D.C. | My Family Travels

Finally—freedom. No parents, no school. Friends would surround me always. 8th grade and we were on a bus, headed to San Francisco to take a red eye to Dulles. I would soon learn that a natural, staying-up-late high running around an airport combined with my first can of Monster is a terrible act of amalgamate. Extremely terrible. It wasn’t just the fact that I was completely awake, nor that I soon was burping continually, but that I was acting like one of my drunken uncles at a party: the one that is laughing with everyone, yet everyone is laughing at you. I couldn’t contain whatever ingredients they put in those Monster energy drinks; I slowly became tired and just laid down, but I still was so tired, and we haven’t even boarded the plane yet.

Our school trip included tours to most of the famous landmark: Outside the White House, The Lincoln Memorial, and The Thomas Jefferson Memorial, to name a few. At this point in my life, I didn’t know that much about war, especially not the current one in the Middle East, however when we walked toward the Vietnam memorial, and studied it the way it was designed to be seen, I had never realized how many soldiers died. As I walked past it, the wall became higher, and higher, and higher, then started to drop in length. So many lives were sacrificed, but for what, I questioned myself. This led me to question my nation, this great nation of people who just want a better life.

I began to question war; up to now, I’m not exactly sure what to think of it, though it was one of the moments that led to my decision to be a pacifist. Right after, our school group with our lovely tour guide—who I probably will never forget because of her choice of makeup—led us to the Lincoln Memorial. When we stood on the same ivory steps that Martin Luther King Jr. stood at while making his “I Have a Dream” speech, I had a strange feeling overcome me. I thought: I am standing exactly where he stood, on this same step where millions had witnessed a moment in time where the world became something different. Decades later and still and his speech is alive. I guess at this point I came to understand timelessness, the effects of history, and how some things can stand the test of time, and the ineffability in how one persons’ act can affect millions. I was in awe.

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