Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Freedom to Worship

"I have heard Joseph Smith say that if he were emperor of the whole world, holding the destinies of all men in his hands, he would defend the religious rights of every man, whether his religion was right or wrong. And especially ought this to be the case in this American nation, the constitution of which guarantees to all people the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. This is the broad platform upon which our government has been founded. I have looked upon the Constitution of the United States as one of the best instruments ever devised by man for the government of the inhabitants of the earth."
(Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses 24:237)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

California Dreamin', Part Three

Our final stop on our southern California trip was at President Nixon's library. His libary is in Yorba Linda, about an hour-and-a-half from President Reagan's library in Simi Valley. President Nixon's library actually sits on his family's land, in the place where citrus orchards had once been. It is located right next to President Nixon's family home. The house hasn't been moved; it's in the same place it was when Nixon was born there.

President Nixon and his wife, Pat, are both buried on the site of the Nixon Presidential Library.

The presidential helicopter that flew President Nixon and his family away from the White House on the day of his resignation is also located on the property. We were able to walk through it. It had the lovely 1970's decor of gold and avocado green upholstery.

These pictures are inside the Nixon family home. The kitchen is tiny. A person could stand in one place and reach almost everything in the room. The main room has the piano, chairs, and the dining table in the corner. There were two bedrooms on the main floor, but President Nixon's dad split one of the rooms in half and made it into a bathroom when indoor plumbing became a common feature. The Nixon boys slept on beds in the attic. The picture of the bed is the actual bed and room where President Nixon was born.

Bathroom is through the door

Piece of Berlin Wall To scale replice of White House East Room

Monday, August 8, 2011

California Dreamin', Part Two

Last summer we went to the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri. We were pleasantly surprised at how interesting it was -- and that's from two people who agreed with very little of Truman's philosophies.

Library is really a misnomer for a presidential library. They are really museums and contain history about the president, his family, and issues of the world at that time. Anyone who is interested in history would love to walk through a presidential library. But plan for at least two hours; we have yet to get through one in less than two hours.

Touring all the presidential libraries is our new interest. Since we were planning a trip to Solvang this summer, taking the time to visit the Reagan and Nixon libraries seemed like a must.

We went to the Reagan library first. When we went to the Nixon library, we mentioned to one of our guides that we had visited the Reagan library prior to the Nixon libary. He had library envy as he expressed to us that Reagan's library had a lot of space to spread out. He's right; Reagan's library had a lot more space than Nixon's library.

Reliving the years leading up to Reagan's election while walking through the library was like looking in a mirror of where our country is currently. We were surprised at how many people were at the Reagan library besides us. Maybe they, like us, all long for the days of Reagan backbone and sanity.

Below are some pictures we took at Reagan's library:

President & Mrs. Reagan greet visitors / Reagan's saddles

President Reagan's "tear down this wall" suit / President & Mrs. Reagan's inaugural clothes

Air Force One. We were able to tour the inside.

The view from the Reagan Library

Replica of Reagan's Oval Office built to scale.

Reagan and Gorbachev

"We have one beacon to guide us that Ronald Reagan never had. We have his example. Let us give thanks today for a life that achieved so much for all of God's children."

-Margaret Thatcher-

Friday, August 5, 2011

California Dreamin', part one

This year for our summer vacation we decided to take a trip to southern California. Edie had visited Solvang, California, several years ago and decided that it might be a place we'd like to see. Solvang is a small Dutch community that attracts lots of tourists and offers a variety of choices in Dutch shopping and pastries - two of our favorite things.

We stayed at a hotel in Goleta, California (by Santa Barbara), and drove the thirty minutes to Solvang. The drive was beautiful as we drove on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Below are some pictures we took with a cell phone:

We were so busy shopping that we forgot to take pictures of Solvang, but here's the link to a visitor's site. http://cityofsolvang.com/

Traffic in southern California is worse than a nightmare. At least you can wake up from a nightmare. It seems like there is never a good time of day, or a good day of the week, to drive the L.A. freeways. It's always bumper to bumper with periods of completely stopping and sitting on the freeway.

We've driven across country and back. We've driven through the rush hour downtown traffic of Philadelphia. We've driven the narrow and hectic streets of Washington, D.C. None of it compares to the absolute chaos of the L.A. freeway. If we ever return to Solvang, we're going through Bakersfield and sneaking in the back way. Future trips to southern California will be limited to Disneyland.

We asked one of the Solvang store owners how long he had lived there. He said that he had been there for about 28 years. He had lived in L.A. prior to moving to Solvang, but one day it took him 5 -1/2 hours in L.A. traffic to get home from work. And thus started his quest to leave L.A. It took three years, but he got out.