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Inauguration through eyes of students

A GROUP OF GRADY County students has been in Washington D.C. this week to witness the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Here the students are shown visiting “Arlington House,” the former residence of Robert E. Lee. In the background you can see the Washington skyline.

In their own words students report on trip to Washington D.C.
By Morgan Blough, WMS

(Sun., Jan. 18, 2009) We woke up Sunday bright and early, 5:30 A.M. to be exact, to head out for the Tallahassee Airport. We had a flight of about half an hour and later landed in Atlanta to get on our connecting flight that would take us to our destination…Washington, D.C. When we arrived there were no stops. It was straight on the tour. Arlington National Cemetery awaited us. Thousands upon thousands of graves of soldiers surrounded us. We saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the changing of the guards from a distance. Robert E.Lee’s home, we  learned, was the original site of the cemetery. There are the remains of soldiers from every major war that the U.S. has been a part of. We also got a chance to visit the gravesite of John F. Kennedy. After a long tour, we were headed back to the bus for yet another tour. This time we took the bus all over D.C. visiting the various monuments. We saw the future home of President Elect Obama, The White House. The Pentagon and the Capitol building were also spotted. The day had been long, but our journey was just beginning. We couldn’t wait to find out what was in store for us the next day, but we were very relieved to check into the hotel and get to sleep!

(Mon., Jan. 19, 2009) Today, Monday, we started off with Mount Vernon. No, it’s not a mountain…it’s  the home of our first president, George Washington. We learned that a lot of myths, like him chopping down a cherry tree, were not true. They were made up to represent qualities that made him such a great  leader. Also, there isn’t much known to us about his childhood. The back porch of Mount Vernon is a view of the Potomac River, and I’m just going to tell you, it was gorgeous! I could have spent the entire time we were there staring at it. We loaded onto the bus and headed to the Smithsonian Museums. We split up into separate groups, most depending on your interests. Some of us visited everything from The National Museum of Natural History to the most popular, The National Air and Space Museum. The museums were simply phenomenal. There wasn’t enough time in our entire trip to do any one of them justice. We had to leave, unwillingly. Then we headed up to the Fashion Center to change for the Pre-Inaugral Ball that Smithsonian held for its’ travelers. Yes, we changed into ballroom gowns and suits in every where from the bus to the bathrooms in Macy’s. That was an expierience in itself. The ball was very surprising! We didn’t expect there to be so many people.  
The dance floor was first inhabited by…your very own Cairo  
Syrupmaker travelers. We had to get things started right. After plenty  of food and dancing we headed back to the hotel to get some rest for  the upcoming event tomorrow. The 2009 Presidential Inauguration is  
finally here!

(Tues., Jan. 20, 2009) I’m sure that you’re all aware that today is Inauguration Day 2009!!! Yay. It’s the day of so much history and so much “change”. The whole point of our trip was to come back and be able to say “I was there” but now we not only get to say that we were there but that we saw over a mile of people and got to isolate ourselves between a baracade and a bench (behind the bench was a big circle of PORT-A-POTTIES).  Yes, the crowds were so bad that we made a circle on the ground to get some form of protection and security from them. As we were walking down the  
street to get as close to the capitol steps as possible, people around us were chanting “Obama” and “Yes we can” which eventually turned into “Yes we did”. I’m trying not to let my personal views get involved here but I will say this, that was an emotional and memorable event even for me. We made it to a new year, a new election, a new view, a new perspective…we really did want change. I’ll admit it-we were all scared stiff. We didn’t know what to do, where to go, or what to make of the situation we’d been placed in, but we made it although we were a long way away from the crowd by the time President Elect Obama was officially sworn in as our President. We were in D.C. and we were a part of the millions of people who gathered to see this event-and that’s something that I don’t think a single one of us will ever forget!

(Wed., Jan. 21, 2009)We woke up really early to finish packing our bags and check out of the hotel. The luggage was then loaded onto the charter bus and so were we. We got a chance to see some rare and unreal sites…the memorials! We visited the Lincoln Memorial, The Vietnam Memorial, and the Korean Memorial. It really gave us an appreciation for the men and women that died and continue to die today to protect our country and our freedom. We’ve all seen the various sites around D.C. in pictures,  
but to see it up close and personal was an unbelievable opportunity for me. The Lincoln Memorial was my favorite because of it’s fame and just the kind of person that Abe Lincoln was. I got a chance to read the Gettysburg Address which is engraved in the memorial and the irony in his speech was quite amusing. His address is one of the most famous speeches in history and in it he said that the words he spoke would  
not be remembered. Maybe it was just me but i found that very funny. Well, moving on to the Vietnam Memorial. It was unreal to me, the number of names that were engraved and still continue to be placed. If you got injured in the war and died as a result they will add your name. That was really interesting to me because it shows great appreciation for everyone who fought and sacrificed. The Korean War Memorial was different. There were 19 statues of United States soldiers. They were shown walking through one of the rice fields in Korea. If you could have just seen the expressions on their faces! I felt like I knew them, and also great sympathy for what they did. Well, after a very eye-opening morning, it was time to say goodbye to the city that many of us had come to love. It was a very sad departure but I think our anticipation to get home overshadowed that a bit. We were so ready to feel the South Georgia weather again! Be thankful that you live in Cairo…it’s nice to not have to wear thermals everywhere you go.

Students reflect on trip to Washington D.C.

Nic Ward- “Loved the airplane trip since it was my first, all the sights
are very interesting, Arlington Cemetary is enormous!”

Taylor Donalson- Smithsonian was cool! So was the Hope Diamond!”

Koby Pyrz- “Amazing how many people are buried at the Arlington Cemetary”

Harley Ponder- on acutual Inauguration Day…”Crowed, claustrophobical,
unmovable, lots of siren!”

Adam Hester-“Washington, DC is a place of many experiences people get to
enjoy but yet a place of our past faults…ie, Ford’s Theater…”.

Stephen Kirland- “Extraordinary how one city can hold so much history and
behold so much future.

Valarie McCallum-  “Great trip, a cultural shock, …and there’s no place
like home!”

Fred McCallum. Parent chaperone- The kids behaved themselves very
well…Grady County should be proud!

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