Finishing What Began in 1996

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Sixteen years ago, I went on an 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. It was a special four day trip that only students with clean records and good grades could attend, and was my first long trip without family. This trip took us touring the DC Metro and surrounding area to see all of the museums, monuments, and historical sites. It was a wonderful trip, and one that stands out in memory, especially for one detail. There was one thing I never saw on that trip, the Lincoln Memorial.

I was supposed to see it on the final day along with the White House, Smithsonian, and Washington monument. However, due to the White House tours being severely behind schedule and a gas leak that led to the evacuation and containment of the Smithsonian, there ended up being no time to see the memorial before our bus left for the airport.

Finally, 16 years later, I journeyed through a mile of heavy rain to see this last monument at Washington D.C. It is perhaps as wondrous as the Washington Monument and its reflecting pool. It’s a towering statue of the man that declared freedom for all people in this country within a massive building filled with natural light. Growing up in the bubble of suburbia, it was hard to really understand the impact of this man’s moment in time. Having come of age, and seen more of the world, I can be much more grateful for his bravery and the sacrifices made 150 years ago.

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