This was the first flight for 15 of the explorers, so it was reasonable for them to be a bit afraid. It didn't help that there really was a lot of turbulence on our landing in DC. We made it ... it was all good.
I told them to keep their eyes open and see what they could learn from the people and sights around them. One of the things we noticed early on is that the Metro train cards don't work with the buses. You have to purchase two separate tickets. Boy, do we have it good in Chicago
Our first stop was the Capitol. Nothing can really prepare you for the first time you see the massive buildings. The teens said they'd seen some of the buildings on TV, but up close, they got a different perspective. The detail in the buildings and flags flying high were impressive. There also was a ton of security and what seemed to be full-time protesters everywhere we turned in DC.
We literally jogged the two miles from the Capitol to the next stop. We didn't want to miss our only chance to visit the museum of AA. We were really fortunate to get those tickets, given the fact that there literally is a one-year waiting list.
The energy surrounding the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture was inspiring. The teenagers had an opportunity to learn about Emmett Till and take in so much of our culture over the past 300 years. From Lebron James videos to Malcolm X speeches, and authentic Michael Jackson jackets to slavery whips, it was an incredible learning experience. It's literally the best museum you'll ever visit in your life. I'm proud of the fact that the teens got to experience it.
On the second day, we stopped at the King Memorial. What a beautiful structure/park! Seeing it up close was epic. We walked from there to the Lincoln Monument, which was unbelievably massive. The teens got to stand in the same spot where Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln monument. Amazing!
From the Lincoln monument, we walked to the White House. People played street hockey out front, and while we couldn't get very close, we were able to gather for pictures and shoot the breeze out front, which was cool. On a side note, many people stopped us and asked about our hoodies--that was pretty cool, too.
Our last stop and probably most memorable was Bens Chili bowl on U SteerZ. Ben's is a hidden gem restaurant that survived the Civil Rights movement. Its history and the old pics on the wall reminded me of Captain Hard times in Chatham. A little trivia: Barack Obama ate here on his first day in office. The food was pretty good, and we even got a history lesson from a manager.
All in all, it was a fantastic experience and history lesson. Thank you to our sponsors South West for the tickets. We appreciate the support.