In the spring of 2009 I went on my first real “vacation”. Before that morning I had been more then five hours away from my home in Muskegon, Michigan. My whole life I had wanted a chance to explore a different part of the world I lived in and I was finally getting my chance. My plane left early on Easter morning from Grand Rapids, Michigan and we landed in D.C. a few hours later. When we first arrived we were taken to our hotel where we met with people from around the world. We broke up into groups with the new people we just met and started discussing the United States government. After our first discussion it was time for us to go to bed because the next morning, and every morning for the next week, we had to be up by six o’clock so we could start our day. The first place my group stopped was the Jefferson Memorial. The second I stepped on the bus I got butterflies. I thought “Am I really doing this”? At every stop we made I felt rushed, but I was learning so much. We spent ever free moment discussing what these monuments meant and why they were so important. The next stop was the memorial for Franklin D. Roosevelt. As I wandered through all these commemorative historical places I thought about all the great things that these people did to be forever remembered. The group I was with also had a chance to visit the Lincoln Memorial. I stood in the same place as Martin Luther King Jr. and walked the path as many of the Civil Rights supports. Not only did we spend our time search memorials but museums and libraries as well.
Our tour group stopped at the Smithsonian Museum of Air and Space, the Holocaust museum, the Newseum, and the Arlington National Cemetery. The Smithsonian was my least favorite stop but it still made me realize how much history one town could hold. Many of my companions cried at the Holocaust museum and I wasn’t far from it. One of my favorite stops was the Arlington National Cemetery. We had plenty of time to wander around. We witnessed the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldiers, see the memorial built for John F. Kennedy, and, the saddest part of the day, a casket being brought in with the body of soldier from Iraq. Although this was the saddest part of the trip, for me, I think it was the most intriguing. The tour group had so much time here that this is where I met people form our hotel that I never had a chance to talk to before. My favorite place that we stopped on the whole trip was the Library of Congress. The fact that one building could hold so much information and allow people to gain knowledge on any topic amazed me.
My trip however, came to an end to soon. One week after my arrival it was time to depart. I left feeling like I missed so much. Even though I felt like I missed a lot of that amazing place, it left me with a thirst for more. Maybe someday after paying of my college loans I will be able to realize that dream as a reality. Until then I will share this story of my travels with others in hopes of inspiring them to explore their world.
Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.