Washington, D.C., is a city full of excitement, history and opportunity, and I was lucky enough to be a part of SMU’s Hilltop on the Hill fall 2009 program. It was a wonderful trip. I got to meet with people who have succeeded on the Hill and be an obnoxious camera-happy tourist.
The whole trip was amazing, but one day in particular stood out to me, and that was Saturday, October 10, when we went to the Holocaust Museum and then did the Mall Crawl. It was a very emotional day for the whole group but especially for me because that was the day I found out my dad was in the hospital.
Walking around the Holocaust Museum and seeing how people suffered made me realize that my problems are so small compared to what they went through. It also made me realize how lucky I am and how life isn’t always about making the most money; it’s about being with the people you love. As the day continued we saw many more memorials and the same thoughts continued in my head.
The National Mall is the area of Washington full of monuments and memorials stretching from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. This was where we spent our afternoon and evening. Out of all the memorials on the mall, the World War II memorial was the most significant to me.
My grandfather fought in this war, in the Navy, and I am so proud and honored to be his granddaughter. He is a wonderful, kind and generous man who would do anything for anyone. He served his country with honor and pride. This beautiful memorial filled me with emotion because I thought about my Grandpa Pumpkin and all the other people who risked their lives. Needless to say, Saturday was a day that not only made me reflect, but also one that gave me a greater sense of meaning of the battles and wars that were fought.
Dr. Kirk, Dr. Voth, Professor Barta and Professor Baily-Byers were the wonderful faculty members on the trip. Without their efforts, this trip would not have been possible, so I want to thank each of them.
My Grandma Pumpkin always told me, “The most you can do is the best you can do, and the best that you can do is the most that you can do.” This has a new meaning in my life after my emotional day in our nation’s capital. I will do my best to be a great American citizen and treat everyone with the respect they deserve.