I’ve done a fair bit of traveling in my short 26 years of life, but I’ve never been anywhere quite like Washington, D.C. It was at once beautiful, the National Mall lined with trees and filled with green grass, and at the same time it was like being in the middle of a construction zone. Looking one way I could see the Washington Monument, a solemn finger pointing to the sky, but looking in the opposite direction all I could see were big metal bins blocking an incomplete view of the Capitol, whose dome was covered with scaffolding. It was an odd experience.
Directly behind this view of the Washington Monument was the Lincoln Memorial, which I must say didn’t disappoint. It was, however, shockingly larger than I thought it would be. I don’t know why, but I thought it would be ten or twelve feet high, but it was so much bigger. For some reason, I felt this amazing connection to the Lincoln Memorial, the memory of a president forever frozen. The Lincoln Memorial was like the calm before the storm, before all the war memorials would bring tears to my eyes.
Two other sights that really captivated me were the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial. In both, it was the faces that held my attention. In the Vietnam War Memorial, there is a walkway with the names of the soldiers, but what captivated me most was the statue of the three soldiers some distance away looking at the memorial.
The silent soldiers of the Korean War Memorial, their faces forever frozen, looking at once determined and utterly lost. They march forward, the juniper bushes and marble lines the only thing blocking their path. Every face told a different story.
This trip was beautiful and left me contemplating what it means to be a part of this great country. I can’t wait to go back, because there was so much that I didn’t see, so many things that I missed.