To most people, Washington D.C. is a place of history; not the first destination that pop‘s into ones mind at the mention of the word vacation. At first, Washington D.C. didn’t appeal to me too much, but when I saw what it had to offer, it became one of my goals in life to go back one day and ultimately live there.
One of the reasons this trip is very special to me is because it was the first time my entire family had been able to travel together. Even though we are only a family of five, things tend to get a little expensive; which is why we loved Washington D.C….most attractions are free. Seeing the Rocky Balboa station at the museum of natural history would not have been the same without my dad: the only one in my family who has watched all the movies. Even though seeing R2-D2 wasn’t as exciting for the rest of my family, they still stood by while I took many nerdy pictures. We would not have been able to navigate our way around Washington D.C. without my older sister Tania. She had previously been to Washington D.C. with a leadership program and knew what was worth seeing since we only had about two days to explore. Our family (being the optimistic type) thought we could handle the city in two days, unfortunately our feet did not agree with our mentality. My younger sister Brenda managed to keep us going in the right direction as well. Whenever we had a second of doubt over navigation, she would say she had a feeling that we should go left or right. We listened thinking that if we got lost, at least we would be exploring a new part of the city. Thankfully, we never came across danger, my mom made sure of that. She was the one who encouraged us to keep going to another monument even though it was eight o’clock at night and our feet were yelling at us to stop.
Another reason I will always remember this trip is because I felt like I was at home when I was there. I have traveled to many places in my life. Even with the sunny beaches of Florida and California, the flashiness of New York and Nevada, and the calmness of Montana and Arizona, I have never wanted to stay in one place as much as I did with Washington D.C. I could have stayed atop the Washington monument forever. The Lincoln Memorial was so mesmerizing with its view of the Washington monument at sunset. Of course, I couldn’t help myself, I made my sister take a picture of me in a way that made me look like I could touch the tip of the Washington Monument. When you walk along side the Vietnam memorial wall, you don’t stay quiet just out of respect, you stay quiet because you feel like you are affected personally by the war. As I walked along the wall, I wished that I could have stayed there and read each and every one of the names. Going to Washington D.C. really installed a sense of patriotism in me. I had always said the pledge of allegiance in class, watched elections and heard speeches. After returning from Washington D.C., it made me think of all the sacrifices thousands of people had made so that I could have the right to be here today. Seeing the actual desk that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on made me realize that I should appreciate each and every day of my life as an American.
No only did I learn to appreciate my country’s history, I also learned to be grateful for my parents. Being a teenager, I thought parents were put on this earth to punish me and make my life miserable. The most important significance of this trip didn’t hit me until I got old enough to think for myself. Being the first person in my direct family to be born in the United States made me realize the trip was a milestone for my family. My mother went from sharing one bed with seven brothers and sisters and dreaming about color TV’s, to taking a picture with a life size cut out of President Bush in front of the White House. Being able to see that dreams do come true and that I was a result of that makes me proud of my heritage. It is kind of ironic how American history makes me appreciate my Mexican culture, full of parties and love. Before, I used to be furious when I would hear about politics and the audacity that some politicians had to pull what they were trying to pass. Now, I see that so much effort goes into keeping the fairness of my existence.
All in all, when I go to eat a tamale, I think of America. I have the best of both worlds and Washington D.C. has taught me more than I can ever learn from school. I have stood on the steps of the building on which the foundation of our country was built, and I will never forget it.
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