Vice President Biden’s Greatest Hits at Senate Swearing-In Ceremony (photos)

January 10, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden was in rare form at the recent Senate swearing-in reenactment ceremony inside the U.S. Capitol Building Jan. 3, as senators had a chance to go before the cameras with family members. Throughout the ceremony, the vice president took center stage while greeting senators, mothers and kids with hugs and kisses and slightly off-color remarks. The official more somber swearing-in ceremony happened earlier in the Senate chambers on the opening day of the 113th Congress.

View our photos of the vice president’s friskier moments by clicking on the photo icons below. (All photos by Jeff Malet)

View additional photos of the swearing-in by clicking here.
[gallery ids="101117,139454,139462,139468,139476,139483,139489,139496,139503,139510,139446,139440,139541,139404,139534,139411,139529,139418,139524,139426,139432,139517" nav="thumbs"]

Smithsonian’s American History Museum Receives ‘WICKED’ Dress (photos)

January 3, 2013

In a special ceremony Dec. 17, Tony award-winning costume designer Susan Hilferty signed the deed of gift for an Elphaba costume and broom from the musical “WICKED,” based on the novel by Gregory Maguire, to the National Museum of American History’s popular culture collections. The costume is currently on display in the “American Stories” exhibition.
Winner of 35 major awards, including three Tonys and a Grammy, the musical “WICKED” has been seen by more than 35 million people, and there are seven production companies worldwide. For the special ceremony at the Smithsonian, visitors were treated to a live performance by Donna Vivino (Elphaba) and Tiffany Haas (Glinda), singing several production numbers. Receiving the gift of the costume were Marc Pachter, acting director of the National Museum of American History, and Dwight Blocker Bowers, curator of the National Museum of American History.

View our photos of the ceremony at the Smithsonian by clicking on the photo icons below. [gallery ids="101110,138715,138709,138703,138696,138690,138728,138682,138733,138674,138740,138668,138745,138722" nav="thumbs"]

‘Nutcracker on Ice’ by the Sculpture Garden Skating School (photos)

Every holiday season, Alice Jean Shelley’s class at the Sculpture Garden Skating School performs its version of the “Nutcracker on Ice.” View our photos of the “Nutcracker,” by clicking on the photo icons below.

An ice skating professional with more than 27 years of experience, Alice Jean Shelley is the director of the Sculpture Garden Skating School at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink. We invited Shelley to talk about her program. “The children have a wonderful time outdoors learning from the U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills Program to free skating levels using teaching tools and props such as candy canes, buckets, markers and even a boogie board, etc. This season we have a new class ‘Nanny & Me’ in which the nanny can bring and accompany their children while learning to skate with the children at no cost to them. The adult program is fabulous, too … from first-time beginners on the ice to adults who even spin and jump. If you would like to bring a group of 10 or more for a special occasion and have a half-hour lesson included, there is a special group rate of $17.50 per person which would include a half-hour lesson, admission and skate rental if needed. That way you would have someone on the ice for the birthday, holiday or special occasion party to facilitate the party, teach and even play a few ‘games’ on the ice with them.”

You are welcome to call Alice Shelley at 202-507-2396 for more information and also to arrange private lessons for adults and children, which are available seven days a week at anytime day and night when the ice rink is open.

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden Ice Rink is open mid-November through mid-March, weather permitting, where you can view magnificent works of sculpture while skating in the open air and enjoying music from the state-of-the-art sound system. Two hours on the ice costs $8 for adults and $7 for children, students and seniors. Skates are available for rental at a $3 charge.

View our photos of the students performing the “Nutcracker on Ice” by clicking on the photo icons below.
[gallery ids="101116,139290,139296,139304,139310,139317,139324,139331,139338,139345,139352,139360,139368,139374,139382,139282,139276,139270,139413,139199,139407,139207,139402,139213,139396,139220,139226,139234,139242,139249,139256,139263,139388" nav="thumbs"]

Senator Inouye Lies in State at Capitol (Photos)

December 21, 2012

Senator Daniel Inouye lies in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington D.C. on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. There, his colleagues and members of the public would pay their respects to the Senate’s second-longest serving member. The Democrat from Hawaii was a Medal of Honor recipient for valor in World War II. He died Monday from respiratory ailments at age 88. Lying in state is an honor typically reserved for presidents, bestowed only 31 times since the 1800s. Draped in the American Flag, Inouye’s casket sat beneath the Capitol dome, atop the Lincoln catafalque, the platform built in 1865 to support Abraham Lincoln’s casket when that president’s body lay in state.

View our photos by clicking on the photo icons below. [gallery ids="101113,138900,138908,138915,138922,138928,138935,138942,138949,138956,138963,138969,138976,138984,138991,138892,138884,138878,139021,138806,139015,139010,138814,139005,138821,138828,138835,138842,138849,138856,138863,138870,138999" nav="thumbs"]

National Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony on the Ellipse (Photos)

A lighting ceremony took place for the National Hanukkah Menorah, the world’s largest, on the Ellipse, just across from the White House on the second night (first day) of the eight-day Jewish holiday. Candles were lit on Sunday Dec. 9, 2012 by special guest, acting Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients. The United States Navy Band and “The Three Cantors” performed. The National Menorah Lighting dates to 1979 when Jimmy Carter was president. Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish Maccabees’ military victory over Greek-Syrian oppression more than 2,000 years ago. A candle is lit each night of the eight-day celebration, commemorating the miracle of one day’s supply of oil lasting a full eight days in the lamp following the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. This annual event is sponsored by American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) [gallery ids="101093,137870,137876,137882,137889,137896,137902,137908,137915,137862,137856,137850,137943,137823,137938,137933,137830,137928,137836,137842,137922" nav="thumbs"]

President Obama and First Family Light Up National Christmas Tree (photo gallery)

Barack Obama and the first family flicked the switch to light up the new National Christmas Tree before an estimated crowd of 17,000 on the Ellipse, just south of the White House in Washington D.C., Dec. 6. Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Ledisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Rico Rodriguez, Phillip Phillips and James Taylor were among the featured performers along with the Washington Performing Arts Society gospel choir, the U.S. Navy Band Commodores, the Midtown Men, stars from the original Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys.”

