Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Westside Warriors go to Washington, D.C.

From left to right: me, Alli Q, and Eli E
(At the Memphis International Airport about to fly to the Dallas Love Field)

On Wednesday, January 18th, twenty-three students, teachers, and parent chaperones left their home in Arkansas to take part in one of our nation’s most famous events, the Inauguration. Everyone who went was required to meet at the school before 3:00 am so that we could take a bus to the Memphis International Airport. After hours of driving and flying, we finally made it to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshal Airport around 2:00 pm.

Shortly after we arrived in D.C., we set straight out for sightseeing. We first visited the Lincoln Memorial. At the Lincoln Memorial we saw a couple of protesters, and we even saw the Piano Guys performing. Next we headed for the Korean Veterans Memorial and then to the the Vietnam Memorial. We could even see the Washington Monument from a distance!

(View of the Lincoln Memorial from the outside)

(The Piano Guy’s screen promoting the celebration of Trump’s inauguration)

(From the left: Alli Q, Sam H, Brenya S, me, and Eli E at the Lincoln Memorial)

(Statues of soldiers at the Korean Veterans Memorial)

(Soldier statue at the Korean Veterans Memorial)

(“Freedom is not free” sign at the Korean Veterans Memorial)

(The Washington Monument from a distance)

After we visited the monuments, our tour group, which consisted of two other schools from Little Rock, headed to a small Italian restaurant. For the majority of the food we had on our trip, it looked really nice, but tasted horrible. They had a really nice salad though, despite everything else tasting like cardboard (sorry restaurant). After that we headed to our DoubleTree hotel. Everyone at the hotel was very nice, but the only bad thing is that the hotel was under renovation the whole time we were there.

(Flags at the Korean Veterans Memorial)

(Vietnam War Memorial at the Constitution Gardens. Names of soldiers who were killed in the Vietnam War or never found are listed on the memorial)

On Tuesday the 19th, our second day in Washington, we headed for the Washington Monument to get a closer look. After that we went shopping at a gas station gift shop. It was very different from our gas stations because it was underground. We then participated in the “Art of Advocacy” workshop where I gave a horrible speech about how microorganisms on Mars could lead to the invention of space cheese. Our next stop was the Smithsonian National Zoological Park so that we could see the pandas. After we went to the zoo we went to the Inaugural Gala at Foxchase Manor. There we saw a group of students from Texas perform their dance routine for the Inaugural parade.

(The amazing Alli Q poses next to a panda photo)

(Sam’s emu, who she named Eduardo)

(From the left, Mackenzie B, Andrew J, and Brenya S, featuring one of the many poor animals that Andrew had to ride)

(From the left, me, Sam H, Alli Q, and Dylan S at the Inaugural Gala)

(Dakota B waves as the dance team from Texas preforms)

After waking up at 3:00 in the morning on January 20th, we shortly headed off to get our spots for the Inauguration. More than 8 miles later, we arrived at our spots at 8:00. It was so cold at the Inauguration that we had to all wrap up in jackets to keep warm. We were a little over two football fields away from Trump, but we had screens and speakers so that we could see and hear. Without a doubt, you all had a better viewing seats than those of us that went on the trip.

(From back left forward, Dakota B, Eli E, Mr. Kelley, Dylan S, Alli Q, Mackenzie B, Coach Lawless, Me, Brenya S, Sam H, and Ronnie M on Andrew J’s shoulders waiting for the Inauguration to start)

(Mr. Grahm tries to persuade Westside students and teachers back at home to watch his Facebook livestream of the Inauguration)

The next day we departed for sightseeing at 8:00 am. We were supposed to go on a tour of the White House, but it wasn't accepting visitors that day because of security. Instead we went to Arlington Cemetery and got to see the Changing of the Guards. We also visited John F Kennedy’s grave and Eternal Flame. Afterwards we headed for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. We also visited the Jefferson Memorial. Around lunch we headed for the Air and Space Museum. Sadly we got caught up in the Women’s March for around two hours and couldn’t make it to any of the museums we planned on visiting.

(Headstones at Arlington Cemetery)
(Eternal Flame at JFK’s grave)

(Guard protecting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier)

(Statue at MLK Memorial)

(From the left, Ronnie M, Brenya S, Andrew J, Mackenzie B, Dylan S, and Sam H at the FDR Memorial)

(From the left, me, Eli E, and Andrew J at the Women’s March)

(A modern day Stephanie from LazyTown at the Women’s march)

Article by Brooke Peyton

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