“No event in American history which was so improbable at the time has seemed so inevitable in retrospect as the American Revolution” -Joseph J. Ellis
As my family and I explored Washington D.C. trying to view all of the must-see landmarks, buildings, and monuments the thought above astounded me as I beheld the nation’s capitol. The United States of America was such a risk and an improbable one at that. Viewing the nation’s capitol with this perspective made things all the more astounding due to its improbability and success.
Before I go forth, I realize there are many negatives concerning our nation. And yes I realize most politicians are corrupt- the founders realized the place of power allows for corruption of man. And yes we are in so much debt. Yes we have become a nation that sustains the masses through welfare rather than raising citizens that are self-reliant and hard-working. BUT the fews days spent in Washington D.C. recently were a breath of fresh air. And that is to be thankful for.
Fortunately before embarking on the trip to D.C. I read Dr. Ben Carson’s explication of the Constitution A More Perfect Union as well as Joseph Ellis’s Founding Brothers. For me a visitation of Washington D.C. is an important and necessary trip rather than a fun one.
“The only thing new in the world is the history you do not know.” -President Truman
If citizens were to take a trip to D.C. once a year and education themselves on the ideals of the United States as well as its founding documents, voting and political conversations would change drastically.
Growing up I have been slightly more patriotic than the average joe but in recent years I would not say that I have been proud to be an American due to the argumentative nature of politics, uneducated statements made concerning politics, and my own eye-opening research about the corrupt facets of politicians. With all of that in mind reading Carson’s book, other historical literature, and the brief time spent in the capitol my heart towards the nation has yet again changed- to the positive.
For those who have not read A More Perfect Union Dr. Carson does a great job of placing responsibility in the hands of “we the people”. It is not just the politician’s problem, it is my problem and your problem. I’m going to disregard the idea that my voice does not matter. Because I believe with all of my heart that my concerned/interested voice is louder than my apathetic opinions.
As for the Capitol, we have much to be proud of.
Luckily, our nation’s historians have preserved our nation’s history and made it accessible and free to its citizens.
Beginning with the National Portrait Gallery…
(my pictures are biased based on our affections towards certain historical figures and not a representation of the historical content as a whole)
The Library of Congress was truly remarkable, unbelievable, and something to be proud of.
Not only is the Library of Congress an architectural masterpiece, it also displays the importance and liberty of education within the United States- in which we should be thankful.
All Smithsonian Institutions are beyond cool and preserve the good, the bad, and the ugly of the nation’s history.
Like the National Archives display of the founding documents, the Star Spangled Banner exhibit at the Smithsonian is dimly lit and no photography whatsoever is permitted. Which makes it cooler. Not only that but it increases reverence and importance and forces you to truly focus upon what you are viewing. The viewing of the flag with the words to the “Star Spangled Banner” behind it is chill-worthy. It demanded awe and thankfulness for freedom and scarifce.
On the note of preservation the National Archives is second to none. I am grateful that our founding documents have been taken precious care of and are accessible to the masses.
On a side note, I was so proud to wait in long lines to enter the Archives and wade through the masses at Memorials and Smithsonians. That means that “we the people” do care and are interested in our rich history and the preservation thereof.
I was pleased that “freedom isn’t free” was a theme in all tourist locations. And nothing portrays that clearer than Arlington Cemetery. Over 400,000 of those who sacrificed are buried in Arlington.
You can’t help but think of the family and friends that lost those that they dearly and passionately loved for the sake of the freedom that we enjoy and/or take advantage of. The stories that were told and the sacrifices made should inspire thankfulness and respect in our hearts and minds.
The graves of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Robert F. Kennedy were thought-provoking and thanksgiving-provoking. Alongside the men and women slain in order that America remain free are the leaders who gave of themselves in order that America preserve while also going forth.
The respect given at their graves was something to take pride in as well. As I silently viewed alongside many other visitors I thought of Jackie’s choice to have JFK buried in Arlington stating that “he belongs to the people”. That was sacrifice. Her husband was asassinated while serving the people of the United States. Shouldn’t we be grateful? I also thought of the passion and ideas that RFK put forth, and how his life was taken in pursuit of serving our nation.
The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier represents the tradition, discipline, courage, and support of the fallen. It was an honor to view.
Prior to the trip to D.C. I was unaware of how public the White House is. Of course you cannot just walk right in but it was in walking distance to the hotel that we occupied. Media portrays it in a way that makes it seem secluded. Or at least that was the impression I held. I was so surprised to know that we could walk up to the gate. But that makes sense. Founding beliefs decried far off governing.
Although the Capitol Building was under construction it was awesome to see locals taking jogs through the lawn and walkways of the Capitol!
Aside from the history and the infrastructure, we could not get over the locals and visitors! The most kind people on Earth! Seriously, from the Metro workers to the men and women working the desk at the hotel, to the taxi driver from Africa, and the other tourists that we waited in line with and tried to find our way on the Metro with. As soon as we landed back in Knoxville I realized we weren’t in Washington anymore because the widespread kindness and hospitality was no more.
Like stated earlier this was not a necessarily “fun” trip but it was so thought-provoking and important.
- We have so much to take pride in and be eternally thankful for. As a citizen I will participate in the freedom we have to exercise our role in government to the best of my ability because it is a costly commodity.
- I will be thankful for every moment of the past going-on eighteen years of my life because I have had the priceless gift of learning, growing, and developing in a free land.
- I will not rely on the media’s opinions to mold my views. On our way to the airport our native-african taxi driver was explaining his love of Egypt to us and the delight of the land, his advice was to never listen to the media because it portrays the muck and never the delight of Egypt. And that is so true for the United States. May I be eternally grateful for the good things and continue to create and draw forth the good-things that are to be had in the States.
P.S. Madame Tussauds
The content below is not educational but is so much fun. Madame Tussauds D.C. location may be my favorite thing ever. We had a blast to say the least (although sis was terrified)…
Ending with miscellaneous D.C. photos!