2024 Senior Trip to Washington D.C. – Day Two

Great Hearts Academies March 5, 2024

It is Senior Trip time at Great Hearts where seniors throughout our academies have the opportunity to visit our nation’s capital and see the historical places and context for so many of their discussions regarding human nature, freedom, liberty, justice, and many other ideals and virtues.

“[This trip is] living out the love of community and conversation- students share this experience together. The focus is not simply for a personal experience connected to history or travel, but a communal experience has been one of sharing time, energy, food, and conversation. This trip means nothing apart from community and friendship,” explained Kyle Navarrette, Headmaster at Glendale Prep.

Follow one senior, Jackie Wang, as she gives us a daily peek at some of the amazing sites they will experience this week through her eyes and in her own words.

Senior blogger for senior trip to Washington DC
Monday, March 4th
Written by Jackie Wang, Great Hearts Senior

Cherry blossom trees in Washington DC

We started the day in the McPhearson Square Metrorail Station. Today was the Tour de Memorials. Fittingly, our first was the Washington Monument. The tribute to the first president is an obelisk, mirroring the architectural features found in ancient Egypt. The Washington Monument is a nod to the greatness of ancient civilizations and intended to be a beacon for the future of the country.

The Washington Monument

From there, we walked to the World War II Memorial. It has three main features: two rectangular, open-air structures on opposite ends, and a pool centered in the middle of columns symbolizing the states and territories of the union at the time of the war. The rectangular structures represent the Pacific and Atlantic theaters and the sacrifice and diligence on all fronts for the cause of freedom.

After that, small groups walked the tree-lined pathways on either side of the mirroring pool towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The focus of our time there was the statue of three soldiers in accurate combat uniform. Their gaze is directed towards the wall of lost soldiers. It expresses both their horror for their comrades, and a firm dedication to liberty.

Vietnam War Veterans Memorial

After a short walk up the stairs to the Lincoln Memorial, we saw a marble statue of Abraham Lincoln looking pensively across the mirroring pool to the Washington Monument. He is seated on a throne with fasciae resting under his arms, reminiscent of Greek and Roman mythology and customs. The fasciae are an ancient sign of power, Lincoln rests on this symbol. His second inaugural address is carved into the walls, and the roof with the states etched into the stone rests upon the columns.

The Lincoln Monument

Next was the Korean War Veterans Memorial. It featured a wall with faces of soldiers engraved into the black granite. Statues of scattered soldiers move through the manicured grass. Their faces convey a sense of resolve and fear. There is also a fountain which was turned off for the winter and spring months.

An eagle crest

A short walk led us to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. It is modeled after a quote from his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. There are two massive stones with a passageway in the middle. Walking through the passage led us to a separate giant piece of marble with King’s likeness carved into the front of it. He holds a rolled-up speech and looks past the Jefferson Memorial. On the side, the inscription: “…out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” This quote was the battle cry of his cause in its purest form. He fought for racial equality in an unconventional way: through peaceful protest. His efforts are beautifully commemorated in the care dedicated to his memorial.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Afterwards we saw the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial which gave our longest serving president the credit he deserved. FDR serves as an inspiration to people who have disabilities, given the fact that he had polio and relied on wheelchairs and crutches to move throughout his life. Nevertheless, he was not defined by his condition, which is reflected in his service to the country during the Great Depression and World War I. It also featured a statue of his wife Eleanor, who was active on the political stage.

The last monument was the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. Its architecture is reminiscent of his home, Monticello. With a circular structure, marble columns, and a large dome, Jefferson stands in the middle, surrounded by his own words. The walls contain excerpts from the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson’s work as a founding father is greatly celebrated by his memorial.

The Jefferson Memorial

We found lunch around our next museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Once we finished eating, we entered the museum. It was full of artifacts and exhibitions. It emphasized the power of the spirit, especially the spirit of slaves and early African Americans in our country. It was a testament that although a people can be subjugated, the human spirit binds us all together. Both rich and terrifying history were displayed candidly. The museum was beautifully curated and celebrated the power of the spirit.

The Smithsonian Castle

After that, students had free time to explore, and at seven o’clock everyone met for a delicious dinner at Mazi. It was a time to converse and bond with our classmates and enjoy a meal together. Looking forward to tomorrow!

The Capitol Building

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