Thursday, March 30, 2023

Emily's 8th Grade Trip to Washington DC

Emily had the luck of being the first class to get to go on their 8th grade trip back to Washington DC since the year before Covid happened! My friend Kari and I went as chaperones and it was a jam-packed 40 hour trip. We traveled on 1 of the 6 busses for the school, with a group of girls, and I think we saw almost everything in DC in express form! The weather was cool in the mornings, but the afternoons were beautiful, and the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. It was definitely a trip full of fun memories, and I'm so thankful to have a daughter that ASKED me to be a part of it!

This was our bus group, and each chaperone had about 6 girls each to keep track of... 
That is NOT an easy task, for anyone who was wondering!

This is what our crazy busy schedule looked like for the two days:

Kari and I were a great team of super chaperones! We made it to every stop, made it back to the bus on time, only "lost" 2 kids for a short time (thank goodness I had everyone's cell phone numbers), slept less than 6 hours and walked over 13 miles in our 2 short days!

Our first stop was to the Holocaust Museum, which I had never been too, and it was absolutely amazing, and equally heartbreaking, to see these pieces of history first-hand.

My group of kids were so respectful, and even wanted to spend some quiet time in the memorial room, lighting a candle for the lives that were lost during this tragic time.

After a short time in the museum, we all met up with our (not-so-lovely, but SUPER knowledgeable) tour guide to board the bus and move onto the next location... We all made it back to the bus stop on time!

The American History & Natural History museums were SO crowded and super quick stops. The kids honestly just wanted to sit outside and have ice cream and go to the gift shop here, but we got a few exhibits in...

Walking along the tidal basin with all of the blooming cherry blossom trees was amazingly beautiful! And no one fell into the water, so I would call it a win!

The cherry blossoms surrounded our next stop which was the Martin Luther King memorial...

Our next destination was to see the Franklin D. Roosevelt monument, who was our only 4-term president, and I learned so much about how influential Eleanor was in his presidency. I will admit that even though our guide wasn't awesome with middle schoolers, and was a little tough at times, I learned a lot!

Emily tried to recreate a few poses from her last trip here, but we didn't get them all right... She has grown A LOT though!

The Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon 9/11 memorial finished out day 1 for us, and each was breathtaking! We couldn't wait to get back to the hotel though for some rest!

The Pentagon 9/11 Memorial was a garden full of benches that look like airplane wings. Depending on which way each is pointed, tells whether that person died on the plane that crashed or if they were in the Pentagon when the plane hit. It was a beautiful garden, and the kids were overwhelmed with the significance of the memorial. 

On the 40 minute bus ride to the hotel, the girls wanted to do some karaoke to lift their mood, so I used my phone and the bus microphone to play their song requests over the speakers... I think our bus driver, Mr. Larry, even enjoyed it! I can't believe anyone even had energy to sing along!

Morning 2 started bright and early with breakfast in the hotel at 6am, and surprisingly, ALL our girls made it to the bus on time to get on the road at 7:15am. We can't even make that happen on a regular school morning! I had some crazy bags under my eyes from exhaustion, but I was up and ready with all of them!

The morning was a bit chilly, and we explored the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Wall & the WWII Memorial. Unfortunately, the reflecting pool had been drained, but there was enough water collected to see the Washington Monument reflection...

I didn't know there was an etching in the ground on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King Jr. stood to give his "I Have a Dream" speech, and I didn't know it wasn't even his originally planned speech either! It was quite breathtaking standing in that very spot...

The Korean War Memorial had beautiful etched photographs from soldiers in the war.

Our tour guide explained the order in which the names on the Vietnam Wall were etched, and even introduced us to the stories of some people that died in the war from our hometown. It was very humbling to walk past all the names of men and women who have fought and died for our freedom...

The Lincoln Memorial has always been one of my favorite spots in DC...

Did you know that Lincoln's second inaugural address is etched into the wall, and there is a mistake in it that was attempted to be corrected?

In case you couldn't find it (we stood there for a LONG time looking)...

In the World War 2 Memorial, there is a wall with 4,048 gold stars on it, each representing 100 service members who gave their lives in this war.

After our outdoor tour, we headed into the African American Museum, and I had the BEST group of kids! The exhibit of African American history through the years was amazing, and they wanted to take it all in! They read everything they could, watched videos, looked at art and historical pieces, and I was so proud to be their chaperone!

Our next stops were back outside for a walk past the Capital Building, the Library of Congress & the Supreme Court. We didn't go in any of these this time, but we learned a lot of about their history, how to know if Congress is in session, and even some recent Supreme Court cases that were relevant to teens.

Our last stop of the trip was for a guided tour of Arlington National Cemetery. We went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, watched the changing of the guard ceremony, visited JFK's gravesite to see the Eternal Flame, and we learned a lot more history about this amazing place along the way. 

After Arlington, we got on the road for our 6 1/2 hour bus ride home to complete our 40 hour crash course of Washington DC. I truly enjoyed the beautiful buildings, museums & views (especially with the cherry blossoms), and the stories full of rich history we learned; but even more- I LOVED this special time with Emily! I'm so thankful she wanted me to join her and her friends on this trip, and I love each and every memory we made together along the way! I can't believe this girl is off to high school in the fall! 
You've got this, and I am SO proud of the beautiful person you are becoming!

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