Eight or more long hours sitting on the bus. The sun is setting faster, it seems, as you approach your long awaited destination. Just before you cross the Potomac River, you get your first look into the week ahead. Just through the trees, you can see the Pentagon; headquarters for the nations defense. As you cross the Potomac River, you look out to everything surrounding you. To your left nestled on the water is the Jefferson Memorial, fashioned for one of the most influential Presidents for establishing what is now the base for America. You see the Washington Monument towering over the city, and just in the distance is the epitome of the US Government and Washington DC as a whole; The White House. You have arrived in the city known as the capital of the United States! Full of history and knowledge dating back to 1709 and you have a week to explore as much as you can!
The next morning begins with a trip to the US Capitol Building; the meeting place of the United States Congress. You begin walking in to the House chamber, where each President hosts their State of the Union address. You look down from the second story balcony, and it’s as if you can almost see President Bush standing addressing the Senate. You move on through the tour and admire the beautiful artwork dispersed throughout, including the breathtaking displays within the Rotunda. You stand in the spots that have held national Presidential Inaugurations and the funeral of President Ronald Regan, truly a sight to be seen.
I spend the next few days experiencing the historical homes of former President Washington and Jefferson. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King stood years before; I can’t help but look over the reflecting pool, and wondering what he felt that historic day. One day is spent in silent admiration at the wonder of Arlington Cemetery. As I stand on the hill, looking at the John F. Kennedy quote engraved in stone, the sacrifice of the people lying in the cemetery is greatly appreciated. Even onto the changing of the guard ceremony, where no one utters the slightest sound, but watches intently as the guardsmen on duty perform their job.
One of the more moving monuments of the trip was a newer one to the city, the World War II Memorial. Fifty-six pillars encompass the outer ring of the monument, each representing a part of the United States. The memorial takes you through several iconic scenes of the war, until you end with the last. The last scene brings a close with the depiction of handshake between the American and Russian armies when the western and eastern fronts met in Germany.
The week was truly one to be remembered. Every American should take any opportunity to explore this city so rich in American history.
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