View photos of the event by clicking on the photo icons below. [gallery ids="101091,137792,137786,137780,137775,137768,137760,137754,137748,137742,137804,137734,137809,137814,137728,137819,137798" nav="thumbs"]

Wreaths Across America Honors Our Veterans (photo gallery)

December 20, 2012

More than 110,000 wreaths, donated by Wreaths Across America, were laid at Arlington National Cemetery Dec. 15 for the 21st annual event. About 27,000 volunteers helped place the wreaths throughout the cemetery. Morrill Worcester, president of Worcester Wreath Company, based in Harrington, Maine, started this annual event in 1992 to honor our nation’s fallen heroes. Morrill marked a special milestone Saturday by presenting the program’s one millionth wreath to Gold Star mother Mary Byers, whose son, Army Capt. Joshua Byers, was killed in Afghanistan in 2003. Participating in the ceremony were: Wayne Hanson, chairman of the board for Wreaths Across America; Kathryn A. Condon, executive director, Army National Cemeteries Program; Maine Gov. Paul LePage and his wife Ann; Rear Admiral Harold L. Robinson, a rabbi and former chaplain; and Lt. Col. Thomas Helms, the senior Army Chaplain at Arlington National Cemetery. Country artists Lindsay Lawler and Chris Roberts sang “God Bless America.”

View our photos by clicking on the photo icons below. [gallery ids="101108,138390,138396,138404,138410,138417,138424,138432,138438,138446,138454,138462,138470,138478,138486,138494,138500,138384,138376,138370,138531,138524,138290,138519,138296,138514,138302,138309,138316,138322,138330,138336,138342,138350,138356,138363,138507" nav="thumbs"]

Santas Descend on the Washington Mall for Santarchy 2012 (photos)

We caught up with Santarchy on the steps of the National Museum of Natural History Dec. 15. Santarchy takes place every year in major cities all over the world, involving tens of thousands of Santa Clauses. They are a self-described “non-profit, non-political, non-religious and non-sensical celebration of holiday cheer, goodwill, and fun. There is no good reason to dress up in cheap Santa suits, run around town, give gifts, sing songs, have strangers sit on our laps, and decide who is naughty or nice — but it’s a lot of fun. So, Santa does it anyway. Everyone loves Santa, and Santa loves everyone. Santarchy is your chance to be Santa, so step up and be jolly.”

View the Santas by clicking on the photo icons below. [gallery ids="101109,138586,138593,138600,138606,138613,138620,138626,138633,138640,138646,138578,138571,138564,138677,138520,138672,138528,138665,138536,138660,138543,138550,138556,138654" nav="thumbs"]

Capitol & Union Station Tree Lightings (photos)

December 13, 2012

The U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony took place on the West Front Lawn on Tuesday December 4. In 1964, House Speaker John W. McCormack suggested to J. George Stewart, Architect of the Capitol, that a Christmas tree be placed on the Capitol Grounds. The United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has provided the trees since 1970. This year’s tree is a 73-foot Engelmann Spruce from the White River National Forest, near Meeker, Colorado. The tree was decorated with thousands of ornaments handcrafted by the people of Colorado. The tree will be lit from nightfall until 11:00 PM each evening through December 26. The tree arrived and was erected on the Capitolg grounds on November 26 after completing a 5500 mile journey. The lead truck was piloted by former United States senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Ryan Shuster, a senior at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs, pushed the button to light the tree.

The Norwegian Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Union Station was also held on Tuesday, December 4th. True to tradition, the Royal Norwegian Embassy gave a Christmas tree to the people of Washington, D.C. as a symbol of friendship between the United States and Norway. It also expresses Norway’s gratitude for assistance received from the United States during and after World War II. The Children’s Chorus of Washington performed. Due to damage to the building from the August 2011 earthquake, Union Station is currently under construction and seasonal decorations are limited. The Norwegian Christmas tree could not be erected inside the station this year, so the lighting ceremony was held outside the West Hall, on the porch facing 1st Street by the west exit of the Union Station Metro station.

View our photos by clicking on the photo icons below. [gallery ids="137621,137538,137532,137526,137519,137512,137506,137499,137492,137486,137546,137554,137614,137607,137600,137594,137587,137580,137574,137567,137560,137478,137472,137464,137380,137372,137366,137628,137360,137633,137353,137638,137643,137388,137395,137458,137450,137444,137438,137430,137424,137416,137410,137402,101084" nav="thumbs"]

President Obama Speaks on Veterans Day at Arlington Cemetery (photos)

November 26, 2012

Fresh off of his election victory on Nov. 6, President Barack Obama opened his Veterans Day address at Arlington National Cemetery on Nov. 11 with these words. “Each year, on the 11th day of the 11th month, we pause –- as a nation, and as a people –- to pay tribute to you. To thank you. To honor you, the heroes, over the generations, who have served this country of ours with distinction.”

View our photos of this solemn event by clicking on the photo icons below. [gallery ids="101052,136779,136786,136793,136800,136806,136814,136822,136830,136838,136772,136766,136759,136871,136865,136859,136720,136852,136727,136734,136742,136752,136845" nav="thumbs"]