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By Matt Tonis
After arriving in Boston late last night, I was extremely excited to watch NESN in the morning. Being back in Massachusetts is a great thrill for me because Boston is my favorite city in America, mostly because it’s my hometown.
The first thing we did in the morning was go to Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts. Walden Pond is where Henry David Thoreau lived during his life. While sitting in Walden Pond, we read and interpreted quotes from Thoreau. The scene surrounding us was quintessential New England. A pond surrounded by foliage and the sounds of animals all around us. It’s a scene that I’ve seen often, but never really stop to appreciate how beautiful it is.
After Walden Pond, we drove to Harvard Square for free time and lunch. I personally love Cambridge and it is very similar to other cities that we have been to, specifically Boulder and Berkeley. During this time, I got to see my family for the first time in about four weeks. This was great for me to be able to talk to my family about what I’ve been doing and what has been going on at home.
Once our free time was over, we made our way to meet with Steve Schnapp, representing United for a Fair Economy. Here, we were informed about their ideas to create a better and more just economic system for America. He used us to show how the top ten percent of our country owns seventy-three percent of the nation’s wealth. He also used volunteers to display the growth of people in each quartile in terms of wages over the past thirty years. These statistics were very powerful in that our economy is far from balanced, whether you think that is a good thing, like the Heritage Foundation or not, like the United for a Fair Economy.
We then walked through most of the Freedom Trail to go along with our theme of leadership. The sites we saw were the Park Street Church, where the first anti-slavery speech was, the Boston Common, the largest park in America, Granary Burial Ground, where famous people, such as Sam Adams and Benjamin Franklin’s parents tombstones are, the statue of Benjamin Franklin (he was born here, so he’s ours) next to the site of the first public school, which was Boston Latin High School, the Old Corner Bookstore, where authors like Emerson and Thoreau had their works sold, the Old South Meeting House, where the Sons of Liberty had many meetings, the site of the Boston Massacre, and finally ended up in Faneuil Hall. Once in Faneuil Hall, we went through the Holocaust Memorial that was constructed there. The memorial is six glass pillars with smoke coming through each of them. On the glass, there are numbers representing each person who died in a Concentration Camp. On the ground, there are facts about the Holocaust and there are quotes about the events on the inside of the pillars.
For dinner, we got free time in Faneuil Hall. In my opinion, there is only one place to go if you don’t want to go where everybody knows your name (its not the real one), and that’s the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in America at 185 years old. A group of us went there for a fantastic dinner of either lobster, filet, or some delicious New England Clam Chowdah! Even though the rain came down hard at night, nothing could ruin a trip back home. This is especially true when a trip to Mike’s Pastry in the North End is involved. Mike’s is the greatest bakery in America and there is no more Boston meal than chowder from Union Oyster House and a cannoli from Mike’s, unless you grab a Fenway Frank with it.
As the night went longer and longer and the Red Sox descended deeper into extra innings I realized how lucky I am to live in such a great state and how fortunate I am to be involved in such a great trip and be with such an amazing group of people.