This will be the beginning in a series of reflection essays from NWCCI’s January trip to Washington DC. All NWCCI program participants and five staff members spent five days enhancing their knowledge of US history, politics, and culture — all part of the Department of State and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affair’s vision for promoting mutual understanding between the US and other countries and cultures.
Daniel Arango Arias is an NWCCI student from Colombia who is studying business management at Edmonds Community College. In his reflection he shares about how visiting DC reminded him of one particular day, September 11th, 2001 and the impact that that day had on him. The event increased his curiosity about the US and its history and the stories behind the nation he saw so often on the television, leading him to his interest in an exchange year in the United States through the Department of State sponsored Community College Initiative.
A unique city is one which can muster the history of one whole country in a specific place. It is the one which, even while walking through the streets, it makes you feel interested, and gives you the desire to know more about every detail of US history.
Washington DC: the city that never sleeps, and where you can find wonderful stories in every corner. For me, having the opportunity to know more about American history, means learning more about my own culture. For me, the most memorable part of the trip to Washington DC was the visit to the Newseum. Since I was a child I’ve had a special interest in the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11th, 2001. I still remember like it was yesterday. That day, I was ten years old and at that time, I was not mature enough to realize what was going on. I remember I was running through my school during my break, playing hide and seek with my friends, when suddenly something in the TV captured my attention. Everybody in the school was looking at the TV. I stood up in front of the TV as well. I did not understand what was happening, my only thought was “oh what a nice movie”, and then I kept having fun with my friends. Once I got home from school, the movie was still on every screen. I asked my mom what was going on, and she explained that something terrible was happening in United States.
Through time this event has become more powerful, and my interest to understand the details has increased. I now understand what it meant to the history of the United States. It seems unbelievable that the World Trade Center, the place where the economy of America and many other countries was controlled, could disappear in half a day.
During our trip to Washington DC, I had the opportunity to visit the Newseum. I was able to see, to feel, to touch one piece of one of the Twin Towers. I saw wallets and other personal items of the people who died on that day. Seeing this kind of history still makes me sad, but also lucky, because not everyone is able to touch history. Next we went to the Pentagon. We were able to walk around the corridors while listening the guide, and I noticed again how important the history of the country is for Americans, and how passionate they feel about sharing these stories with foreigners. One of the things at the Pentagon that enriched my soul and my spirit, was when I was able to read the messages in the book of victims from the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, and being able to see the monument through the window.
The unique city, which grabs you and makes you feel like you want to stay there forever: it lets you know the whole story of America’s ancestors.
It was monuments like:
- The Three Soldiers
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
- Women in Military Service for America Memorial
- Lincoln Memorial
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
Which told us the history of the heroes and heroines who gave their lives to defend the nation. A nation that influences all the countries around the world: that is the USA. It is a country where all the world is inside, and all the USA is inside Washington DC.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by the student bloggers.