We started our second day in DC by taking the Metro to the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. After a 25 minute ride and short walk, we arrived at the memorial outside of the Pentagon. The memorial is composed of benches shaped like airplane wings with water flowing under each one, symbolizing reflection in remembrance of those who lost their lives both on the plane and in the Pentagon during the 9/11 attacks. The benches are placed in chronological order, with the first bench being dedicated to the youngest person, who was only 3 years old, and the last being dedicated to the oldest. At the memorial, we learned about the hijack and the actions that the passengers on the plane took to redirect the plane from the Capitol, preserving one of America’s sacred historic landmarks. While walking through the memorial, we had the opportunity to reflect on the past and to be grateful for the time we have in the present.
The theme of reflection and gratitude continued as we walked through Arlington Cemetery, following a short Metro ride from the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. At Arlington, we had the opportunity to watch the changing of the guard, and many of us were impressed by the guards as they precisely carried out the ceremony. Afterward, we walked up to the Arlington House, which we learned was owned by Robert E. Lee before he left to fight in the Civil War and the property was turned into a cemetery shortly after. We finished our time in the cemetery by visiting the eternal flame at John F. Kennedy, Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis, and their two childrens’ graves. The flame represents the Kennedys’ fight towards freedom and equality, and the everlasting effect of their work despite JFK’s early death. Being in the Arlington Cemetery allowed us to reflect on the importance of freedom in America and remember those who lost their lives fighting for the nation.
After finishing up our time of remembrance and contemplation, we headed to lunch at We the Pizza to fuel up before heading over to H Street. We took the Metro over to the National Portrait Gallery, filled with paintings, images and sculptures of important Americans and scenes of the American experience. It included paintings of important figures such as Alexander Hamilton and Lyndon B Johnson as well as interesting exhibits including scenes of couples from the Civil War Era. We also had time to reflect in the atrium, a beautiful space with some traditional Greek Architectural facade. We then had free time to explore areas around the museum, with people visiting the famous K Street as well as the White House!
We grabbed dinner around Capitol One Arena and then headed into the game! The fervor of the game against the Knicks ignited spirited taunts from the group as we argued about which team we favored. We were able to enjoy snacks and exciting plays as well as getting Kyle Kuzma bobble heads as some of the first fans in the door. Although the Wizards started off with a good lead, it was eventually lost, to our dismay, as the Knicks won out. We’re excited to to explore more of the city tomorrow and continue to reflect on the city’s importance within our national history!
-Priyanka and Ella