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Letter to the Editor
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D.C. trip enhances historical perspective

For the second time in a year, I flew to the East Coast. But instead of at the Big Apple, I arrived at a new destination: Washington, D.C. The purpose of the trip was not educational, like New York had been, but rather to attend a wedding with my family, Sept. 3-5.

Our trip began after school with a drive to San Jose, followed by an early morning flight to Phoenix. As this was my second plane trip, I expected it to be the same as the first. Sadly, however, there were no individual televisions like before, and I now sat by an unfamiliar passenger. I decided to try to sleep for most of the flight.

Unfortunately, I did not think about the fact that we were flying into a dangerous weather zone. The rough, six-hour flight created tension for all the passengers, making it impossible to complete any homework or catch some sleep.

Despite the weather, we arrived at the airport terminal in Maryland at around 11 p.m., and made our way to a small town for the night. Since no one else was out driving, the sound of crickets was the only noise present.

Although the wedding was the primary reason for our trip, it was scheduled at night, so we had the day open for touring in D.C.

As a fan of the television series “Bones,” I was eager to visit the show’s location at the Jeffersonian Museum. About four Google searches later, I realized that the museum is a fictional place. To my dismay, most of the show’s filming takes place in Los Angeles.

After this setback, Plan B was put into action: We chose to tour national monuments, such as the White House and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

We parked close to the White House, but saw it only through its iron fence. Secret service agents stood emotionless, reminding me of action movies.

On our map, the monuments looked close in proximity to each other, so we decided to walk to each building. Since the national landmarks could be seen from where we were standing, we assumed that the monuments had to be close. However, the apparent nearness was deceptive; by the end of the day, we had walked over four miles to and from national landmarks.

On the way back from our day of exercise, my experience became much more interesting. In order to return to the car, we passed by the White House again. But this time a group of protesters was gathered outside. They were complaining about BP and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

One woman had painted her face and clothes in black paint to represent the oil, and many protesters were upset with President Obama because they felt that he was not addressing the crisis effectively. It reminded me of protest scenes about the Vietnam War from Forrest Gump . I had never been involved in a protesting event before, so I jumped in and joined the crowd.

If we had not been running late for the wedding, I would have gone up and spoken into the open microphone. I knew exactly what I would tell them all. I would say that it is disrespectful to yell at Obama, even though he might be frustrating them. Although my impromptu speech would have begun on a positive note, I had no thoughts beyond this opening remark, and would have probably ended negatively.

I do not think I will ever be as committed as those people to argue and yell about every political issue I disagree with, but it was an experience to remember.

After this exciting day in America’s Capitol, we left for the family wedding. That day in D.C. was definitely a memorable experience, as I was able to learn more about our country’s history and differing political viewpoints. Now that nearly two months have passed since this trip, I appreciate how my family gained a greater sense of pride for our country.

For more experiences, read the Oct. 25 column, Dabbling in justice: A visit to the courthouse.

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    Michael OgdonMar 23, 2011 at 12:01 am

    The reading of “Dirty” was outstanding. I appreciated Mr. Bennett’s preparation and presentation of the unique perspective on the Christmas story.