LCMS seventh- and eighth-graders spent three and a half days touring memorials and other sites in our nation’s capital.
Some 102 LaRue County Middle School students experienced in person the events and people that have made our country great as they visited the National Mall and other historic sites in Washington, D.C. March 27-31.
“We tried to pack in as much of Washington D.C. as possible in 3 ½ days,” said LCMS Principal Dr. Jason Detre. “The sights selected offered a variety history and cultural relevance to our students.”
The seventh and eighth graders received a special honor when four of them were chosen to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Stephanie Whiteman and Brock Gross, who with Carsen DeVary and Brooke Koenig laid the wreath, were impressed with the reverence shown by onlookers during the ceremony.
“It was so quiet that all we could hear were the footsteps of the soldiers(tomb guard sentinels) at the tomb,” the eighth-grade student noted.
Gross, a seventh-grader, said the four students practiced how they would march in, led by one of the sentinels, from a building down steps to the memorial, place their hands over their hearts while taps was played, turn in unison and march back up the steps to end the ceremony.
“We had over 100 kids there and during the entire 30-minute ceremony, they didn’t say a word,” Detre noted.
Both Whiteman and Gross were also impressed with the other sites they visited.
“I liked the architecture of ancient Rome and Greece I saw in the memorials,” Gross shared. “I was impressed with the eagles and wreaths at the World War II Memorial, the perfect alignment of the tombstones in Arlington Cemetery, and the planes at the National Air and Space Museum.”
Whiteman’s favorite was the Lincoln Memorial, with the Gettysburg address and other speeches inscribed on the wall and the large statue of a seated Lincoln.
Both Whiteman and Gross said their teachers had prepared them before the trip by having pairs of students choose one of the places on their itinerary, study it, and relay that information before the group exited their buses to visit that specific site.
The two students remarked how the Holocaust Museum, which details the imprisonment and murder of an estimated six million Jews during World War II, made such an influence on them.
“It was saddening to see how a people lost basically their humanity,” Gross commented.
Whiteman added, “It was saddening, but also moving, to see how we evolved from that.”
“The Nation’s Capital has an immediate and lasting impact on visitors,” Detre observed. “You can see thousands of pictures and videos of the capital, but the scope, size, and beauty require a firsthand experience to get a true appreciation.”