An American Adventure | My Family Travels
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Quarter Finalist 2010 FTF Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
The summer of 2010 changed my life. I was given the honor of joining the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour on a week-long trip to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Besides frizzy hair and toned calf muscles from walking everywhere, Washington D.C. gave me the opportunity to dig deeper into the history of the United States of America, tour popular sites, and overall, heighten my American patriotism.

The summer of 2010 changed my life. I was given the honor of joining the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour on a week-long trip to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Besides frizzy hair and toned calf muscles from walking everywhere, Washington D.C. gave me the opportunity to dig deeper into the history of the United States of America, tour popular sites, and overall, heighten my American patriotism.

     Twenty two students from across Colorado joined at the Colorado Rural Electric Association building in Denver where I found myself heading off to the airport, boarding a plane for the first time in my life, and after a few long hours of trying to beat the Sudoku game on a friendly passenger’s IPod, landing in D.C. Our first visit, after we dropped our belongings off at the Hilton Crystal City Hotel, was Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington. From there, we saw the Air Force Memorial where I had the pleasure of personally meeting a group of elderly veterans who had served in multiple wars. To be able to shake the hand of someone who has fought for my freedom was a genuinely amazing experience. Our group continued to tour the Kennedy Center, Iwo Jima Memorial, and the WWll Memorial. We learned that the design for the WWll Memorial was actually a competition won by architect, Friedrich St. Florian. The memorial consists of a pillar for each state organized in a circular fashion, representing the unity of our country.
     My group also had the experience to view the Smithsonian Museums of art and history, Holocaust Museum, Lincoln Memorial, Roosevelt Memorial, Library of Congress, and the Jefferson Memorial. We learned that the Jefferson Memorial caused quite a dispute among citizens because its construction would mean the destruction of many of D.C.’s beloved Japanese flowered cherry trees. Despite public concern, however, the memorial was built.
     I found our trip to Ford’s Theatre particularly interesting for the fact that I was able to see the exact spot in which President Lincoln sat where he was assassinated .It was intriguing to learn that there are suspicious similarities between the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. For instance, both were shot in the back of their heads, on a Friday, in front of their wives. It was very thought provoking and soon after, we saw the house across the street where Lincoln actually passed away.
     The last sites we saw were the Washington Monument, Vietnam Memorial, and Arlington Cemetary. The Vietnam Memorial was heart-wrenching. At first glance, it’s just a wall filled with text, but it’s so much more than that. All of those letters on that wall spell out names, the names of brave soldiers who died in the Vietnam War. There’s a book of all the names in alphabetical order for viewers to find family members who were involved in the war. In that book, I found a man, Robert Michael Fullmer, who was most likely related to me so that was exceptionally fascinating to see.
     The trip with Electric Cooperative Youth Tour opened my eyes to more of our country and made me more proud to be an American.  It made me realize that every single day people across the country, including myself, take freedom, justice, success and equality for granted. After having learned how many people have made progress in, had faith in, fought for, and died for this country, I will never make the mistake of taking such things for granted ever again.
 

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