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Facing History Class Travels to Washington, DC


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Once again the Facing History class traveled to Washington, D.C.  One change we made this year was we traveled to Kansas City the night before our 5:50 am flight which allowed everyone to be more rested for our two full days.  Upon landing in Washington, D.C., we traveled by metro train (subway) to our hotel to drop off our luggage.  Many of us learned that we need to either sit down on the Metro or at least hold on if we are going to stand.  Alexis Theis became the victim of a sandwich when a few lost their balance.  After a quick bite to eat we were off to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

After clearing security at the Museum, the students had two and a half hours to view the many exhibits.  They were able to see Daniel's Story, which is set up as if you are entering Daniel's house and it walks you through his life in the ghetto and his deportation.  They also viewed the Some Were Neighbors exhibit. This exhibit showed how millions of ordinary people witnessed the crimes of the Holocaust- in the countryside and city squares, in stores and schools, in homes and workplaces.  Across Europe, the Nazis found countless willing helpers willing helpers who collaborated or were complicit in their crimes. Students had substantial time in the permanent exhibit.  Many of the students commented on seeing an actual railroad car used during the Holocaust and were able to actually walk through it.  They saw actual bunks from Auschwitz, mounds of shoes taken from victims, and pictures from an entire shetl in Europe who perished as a result of the Holocaust.  The highlight of the day was having Halina Peabody speak to just our class.  Halina was living in Krakow, Poland and was seven years old when the war broke out.  Her father was sent to a gulag in Russia so it was just her, her mother, and young sister left to survive on their own.  They changed their names and lived in hiding as Catholics during the war, escaping many horrific experiences.  

We then bundled up and took a walking tour of all of the monuments.  We saw the Washington Monument, the World War II Memorial, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Korean Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial.  After a long day and two and a half hour walk in brisk weather, everyone was ready to head to Pentagon City to relax and enjoy an evening meal. 

Friday morning was an early start!  We were ready for the day and in Starbucks at 6:00 am.  After a quick breakfast, we were off to Arlington National Cemetary for the 8:00 am Changing of the Guard ceremony.  Unfortunately, they don't open the gates for the 8:00 am ceremony, so we then had to wait for the 9:00 am ceremony.  We visited with one of the Arlington Ladies (ladies that attend funerals for family members that can't make it) and she told us there is a 10 month waiting period to be buried at Arlington and the families must put the body in storage, at their cost, while they wait for burial.  On our walk to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we were able to view John F. Kennedy's grave along with the graves of his two young children and Jackie.  We also saw the graves of Robert Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy, along with the mast of the Maine ship.  The changing of the guard ceremony was incredible and many students commented it was their favorite part of the trip.

Then it was off to Ford's theater, the site of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  The students were able to tour the theater, see the Presidential booth, and then walk across the street to Peterson house to see the bed where President Lincoln died the next morning.  Next stop was the National Archives where students viewed the original documents of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.  After a quick lunch at the Reagan International Food Court, we were off to the White House.  There has been a gunman found at the White House the previous day so security was pretty tight.  We learned not to set our bags down by the White House gate when taking pictures.  The security guard didn't like that very much.  The last stop on the tour was the Smithsonian Museum of American History where students could view the Betsy Ross flag and Dorothy's red slippers from the Wizard of Oz.  A very tired group headed back to the hotel to pick up their luggage and then off to the airport for our flight home.  Students on this trip were:  Olivia Alberts, Tasha Bredvick, Riley Dorn, Alaina Huls, Jessica Larkins, Cassidy Mason, Katie Meyer, Emily Osterhaus, Carley Remmers, Angela Schellpeper, Taylor Sugden, Alexis Thies, and Marissa Wusk.  Mrs. Sugden also traveled with the group as an additional sponsor with Mrs. Renken.  A huge thank you to the parents of these students and everyone who bought cookie dough in order to make this experience possible!

 

 

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Freeman Public Schools415 8th StreetP.O. Box 259Adams, NE  68301

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