news reporting in ancient times, Medieval times and the first war covered on film – our Civil War.
It was quite complete in it’s coverage and as I prepared to leave, I couldn’t help but think of how many other places today around the world, don’t have the freedom to report current news, or speak out agains those who rule a country, or speak out against abuse. Think of Columbia, or Syria, or North Korea. Think of oppression and intimidation by gangs, mob leaders, drug cartels, and thugs. Think of what is censured in other countries. Think of how we take Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for granted. We can video or text ANYTHING we want and not fear retaliation by our government, though some may dispute that to some degree.
I often get so disgusted with politicians, that I forget how thankful I am that our Founding Fathers, as well as the current elected officials continue to affirm and protect these valuable freedoms – the freedom to speak out and the freedom of the press to write, report, critique and investigate.
I’m glad when something like this gets my attention and reminds me how very blessed I am, not only for these freedoms but how thankful I am that I live in these United States of America. God, keep on blessing the USA!