We started our day off today with some free time allotted for us to find brunch. Some people headed to the Eastern Market, others went to nearby cafés, and yet others simply had breakfast at the hotel and relaxed until it was time to head out. At 12:15, the whole group met up at the Washington Monument, and after a short wait we were granted access to the top floor. From there we got to see some incredible views (shown in two of the photographs below), as well as explore a small ‘museum’ starring George Washington. On the way back down, the clear walls of the elevator allowed us to witness the timeline of construction of the monument via the age of the building materials used. From the Washington Monument, we walked a short distance to the World War II memorial, the first of five memorials that we would visit over the course of the afternoon. The knowledge of just how many people have died fighting in wars for our country is pretty heavy, and to be honest I don’t think I can do these beautiful yet saddening memorials justice with words. We walked the long way from the WWII memorial towards the Korean, Vietnam, and Lincoln memorials, where we split up into smaller groups to explore. Eventually we all met up on the steps of Lincoln (which is really impressive to see in person, by the way – the sheer size of it is amazing), took some group photos facing towards the Washington Monument, and started the journey to the last memorial of the day. The MLK memorial is another one that’s really impressive. It’s meant to represent one of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous quotes: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” and consists of a granite ‘mountain’ with a piece taken out of it and carved into a likeness of MLK.
After our tour of the national monuments and memorials, we headed back to our hotel on our own time, where we relaxed for a bit and prepared for tonight’s special event. We went out to dinner at Circa (which had some really good bread pudding), then took the bus to the Kennedy Center, where we saw Wicked. It’s a great show, and if you haven’t seen it, I very much recommend that you take the time to. The special effects are really cool, and the song “Defying Gravity” is very moving to watch in person. It’s an awesome retelling of an old classic.
Finally, at a little after 10 our group returned to the hotel via subway to rest. Only one day left in D.C. before we leave. It’s been an amazing trip so far!
-Natalie and Noelle