Washington D.C. | My Family Travels
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Semi Finalist 2009 FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
I could hardly believe the sight as I first stepped into my room at the Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington D.C.

I could hardly believe the sight as I first stepped into my room at the Capitol Skyline Hotel in Washington D.C. As if I just stepped into the portico of a great mansion, the architecture of the Capitol inspired me so much I could scarcely catch my breath, but before I left Washington, I realized the real structure to be inspired by existed in a collection of sights and experiences created through years of planning and building the framework of our country in the D.C. area.

A group of thirty-five Methodist students and eight sponsors from Kansas made this journey to explore the niches of our nation’s capital. We drafted and improved a true appreciation of this country’s foundation by the time I left its borders. This group of forty-four Kansans split into smaller groups of six students and two sponsors, but toured together. This worked well because it gave us the spirit of assuming responsibility for each other in small groups while remaining a part of an even larger entity, just as states constitute smaller groups assembling into a larger unit named the United States.

While still on the drafting board of tours, our leaders made sure to provide new experiences like traveling on airplanes, double-decker busses and the Metro. These forms of transportation allowed us extra time to enjoy and learn from the tons of exploring memorials, museums, and buildings that make up the central hub of our country’s government, from the visual lessons of our history to the evidence of the planning on the Senate Floor.

The design of this tour lasted seven days in the D.C. area where we saw sights like the Capitol, White House, National Art Gallery, Ford’s Theatre, where Lincoln actually died, The Smithsonian, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Holocaust Museum, The National Mall, and Reflection Pool. We also visited our representatives’ offices, Georgetown, and Chinatown where we discovered cultures that exist in our country, but remain much different from our own in the Midwest. To add a special touch to this trip as molding adds a special dimension to rooms, we found the cherry blossoms in full bloom. These experiences provided me with an education that equaled that which an architect may only get from a combination of books, stealing ideas from other great architects, and apprenticeships with the greatest of architects.  

The pinnacle of our explorations placed me at Arlington Nation Cemetery. I found myself overwhelmed when the tour guide mentioned that they usually conduct 25 funerals a day! My high school contains barely over that number alone. My eyes began to wonder as they announced the passing of the Iraq and Afghanistan area. I suddenly realized that each of these markers represented a life given for my freedom. I didn’t know that individual, nor did that person know me, but each marker represented someone dedicated to keep a great country as strong as the walls of only the very best designed and constructed buildings.  

We spent our last moments in Washington D. C. rolling our bags up Capitol Hill before we left on the tram. I couldn’t help think of the correlation between the architecture of the buildings and monuments of this destination and the special and elaborate history and government structures of our country. The detail and awesome splendor of both became obviously apparent during the week I spent there. 

The design of this trip existed as an almost perfect structure, with a single minor flaw in traveling as a big group. I would gladly make a return trip to find further inspiration for my citizenship.

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