June 4, 2012
Franklin Middle School Washington, D. C. Trip
Wake up call at 6:00 a.m. pretty much alarmed everyone on the trip with the one hour time difference, but everyone was accounted for and ready for scrambled eggs and bacon. Have I ever mentioned how much I love bacon? Yummo!
At 8:00 a.m., we were off to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and it was amazing to see and experience. I remember 2 years ago, the memorial was not finalized and it was very interesting to walk through, experience and feel the honor that was needed. The kids really received their first taste of this great city with this Memorial and it set the stage for the FDR Memorial afterwards. What a great site as well, but also we were surprised at the land/property the memorial covered. Our tour guide, Diane, gave our group so much interesting information and ‘tidbits’ that we didn’t know and really made this tour memorable for the kids and for the chaperones.
We then left for the Dept. of Engraving and Printing. What an interesting concept for the kids to see the process of printing and distributing our American currency? I think some were in shock - Money doesn’t fall from the sky?:))
Our tour guide, Rosie, was pleasant and enjoyed all of the questions our kids asked regarding the making of the currency. We hope this gives the kids some knowledge and appreciation as to how hard their parents work to provide them with the currency they so cherish and love.
As we dined at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center cafes, the kids had a chance to visit and relax a bit. I can’t begin to tell you how many tour companies and/or tourists are there this week. We are blessed to have to such great weather so far and I think that has really helped tourism this week. I remember 2 years ago, it was sweltering.
On to the Holocaust Museum with the students and as Diane spoke with the group about our respect and our time to honor those who suffered and survived, the feeling in the bus was palpable. Students were so kind and thoughtful and as we entered the museum, we could all tell this was going to be a memorable experience for everyone. As we toured from the 4th floor down, students were able to watch powerful videos, read informative documents, and see photos of this horrendous time in our history. Everyone walked through the tour with a feeling of sadness, respect and ‘awe’. As we listened to recorded voices of those that survived and retold their stories, we were thankful for all that we have in our lives and for our families. Someone said, “that we hope to ‘never’ have to experience something like this in our lifetime every again”. If you ever have the chance to visit this museum, please block out 3-4 hours of your tour.
While exiting the Holocaust Museum, we noticed one helicopter in the sky and a man yelled at us and said to hurry, we were missing the President arriving at the White House. Sure enough, three helicopters were near the White House and one was hovering over the Rose Garden. Can we say we that we were able to see our President on this trip? Why not!?:)
Off to one of my favorite sites, the Lincoln Memorial. What is it about this figure of a man that is so regal, powerful and beautiful? Walking up the steps of this Memorial makes me feel as though I am walking into another time or another world. The students really enjoyed this tour of our hometown hero and everyone took a million pictures with our 16th President of the United States. Makes me proud to say that I live in Springfield, Illinois !!!
As we continued the tour of the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean Memorial and WW II Memorial, our guide was very informative and told our group very interesting stories of previous tours that she led with these historic sites. It seems that she always has a clever ‘nugget’ of information that even Mr. Zinnen, Mr. Knoepfle, and Mr. Strahle are surprised about while on tour. I like that!! Everyone knows how hard it is to stump Mr. Zinnen with regards to history.
Taking a break from our tour, it was dinner time and Mr. Knoepfle couldn’t wait. I don’t know how it is possible for one man to eat the food that he does, but to also eat it as ‘fast’ as he does, is a site in itself. Three plates of food and two desserts later, he needed one more sneaky snack, so he grabbed a small chocolate cone for the ride to our next destination. Did I mention I grabbed a cone with him:?) Too good to resist, I must say!
Finally, our night in Alexandria with our exciting Ghost Tour with Whitney, a young college student. As she told historical and haunting stories of our great world leaders and their lives, the students were really engaged and interested in the outcome. She gave a whole new meaning to pink lemonade and ‘hanging out’ with a suitor. Listening skills are so important and these kids did a great job with this tour.
We have had a few mishaps—misplaced wallet? lost cell phone charger? smashed cell phone? back pack left at security? someone a bit gassy? a lost filling? - but all in all, things are going well. Everything has been found and accounted for and we still have all of the kids checked and in their rooms ready for an eventful day tomorrow. (I think:)
I am very proud of these kids. They are kind and polite to everyone and they are really giving Diane a run for her money with the trivia questions and the answers. She has mentioned multiple times how nice it is to tour with smart students who know so much about history, algebra, grammar, science and how excited they are about learning new things. Isn’t that what life is all about?
Tomorrow morning, Arlington Cemetery! We have students Laying a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier representing Franklin Middle School and Springfield, Illinois. This event will be videotaped and posted as soon as possible.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. Go Falcons!!