United States History has never been my favorite subject in high school. It was always one of those subjects that one has to take in order to graduate, but it was never something I ever saw myself doing for the rest of my life.That all began to change in 2005 when we took a family vacation to Washington, DC.
My mother had to attend a series of business meetings in the city. I guess she saw this as an opportunity to at least expose me to a glimpse of some of our nation’s history. I reluctantly agreed to go. This four day trip took place in the spring of 2005.
Our hotel was only about three blocks from the US Capitol building. Our first day of sightseeing took us on tours of the Capitol, the White House, and the US Mint, where all of our nation’s money is printed. The process was complicated, but fascinating.The next day, we wandered slowly through three of the Smithsonian museums.
My favorite was without a doubt, the Air and Space Museum. What had started out as something I was dreading was quickly becoming interesting. I found myself asking if we could possibly extend our stay a few more days.
Arlington National Cemetery was the most moving and touching part of our trip. This hallowed and sacred ground was so beautiful and peaceful. I’ll never forget the deafening sound of the silence at the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The crowed gathered seem to hold their breath, collectively. The slightest unnecessary noise would have somehow seemed disrespectful.
Another place that held special memories for me was our visit to Ford’s Theatre. This was where our sixteenth President, Abraham Lincoln, lost his life to an assassin’s bullet. The cool, musty smell of the theatre intrigued me. I was suddenly standing where a great man in our nation’s history had lived the final moments of his life. As much I hated to admit it, I was quickly becoming a history nut.
My older brother and I suddenly found ourselves quizzing each other on the sights we had seen. Now that I am a rising senior, I appreciate so much the sacrfices made by our forefathers. Their deeds made my freedom possible, and that freedom is something that I will never again take for granted.
I am seriously considering making history a part of my career path. Teaching others to appreciate our nation’s heritage is something I would be honored to do. While I am sure I will be a teacher in a junior high or high school, my major was undecided. Now, I look forward to college. I only hope I can turn one child’s dread of history into a deeper love of our nation.
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