Semi Finalist 2009 FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Have you ever been somewhere and learned more in one day than you thought youâ€™d learn in a lifetime? Ever experienced something so vivid, so real you thought you could taste it? That was me a few summers back! Iâ€™ve been on several trips, from down South Georgia to West California.
Have you ever been somewhere and learned more in one day than you thought you’d learn in a lifetime? Ever experienced something so vivid, so real you thought you could taste it? That was me a few summers back! I’ve been on several trips, from down South Georgia to West California. Nothing could compare to the trip I took to Washington, DC. On my trip I visited various land marks and learned more in depth about the struggles of my ancestors and those who came before me. It was an experience of a lifetime, during which I learned more about myself and my country as a whole.
From the start, I wasn’t so sure about how I would like Baltimore, Maryland. As a matter of fact, for some time, I was under the impression that we were going to Washington, the State. Yes, I admit I did not know Washington DC was not in Washington. Go ahead, laugh, but I am sure I am not alone. Whatever preconceived ideas I may have had before I got to Baltimore, were gone once I reached the city. On the bus I toured what is called “Capital Hill”. This included the Capital, the White House, a Memorial for deceased soldiers, and the Abraham Lincoln Memorial.
My grandmother and I don’t like to sit back and watch history pass us by, so we decided we would rather be where the action was. I couldn’t think of a better person to share the experience with, who has lived some of this history. After all, a picture could possibly leave me guessing. With her assistance, I always had a reasonable explanation. Once we got off the bus, we headed straight to the place where the March on Washing took place back in `963. It did not mean as much to me then as it does to me now. Reminiscing back to that day, it’s hard to believe I actually walked in the path as did so many others before me, who paved the way for me to have rights and do the things I am able to do today. The feeling was overwhelming. Who would have predicted only a few short years later, people from all over, all backgrounds, and all races would stand together in unity to witness the inauguration of the very first African American President of the United States. Just being there taught me how far we have come and what hard work and determination can do.
In addition to the White House and the Capital, which by the way, was a sight to see, I also got to see the other side of Maryland. This part wasn’t all glitz and glamour. I was shocked to see that it was more to Maryland than the manicured lawns and the beautiful flowers that they show on TV. To my surprise, there were those living in poverty directly across the street from the White House. Though it was an unpleasing sight to behold, it taught me to be grateful. There is always someone worse off than you.
The last place we stopped at was called the Blacks in Wax Museum. There they displayed just that, influential African American figures, made of wax. Some of the scenery; was explicit and hard to watch. For instance, one exhibit was a woman whose child had been cut from her belly, her husband hanged next to her dead. It was shown to us how as part of a punishment people would lose body parts or be tarred & feathered. I thought I knew a lot before, but I obviously knew nothing. Even though some things were hard to look at, it gave me a new found respect for those who suffered before me.
In conclusion, I have visited many places and have experienced so many things while on vacation. I have been on trips, where I can’t say that I actually learned anything. I was on the beach and shopped. There were places that I have been too that have not been impactful to me at all. There have been trips that have just totally blown me away and this trip to Washington, DC did just that. I will never forget where I walked, what I witnessed, and how I felt to be a part of history.
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