The day was beautiful, the sky was clear, and I was in the capital of America: Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C., was bubbling with activity. On the streets, important politicians rushed to meetings; museum workers walked to work; and tourists like me leisurely toured the area. It was remarkable to see my history textbooks come alive as I retraced the steps of influential men and women of our nation.
On my second evening in this magnificent city, my family and I decided to take a guided tour of the great monuments that surrounded the National Mall like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. We reached the designated spot to meet our tour guide: the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue. As I stood on the corner, cars honked impatiently from the delay of rush hour traffic. Above me, a helicopter circled low; I supposed he was inspecting traffic. Behind me, people of all ages were playing field games at the National Mall. Suddenly, the helicopter circled low over my head. Police officers appeared out of nowhere. They stationed their cars to impede the flow of traffic down Constitution Avenue. Being from a large city, I whipped around to look for a criminal running from police. As I was frantically surveying my situation and best route of escape, the police yelled, “Pedestrians stay where you are. Do not cross the street.” They hurriedly began to clear Constitution Avenue of all traffic. At this time I realized that I was probably not in any danger, so I stood back to observe the action unfolding around me.
Sirens were blaring everywhere and I was soon acutely aware of more sirens approaching. I went back into stealth mode preparing to run at the first sign of danger. Thinking a photo opportunity might follow with all the action, I pulled out my camera. I was excited, scared, frantic, and ready for whatever might be coming with the approaching sirens. Suddenly, more police whizzed by with black cars following close behind. This was not a police chase scene, but a normal occurrence in our nation’s great capital city. I was experiencing the escort of an important official. Two black limousines with American flags on the front rounded the corner. I had seen limousines like this enough in movies to know that the President of the United States was riding within. By this time the limousines were directly in front of me. I peered into the darkened windows. In the back seat of the second limousine was a man whose silhouette looked like President Obama. Wow! I snapped a quick picture as he whizzed by. More black cars zipped by. Then all was eerily quiet.
Standing in the hushed shock, I contemplated what I had just seen. A woman with a foreign accent broke the silence and asked, “Was that your President?” I responded, “Yes . . . I believe it was.” I looked at the picture I had taken. It certainly looked like President Obama. I definitely had seen more on this walking tour than I had anticipated. Not only did I see old historic monuments, but I also saw a living monument: President Obama. I learned that President Obama is not just someone on television, but he is a real man who lives in Washington, D.C., and has earned our nation’s respect. It was exciting to think I had shot a picture of President Obama. Then it hit me. I had shot, not with a gun, but with a camera, the President of the United States of America.
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