Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day At Our Nation's Capital

Many people can look at our daily itinerary and see that our 4th of July is full of relaxation compared to our busy college tour schedules. While it was quite an adventurous day, full of new sights and information, it was quite tiring and not quite relaxing. We kicked off our day with another continental breakfast, then took a bus ride to explore the monuments and tourist spots at Washington D.C.

Unfortunately, the blazing heat hit us right from the start of our day. Regardless, we took many photos to capture this wonderful opportunity of spending Independence Day in our nation's capital. From monuments to the White House, we made sure we documented this rare trip with our lovely cameras. It was my first time to see everything, and I enjoyed how beautiful everything looked.

The Washington Monument!
The White House!

We then decided to watch a snippet of the 4th of July parade near the National Mall. I was amazed to see the many marching bands that participated. Being the upcoming drum major of my school’s marching band, I paid close attention to the different bands. Some were very large, some played very well, some had different marching formations, and one band was just a little off step. Even though my band may not be able to participate in a parade like this, it gave me a little push to improve it. I commend the marching bands for playing in such hot weather, and thankfully there were adults squiggling around the band, squirting water into mouths that were dehydrated.

After a brief parade watch, we took a walk to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. I was really thankful when we entered buildings because they were very well air-conditioned. I was touched as I walked through the Daniel’s Story exhibit. It was a story about a young Jew, who experienced the oppression of genocide, but amazingly survived the concentration camps. I walked through a replica of his home and read his diary entries. Overall, I was saddened by how much torture Jews experienced, but enlightened by the fact that although it has passed, people are working now to prevent genocide.The Holocaust Museum provides an opportunity for people to help those who are affected by racial persecution by educating them on the issues and problems of genocide.Its efforts to change the world are touching and inspiring. The experience was very overwhelming as a lot of information was to be taken in regarding the Holocaust. You could spend a whole day at the museum just looking and reading everything, and boy would you be astounded to see the real bunk beds used in concentration camps, and the shoes that were worn by the Jews.

With much more to see on a full stomach from lunch, we then walked to the Air and Space Museum, just one of the many sections of the Smithsonian Museum. I enjoyed seeing the many planes hanging from the ceiling, especially the very first airplane built by the Wright Brothers. I couldn’t believe it was really the actual plane! Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today! We also watched a show called Journey of the Stars in the planetarium. Because I don’t think I will ever become an astronaut, this experience was the closest I will ever get to the stars. It was very beautiful, and it felt like I was actually spinning in the galaxy.

The Wright Brothers plane!
Out of the past three days we have been traveling, this was definitely the hottest. I was sweating like crazy and it was not fun at all. We took a long walk to the National Mall through the crowded festival, and ended up sitting in front of the Washington Monument to get a good view of the fireworks.

As we sat, relaxing on the grass, I taught my cohort the word game called Contact. At first it took them a couple of tries to understand the game, but by the end even our chaperone Mr. Mannix joined in. We had some good laughs and had an expanded vocabulary word bank.  

The day ended with a brilliant fireworks show. The entire National Mall was completely filled with people, and of course it was the best fireworks show I have seen. We had a great view with the fireworks being right above us. It covered a large part of the sky, and the finale was a beautiful sight of continuous pops and booms. Amidst the large crowd we managed to arrive safely back at our hotel. We each ended our night with a nice cold shower and freshly baked pizza. I’m exhausted, but excited for  the college tour of Georgetown University tomorrow!


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