By Hayden Payne
I spent three days of my spring break in Washington D.C., our nation’s capital. My grandmother had always promised to take me someday; her plan coincided with my mom and her partner’s business trip to D.C. Thus my ultimate trip began.
With four other siblings, I was used to vacations where the kids would drag the parents around to sight-see until the parents wore out and bought them ice cream. But, left to fend for myself by a sister and brothers with different spring break schedules, I was the one getting dragged around. Not to say that it wasn’t enjoyable. I tried new foods, went to my first business meeting, and babbled during every cab ride. I’m sure this irritated my companions, but any history geek would have done the same thing. Did you know George Washington did not support the idea of political parties?
Just in case you haven’t been to Washington D.C., I’ll list everything I saw: the National Gallery (both East and West wings), the Capitol building, the American History Museum, the Native American History Museum, the White House’s West Wing, the Air and Space Museum, and the Newseum. I enjoyed all of these visits, each worth seeing, but especially loved the extensive tour of the Capitol. My wonderful grandmother is to thank for that visit, which was practically the highlight of the trip. I also had quite a time in the American History Museum, where I saw the actual flag that inspired The Star-Spangled Banner. You could truly call me starstruck as I mouthed the words of our National Anthem to prove myself worthy. The National Gallery’s two wings lead to photos and high praise of the art. The Newseum pleased all our party and was graced with our presence twice.
Before I continue, I must mention the cherry blossom trees. My adult supervisors and I had come a few days short of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C., but we got to see the trees in full bloom, a spectacular sign of spring. The green grass and the cherry blossoms created a healthy picture of nature that added to my like of Washington even more.
Seeing each of the memorials in person was unforgettable. The Washington Monument provided a serene backdrop for the beautiful lights of the World War II Memorial. Having seen it before, I wouldn’t have been surprised that the Lincoln Memorial became my favorite. Yet it was getting off of our Memorials Tour bus, then filling with patriotic pride as I spotted Lincoln’s statue, that made that memorial the most memorable.
I did a lot of things when I went to Washington D.C. Along with the museums and monuments, I went to several restaurants that served great food. I discovered my bed at the Westin Hotel to be an excellent solution to sore feet. I acted as an assistant for those of my companions that required it. These were exciting experiences, as were viewing all the sites I saw.
One should visit Washington D.C. to look at all the awesome achievements of the American people. My trip gave me more than that, even. It gave me a new understanding for the principles the United States of America is built ; it also gave me the motivation to pursue interests in History and, hopefully through the United States Senate Page Program, one in Government. Excursions to Washington D.C. are a great idea for any family wanting an original experience. After all, what is a better greeting that a beautiful cherry blossom tree?
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