Pat Conroy once said, ‘Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.’
My recent trip to Washington D.C. with my school group for a governmental studies program is an unforgettable experience. I had the opportunity to explore our nation’s capital and visit many astounding memorials that I only read about in textbooks. Not only did I learn the history of our country, but I also gained a new perspective on the world.
During my trip, I visited the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial. Standing in front of the large statues and reading the accomplishments inscribed on the walls, made me reflect on the legacies the former presidents left for our country. I gained a greater appreciation for the actions that the courageous men took to improve our nation.
Furthermore, I also spent time at the World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, and Korean War Memorial. The thousands of names engraved on the marble walls made me ask the question, ‘What is the price of freedom?’ Even though it started to rain, my friend and I visited the Arlington National Cemetery because we wanted to pay respect to her great grandfather. Unfortunately, after hours of searching, we were not able to find his gravestone because the place was enormous. We got lost, but eventually found the gates to exit the cemetery.
Seeing all the tombstones lined up in thousands of rows made me realize that war is not the answer and that there must be another way to solve conflicts. My teacher arranged for our school group to visit the famous White House and Capitol Hill. I got the opportunity to observe a senate committee hearing with many well-known politicians. In addition, I received a special tour around Capitol Hill before having lunch with congressman Pete Stark.
Throughout my trip, I discovered that teenagers have an important role in our country. I learned that I can voice out my opinions and influence the world. When I was standing on the exact location Martin Luther King Jr. gave his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, I felt empowered. I wanted to put an end to all the problems our world faces. I wanted to stop the conflicts and create peace in other nations.
While looking over the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, I realized that all it takes to make a difference in the world is action. I was inspired to speak out and encourage others to be involved in our country’s democratic process. I understand that inaction will only be detrimental to the future of our world.
My journey in Washington D.C. opened new doors for me. The possibilities are endless because I have gained a lot of insight on the world. Now, I have more aspirations in life and I am confident that I will be able to achieve them. I did not only learn about our country’s government, but I also learned a lot about myself. Everyone should visit Washington D.C. once in their lifetime because it will be a remarkable experience.
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