Etgar 36

Day 35: Washington DC

By Tyler Worobow:

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We started the day off strong by having a meeting with 2 speakers from the National Coalition for the Homeless. Both the speakers, Karen and John used to be homeless. They shared their stories with us and gave us a deeper look into what it is like to be homeless.

John was very successful early on in life but his life took a terrible turn when he got laid off because his company merged with another company. This was shortly followed by his house burning down. Karen became homeless because she became addicted to crack cocaine and was laid off from her job.
One of the most important take always that both of them conveyed to us was that you don’t always have to donate to someone who is homeless, but you should at least acknowledge their existence. This was something I had never thought about before and something I will definitely try to be conscious about in the future.
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After meeting with John and Karen we had a pizza lunch with them in a garden next to the house we met them in, which was really nice. Once we departed from the house we went to the National Archives Museum where we were able to see the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and The Bill of Rights. We walked around the museum for a little bit and then moved on to The National Museum of American of History. One of the coolest exhibits in the museum was a section where you were able to walk through different rooms and in each room was a different war all in chronological order. While all this was going on it had begun storming outside.

By Matthew Schwartz:
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Luckily, the storms cleared up in time for us to head outside to the FDR memorial. Many of us who have not been here were astonished at the incredible symbolism demonstrated through the usage of time, water, and statues. In terms of the time, each one of FDR’s terms was broken down into a section of the memorial that led into one final collective part. The first term’s portion included quotes in relation to the New Deal, which was one of FDR’s most important and powerful developments during an extremely tough time in American society. Alluding to the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority), a large waterfall was constructed, also in the first term section. The TVA established jobs for those particularly in rural areas in the southeast of the United States. One of the jobs was making a dam in order to power electricity to the surrounding areas. Lastly, the statue of FDR with a covering and his dog by his side portray the ignorance of society with handicap people during this time. All in all, this memorial showed respect for one of the strongest leaders in history.
Advancing in time, we went to the MLK memorial that is fairly new in comparison to the rest of D.C. monuments. The tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. entailed large granite-like mountains with him carved into one of them. At this point, he was overlooking the horizon or “Tidal Basin” expressing his desire for reform. Then, on two sides, there were walls with his quotes that grew until it peaked and then returned back down to ground level. This was a fantastic way to lead into our next stop: Lafayette Park and The White House.
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Today, Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States and the only African American to ever hold this spot. Coming from the memorial, this directly ties in with MLK’s desire for people of all denominations to be integrated and equal in society with access to the same opportunities. A portion of equality for many is having a black president, which Obama has completed. Seeing The White House connected the first week of this journey about Civil Rights to the end. Originally we learned about the fight to end segregation during the 1960s, however today, we stood in front of the most powerful building in the country, which houses the most powerful individual in the country, who is African American. While at The White House, we walked across the road to Lafayette Park, where we spoke with protestors, as well as Secret Service Agents who serve our country everyday doing treacherous and vital work. Following this eventful day, we headed to dinner on the way to our evening activity: Capitol Steps.
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Capitol Steps is a political satire show, which uses music and short skits to make a mockery of political issues. The show was outrageously funny, diving into issues about Trump’s wall, Hillary’s emails, Bill Clintons’s affair, and more. Overall, it was probably one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen!