Last week my family took our annual vacation. This year it was an educational trip to Washington D.C. It seemed so fitting to visit D.C. this year. First, being the new editor of the Independent Parties website I feel a need to soak in as much history and understanding of our country as I can.
As I have expressed before, I don’t want to just spill out facts and information. I want to express what is also in my heart. Taking in the sights greatly impacted the depths of my heart.
Second, it was fitting to take this trip because my oldest son will be taking an honors class for his junior year of high school in September. The name of the class is “American Government: We the People.” Thankfully he also happens to have a huge interest in our country’s history.
Luckily for me I also have a husband who enjoys history. Unfortunately my other son who is 11 years old and my 13-year-old daughter didn’t feel the same excitement as we did. However I trust that one day they will look back on this trip and feel grateful for the things they saw.
Now I really don’t want to bore you with the details of our vacation. I’m sure you have been there where you are suddenly forced to sit and watch slides of a family’s vacation or flip through a photo book with hundreds of pictures. If it wasn’t your vacation it is less interesting. However I do want to share some powerful experiences. Although you may have never been able to experience the same, you will hopefully be able to appreciate it.
This will be a two-part article with this week focusing on the things that are essential to this country. Next week I will share an article on some of the historical sites that we took in, for which all of us need to be appreciative of.
For the most part you were able to take pictures of anything in the museums. My favorite Smithsonian museum was the American History Museum. I enjoyed taking pictures of dresses that some of our first ladies wore, going all the way back to Martha Washington. It was incredible to take in the sights of those dresses.
However there was one display that you could not take a picture of. It was the flag created when the “Star Spangled Banner” was written. I will likely do a future article on the whole story surrounding that. It is a massive flag that is so fragile it can no longer be hung. It is contained in this huge glass display with dim lights.
What I found interesting is that going through all of the other displays there was a lot of noise. However when you stepped into this display, a collective silence fell over the people. In quiet awe people just stood and stared into the display case. I felt so touched by the fragility of this fabric, this piece of tapestry that to me symbolically meant a weaving together of our country’s freedoms and liberties.
It made me think about the American flag. Do we really honor the symbolism of it? Do we treasure that flag? Do we understand the significance behind it?
Another equally powerful experience I had was visiting the National Archives building. I cannot describe to you how it felt to see right there before my eyes the original Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution. Even my 11-year-old son who was mostly tolerating our trip couldn’t take his eyes off the Declaration of Independence….faded but beautiful.
That led to me buying a copy of the three on yellowed parchment paper that I still need to find frames for. There is something about those words that just captivates my heart and gives me such appreciation for living in this country.
I wonder…do Americans truly appreciate this country? Do we honor it like we should? Do we respect the citizens that live in this country? Do the words that are etched on those faded papers mean anything to us anymore? Or have they been forgotten? I won’t forget because they will be hanging on my walls.
For fear of boring you, I will stop here. Next week I will continue but meanwhile, I do hope that each one of us can gain a better understanding and appreciation for our country. However we need to pass it on. Don’t hold it to yourself. Teach and share with others.