Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Home of liberty, town of independence, and city of brotherly love. Not my idea of a fun trip, especially when it is with the school marching band. Two years before, the band got to go to New York City to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and be on television! Due to lack of funding, we were stuck with going on an “educational” trip.
We arrived at our hotel by charter bus with our first sight being the crazy-looking tour guide, Martha. This, so far, was definitely not turning out to be an exciting trip. My friends and I stayed positive, though. We even tried to make fun out of the United States Mint where most of our coins are still made today and we really enjoyed the gift shop (the best thing about the Mint). It wasn’t that bad, because I was there with all of my friends, and sometimes when you are with good company, even the most boring things take on a different light.
Later, we toured Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. These were actually pretty cool places and our tour guide, Martha, managed not to bore us to death. I was expecting the Liberty Bell to be this huge, grand, spectacle, but in fact, it is just a normal looking bell with a crack. When you imagine these things while reading textbooks it is completely different than when seeing it in real life. So, the first day was a lot more fun and exciting than I expected. We returned to the hotel and went swimming in the pool.
The next day we went on the Philadelphia Duck Tour. This sounded pretty strange. I can see ducks at home. What makes these Philadelphia ducks so special that they are main attractions? To my surprise, this tour had absolutely nothing to do with ducks. We arrived on site to board this boat looking car contraption, where they handed everyone in our group these duck bill shaped duck calls. These were very annoying and we got a lot of laughs making so much noise. No one particularly paid attention (how could they?) to the historical sites that were pointed out to us, but we did see the house of Betsy Ross, where she sewed the American Flag. Ironically there was an article in the paper the following morning about the noise from the Duck Tours being a public nuisance.
Last stop, USS Battleship, New Jersey. This was awesome because I’d never seen a real battleship before up close, let alone never imagined being aboard one. Our band performed a concert on the battleship’s helicopter landing pad for the public and my uncle, who is a Coast Guard officer, even made a surprise visit with my little cousins. On the ship, we got to see where the sailors slept, and even got to climb inside the barrel of a cannon.
Overall, this trip turned out to be amazing. Although arriving with doubt, I left with a feeling of appreciation that it is not where you go, it’s the company you are with that matters. Although the trip was educational, our band developed a real sense of brotherly love and we still talk about this trip today.
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