Reflections | My Family Travels

Semi Finalist 2010 Teen Travel Writing Scholarship
Whether it was the feeling of being overwhelmed or the opportunity to be pushed to my limits in a way that words couldn’t even begin to describe, whichever it may have been, it was very much alive as we took our final steps away from the comforts of the familiar and into the unknown.

Whether it was the feeling of being overwhelmed or the opportunity to be pushed to my limits in a way that words couldn’t even begin to describe, whichever it may have been, it was very much alive as we took our final steps away from the comforts of the familiar and into the unknown. A week, that’s all it took. A week at our nation’s capital spent amongst  the shadows of history, and in the light of their wisdom. Light, that softly touches each name carved into the marble which will forever hold the legacies of the heroic men who fought for things beyond their time.

From sleepless night to sleepless night we awoke to the gentle good morning of the sun as she so quietly nudged the each of us from our surprising slumber. Throughout the dorms peered the cries of future leaders of America pleading to the fiery star wishing that she may fall fast back asleep and allow them to run with their dreams once more. Only to find that in the break of day those cries would be replaced by gasps. Gasps, which were followed by long stares and faces of deep thought. Ninety-eight girls stood before the hundreds, thousands of those who gave their lives for that very moment. We stood there in awe, and pure shock. To stare at the fates of so many, and then find ourselves finding them staring straight back at us. Our own reflections that both startled us, and yet spoke more words than there were names on the Vietnam War Memorial Wall. 58,195 names. 58,195 reasons to be grateful, to be hopeful, and to be a patriot.  58,195 lives that fought for the moments that we were lucky enough to be alive to share together.

I had never been much of a patriot, no more than anyone else was at least. And then it happened.  We embarked on the journey of walking down what seemed to be far too long of a walk across the wall. Far too much sacrifice that none of us could begin to fathom. Why? And then it hit us – for us. For the future of America and the beauty that it represents. So that whatever innocent bystander walking by sees not only the magnitude of their sacrifice but understands it. So that they may bear witness to the feeling of awe, and the feeling of having your breath taken away from you. We savored it. We, the collective 98 dressed in red polo shirts picked up the torch of sacrifice that the past had lit, and we now carry it in our hearts. It lights the fire that drives our hearts to find something beyond ourselves, beyond our time. We, Girls Nation of 2010 walked away after a week of trials. Changed, hardened, enlightened, and forever proud to be an American.   

 

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