|Thursday, February 21
Today we visited the White House and had a blast! The grand house was filled with gorgeous chandeliers and years of history. Inside there was intricate architecture, as well as sandstone on the outside that lasted through a fire during the War of 1812. We are so grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
We also visited the Holocaust Museum, which expanded our knowledge of genocide immensely. It made us realize how bad things really were during the Holocaust. Its prison-like stone walls created a sense of foreboding from the minute we arrived. From the rise of Hitler to the liberation of the Jewish people, the museum taught us the awfulness of and the consequences of committing such acts.
Next we went to two of the Smithsonian museums, which are free and open to the public. The Air and Space Museum was one of our very favorite places. The best part was the flight simulators. Even though it cost seven to eight dollars, it was very realistic and fun. It was fun because it actually felt like we were flying a real plane!
In the afternoon, we headed to the Capitol Building for an exclusive guided tour. We examined the architecture of the various rooms and the statues provided by each state. The oil painting in the center of the dome was breathtaking and the historical timeline around its bottom beautifully exemplified moments from Columbus' arrival to the end of the Civil War. In addition, we visited the original House of Representatives' chamber, where slavery was debated for many years. Going to the nation's Capitol building was an extremely memorable experience for all who attended and something we will never forget.
We ended the day with a nightime visit to the Lincoln Memorial. At its center is a very fascinating, well-made sculpture of Lincoln. It is made of nineteen different pieces of marble that are put together like a puzzle. It really captures the size of the impact that Lincoln had on our country.
-reported by Ali, Amanda, Sara, Charlie, Davis, Jon, Aaron, Jake T., Bobby, Abe and Nick
Wednesday, February 20
We started the day with a tour of the Supreme Court building. The Supreme Court library is packed with over 600,000 books that the justices refer to when researching cases and their decisions. The librarians are supposedly better at finding information than Google's search engine! Sitting in the main central area of the building is a large sculpture of John Marshall. It is said to be good luck for attorneys to rub his foot before a case. Overall, the Supreme Court building is beautiful and surprisingly only took five years to build!
We then entered the actual courtroom to hear the day's oral arguments. When we first entered the room and saw the nine powerful and influential justices, we were in awe. Each argument was not long, and the lawyers were constantly interrupted by questions from the justices. Some of the discussions were quite complicated and hard to follow. Despite these difficulties, it was an amazing experience, as seeing the Supreme Court in action is not an everyday occurrence.
Part of our adventure to the Supreme Court building included a special meeting with Chief Justice John Roberts. We had a question and answer session with him, where we were able to ask him about his life experiences and for his advice. Chief Justice Roberts enlightened us on all aspects of the Supreme Court and his role as a justice and, especially, as Chief Justice. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
We ended the day at Arlington Cemetery, where we learned that there are a shocking 400,000 citizens buried there. The cemetery is on 647 acres of land with beautiful panoramic views of D.C. It was extremely sentimental when we spent a moment of silence looking at Kennedy's grave. The changing of the guards was awesome to watch. Although it was cold walking around Arlington, it was an incredible experience.
-reported by Remi, Stella, Esra, Robbie, Dexter, Jake S., Raquel, Andrea, Caida, Will and Harrison L.
Tuesday, February 19
As we landed at Dulles Airport after a five hour flight from LAX, we were welcomed by a fresh winter chill. We boarded a tour bus that took us through the city, showcasing some of the most famous monuments and memorials of D.C. We ended up at Union Station, the main train station in Washington, for dinch (combination dinner/lunch).
At night, we took a tour of some memorials. First, we visited the Jefferson memorial, a building based on the Pantheon, which houses a bronze statue of Thomas Jefferson. We learned what the symbols around him meant. At the FDR memorial, we went backwards through time, seeing the hardships and triumphs in FDR's years in office. When we arrived at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, we made note of the symbolism the artist used in the depiction of King, and we all took pictures of our favorite King quotations.
-reported by Lucy, Olivia, Shierra, Harrison O., Finley and Josh