Hilltop on the Hill in Washington

In fall 2009, 17 Journalism and Corporate Communications & Public Affairs students are studying in Washington, D.C., in October for the Hilltop on The Hill 2009 program.

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Day 3: Lessons in history

Photo%20on%202009-10-09%20at%2020.02.jpg An update from senior CCPA major Solomon:

This is simply one of those days that draws the proverbial line in the sand. This day, unlike the first two, started off in somber fashion with a trip to the National Holocaust Museum.

The National Holocaust Museum offers visitors a unique experience, as one is immersed in the dark realms of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and ’40s. Personally, I found it overwhelming. I wept on more than one occasion. To see an entire town liquidated was more than I could handle.

h2-IMG_7612.JPG Flanking two walls in the museum were photographs, stories high, of the daily rituals people in the village undertook. These were people. They had lives, they had stories, they had traditions, they had LIFE. And you walk down the stairs to the next level and the walls are bare. It’s the sudden realization that what was once there is no longer. The lives of these people are forever gone and will never be reclaimed once more.

The Holocaust Museum isn’t just a museum; it’s an experience that echoes through time to remind us that we cannot afford to remain idle in the face of genocide. Darfur is our current crisis and, in my opinion, must be dealt with directly.

After that heavy dose of reality, we headed off for the Newseum. The Newseum is dedicated to journalism in all of its forms – in print and in broadcast format. This museum was amazing. There are six floors in total, which leave one out of breath at each landing. Our First Amendment rights, in action, are evident in every nook and cranny of the museum.

There’s just so much to absorb, so much to take in, that it is impossible to understand the breadth and depth of the history of journalism and its continuing role of educating and better informing the masses. Wave after progressive wave of reform, from the tearing down of the Berlin Wall (a portion of the wall is there) to the journalistic endeavors of men such as Murrow who were not afraid of McCarthyism, are on display here at the museum.

We were able to see a taping of The Future of News and our own Professor Rita Kirk was chosen out of the audience to ask the panel members a question regarding citizen journalists.

h2-KWAR1.jpg This day was a rollercoaster up to this point but was not over. We dispersed in the Mall and took several separate routes. I ended up with an old friend of mine at the Lincoln Memorial and the Korean War Memorial, where I took this photo (right).

I can only say that the experiences I have had here so far have not been anything less than stellar, and I am deeply grateful to SMU for having this opportunity. Tomorrow arrives shortly, and with it, more experiences to be had.

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