Day 3 - We officially began our exploration of what our nation's capital has to offer. We started our morning at Arlington National Cemetery. The weather was overcast, which cooled the air enough to make our time there very enjoyable. We visited JFK's grave and eternal flame, and we saw the house where Robert E. Lee once lived before he left during the civil war. After his departure, his rose garden was made a place for fallen civil war soldiers which was the start of this historic cemetery. We then went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to pay our respects by laying a wreath. Before we witnessed the changing of the guard or wreath-laying ceremony, we had the opportunity to ask questions of one of the guards and learned about the prestigious role these members of the army play at this cemetery. He talked about the history of the tomb and the requirements of the guard. After committing 22 pages of text to memory, they begin a position where they have to maintain composure no matter the weather or circumstances! It was incredibly impressive. Then we witnessed both ceremonies in complete silence, and four of our very own students- Rachel Kennedy, Tyler Roberts, Juntao Ren, and Gautham Rajan walking with the soldiers to lay the wreath at the base of the tomb. It was deeply moving.
Afterward, we went to Washington's home, Mount Vernon, to explore and learn more about our first president. We toured his house, traversed his grounds from the Potomac to the threshing barn to the gardens, and discovered artifacts at the interactive museum. We saw the room that Washington died in and the place where he is buried. There are still animals and a working farm on the grounds, so that was a source of great excitement as the students were able to greet sheep, goats, and cows. We hiked through the woods that Washington did and stood on the same piazza overlooking the same Potomac. It was amazing!
We ended the night with a meal in historic Alexandria, Virginia - many of us enjoying delicious crab cakes. On the way back to the hotel, we were able to visit a number of monuments in D.C. honoring the people who have served our country. We saw FDR, Jefferson, and Iwo Jima memorials by beautiful nightlight.
Looking forward to another adventure tomorrow!