Final Day

Today is our last day of class, before our free day and our trip home. My clothes lay strewn about the floor, crumpled-up shirts are stuffed into my backpack, and my iPad has an unprecedented low battery level of just 4%. My mildly asthmatic cough has gotten increasingly worse, as the air here is still sub-par, even compared to New York’s pollution soup. I don’t feel an insane rush to go out and see things, though there are still things I need to see, such as the Vietnam Memorial, the American History Museum, and such. This is how I know I’m ready to return home. I’m highly satisfied with my trip here, it has been amazing and so much more than I thought it would be! Being able to meet with both Brian Lamb and Paula Kerger was an absolute privilege. In our last day, we’re able to meet with the American Press Institute, a meeting I am looking forward to. Yesterday, we visited the Arlington National Cemetery, which was awesome, in the most respectful form of the word. Thousands upon thousands of graves lie in rows; it’s almost inconceivable how many people are buried there, over 400,000 troops. We also watched the changing of the guard. This ceremony included three people, the guard, the new guard, and a “presenter” of sorts. Ritual chants and an exchange of weapons ends the ceremony, and the guarding of the tomb of the unknown solider continues. It’s amazing to think that has been going on non-stop for many years. I’ve seen photos online of the guards standing through hurricanes to protect the tomb. Bone-chilling dedication, if you ask me.

changing of the guard
This photo was taken by K.L. Markert (Photobucket) during a storm in 2012.

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  1. #1 by csoudani on January 27, 2015 - 6:58 am

    Arlington truly is if not the most, then among the most inspiring of places I went to on this trip. I had been there before, but this time I just couldn’t get over the weight of it all. I t kind of makes you want to go up to every person in uniform you know and give them a hug. Thanks for posting that photo too. Our experience with the changing of the guard was quite something, but we did not get to see it in truly trying conditions like that.

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