August 16, 2016
This is my penultimate blog entry. With only one week left in Washington D.C. I have tried to make the most out of every opportunity. While my work last week was largely the same, with giving tours of the Capitol and logging correspondence for our office, events outside provided for some very interesting opportunities.
Last Wednesday I got to have dinner with one of my closest friends and probably the greatest friend that I have made at Cornell. He had just graduated from Cornell in the spring and I did not know when I would see him again, so it made sense to grab dinner with him at some point during the short time that he was in town. While we discussed things like our jobs and mutual friends, we also used the critical thinking skills that Cornell had taught us to utilize. We debated everything from the Libertarian political philosophy to whether or not a private citizen could infringe on an individual’s first amendment right to free speech, or if that could only be done by the government. Without Cornell we may have never learned to think in this fashion, especially when we had been out of school for three months and were planning on enjoying a relaxing night.
While it was great catching up with an old friend, I also had some more sights to see. On Saturday I traveled to the African-American Civil War Museum, This is a private museum that is dedicated to making sure that people remember not only the horror that was slavery in America, but also how many African-Americans came to fight for both sides during the Civil War. The museum had fascinating artifacts on display such as chains that were unfortunately used to shackle slaves together to replicas of uniforms so that we could get an idea of what the soldiers wore. Although I wish the museum could have been a bit bigger, it was very impressive considering the fact that the museum was run by private individuals and not a government entity.
On Sunday I met up for the final time with my old friends Kenny and Laurel. Since I had suggested outings so often, I wanted them to choose something for us to do. They decided that we should visit the Washington National Cathedral. This is one of the most beautiful and historic churches in America. This is the church where they held the memorial service for President Ronald Reagan as well as where they hold a special mass on each Presidential Inauguration. The church was breathtaking. The stained glass was some of the most beautiful I had ever seen while the limestone that made up the church walls was just so beautifully decorated. Being a lover of history, though, I also appreciated all of the history that was in this building. I was not only standing where President Woodrow Wilson was buried, but I was also standing where Helen Keller and Admiral of the Navy George Dewey (the only six bar Admiral in American history) were buried. These were all outstanding individuals, and it was very humbling to be near them.
I still have one last week in Washington D.C. and I hope that it is as great as all of the other ones that I have had.
Andrew is a politics major from Hickory Hills, Illinois.