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Reflecting on my first time to our Nation’s Capitol

KC Staff Writer Connor Niszczak reflects on his first experience to Washington D.C.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. –  I took my first ever step in our nation’s capitol. Walking into the middle of the National Mall, turning to see the Capitol Building, I was truly taken aback. This iconic structure that I see on television almost every single day had become somewhat abstract to me, so to see it in person, and to be so close, was truly surreal.

As I strolled through the mall on my way to the National Museum of American History, I couldn’t help but try to absorb all of my surroundings in the country’s most important city, thinking of all the monumental events that have happened there.

And before I knew it, I was directly facing one of the most prominent museums in the world. As I entered the aforementioned National Museum of American History, I could hardly wait to see some of the greatest artifacts America has, such as gowns from all of our First Ladies, the iconic ruby slippers, the Batmobile, and presidential campaign memorabilia.  

Connor Niszczak
The Korean War Memorial.

The examples above sublimely display the variety of exhibits the museum has to offer, as it offers highlights of all aspects of American life. From entertainment to wars to politics, and beyond, it is certainly a museum that everyone, American or not, will enjoy.

After my morning of walking down ‘America’s memory lane’, if you will, I headed to the far end of the National Mall to the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing that towering structure for the first (but certainly not last) time, was a truly spectacular moment. When I climbed those four score and eighty steps and turned around, I saw one of the most breathtaking views of my life. Standing at the top of the Lincoln Memorial, I directly faced the WWII Memorial, Washington Monument, and United States Capitol Building: America in a nutshell.

Afterwards, I strolled, arm in arm with my grandmother, past the Korean and Vietnam War Memorials. This was certainly the most difficult moment of my trip. Seeing veterans, most in wheelchairs, being reminded of their darkest days, really pulls at the heartstrings.

I took one last trip to the top of the Lincoln Memorial before I had to leave, and on that 87th step, I had a realization. In these often dark and troubled days, many question the strength of our democracy. If you need reassurance, come to Washington, D.C. and go to the top of the Lincoln Memorial. Seeing a row of iconic landmarks right in front of you will remind you of the greatness that America has seen. It will remind you that America has and will continue to overcome great obstacles.

It will restore your faith in the foundations of our nation.

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Reflecting on my first time to our Nation’s Capitol