Our final day in Washington DC began at 8:00, we met in the lobby to discuss the details for the day and the travel back home. We all felt as if the trip had gone by way too fast. We left the hotel to go to the Metro to Arlington National Cemetery. We walked by the gravesites of citizens and soldiers alike, from one section to the next.
We came upon the tombs of the Kennedy Family at the top of a hill, with John F Kennedy, his wife, and his two children who passed away at a very young age at the very top. Their gravesite had a marble terrace underneath the top of the hill where they are buried. A small flame burned behind their tombstones. The group continued along past more graves and blooming cherry trees, until we came to an open marble amphitheater, where one could sit peacefully or have religious services.
Behind the amphitheater, we saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a monument honoring the unidentified soldiers who had been killed in action. On it, it says it is honoring the soldier "known but to god." The guard standing there was dressed in full military uniform and was holding a gun. He made a ritual walk back and forth in front of the monument, stopping at either side to turn around and switch the shoulder his gun lay on. We also witnessed the ritual where the guards changed, where two other personnel came and handed off the responsibility. They also performed another ritual where the wreath in front of the tomb was changed out for a new one, dedicated by a different group. The whole event was very solemn; the entire audience was silent the whole time.
With our time running out, we made our way back to the Metro, at first silently. We came back to the hotel to pick up our luggage, the took the Metro on the way to the airport. It was time to say goodbye to our nation's capital.
After a fairly busy day of sightseeing and travel, we made it back to Minneapolis.
On our trip we had an amazing and unique experience that one could only find in such a special city. From the tour of the monuments and the tour of the Pentagon we were able to see many exciting and historical places. Having the opportunity to visit the Newseum and the Holocaust Museum, were engaging and eye-opening. From seeing the Renwick Gallery, to handing out supplies to the homeless, we learned how to give back. We've managed to do so much in the past few days, we are excited to be able to share all of our stories with our families. We feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. with HMJDS before we graduate!