It had been two years since I had been given the opportunity to take a vacation and adrenaline was rushing through my body as I boarded the plane that would take me to the city I had dreamt of for years.
The taxi driver took what must have been the most scenic route possible to our hotel, and I was literally shaking with excitement. The things I saw on the way into the city amazed me. These were the buildings where people I studied worked. This was the city where our nation was governed. This was Washington D.C.
The buildings, the documents, the people…all of it became a whirlwind of politics and history. It was a fusion that created bliss for a student who loved these subjects.
As I stood in front of the Declaration of Independence, crowded by an elderly couple and a group of hyper Elementary School children, I was amazed. I was speechless and for what felt like an eternity, unable to move. To think that men whose portraits hung in my bedroom had sat debating this document…it was breathtaking, mind-blowing, and life altering.
I was surprised when I experienced a great rush of pride and patriotism that came along with my visit to our nation’s most powerful city. As I looked up at the Washington Monument, at the fountains of the World War II Memorial, and at the endless rows of graves in Arlington National Cemetery, I knew that I was not going to come back as the same simple Oklahoman I had been when I left.
The trip was not just about entertainment, but about values, rights, and history. It was no amusement park and it certainly wasn’t California or Florida…But for me, it was the greatest experience possible.
Every morning, I rode the subways through the city towards another of our destinations. Although my feet probably would not agree with me, I am glad that we didn’t rent a car. I was able to walk past several interesting sights every morning, including the Embassy of Australia, right down the street from our hotel.
It was interesting to think about what was going on inside the buildings I came so close to. It was amazing to see the architecture, the art, and the natural beauty. As I passed many of the 172 Foreign Embassies in the city, I amused myself by thinking about the fact that I was walking only a few feet away from this or that nation. Several times, I ventured close enough so that I would be able to say that I had been to South Africa or Romania.
As my trip wound down, I knew that I would take a little of Washington home with me, in my heart, in my mind, and in the shopping bags I managed to fit inside my suitcases.
The city has certainly made it’s mark on me…and it has inspired me. I now hope someday, I will have a chance to make my mark on the city. Politics and The American Dream fascinate me now, more than ever.
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