A Peaceful Afternoon

By Courtney Howell

food truck]

Today was our last day in Washington before the inauguration, and we spent the morning sleeping in and running around the D.C. Senator and Representative offices to pick up our tickets!  After that task, we were pretty much on our own to do whatever we pleased.  On our way from the offices to the Newseum, Rachel and I stopped at a food truck to buy a hamburger and fries.

The weather today was gorgeous and we took our food to the front of the the National Museum of the American Indian.  The building itself had really interesting architecture, and I would have loved to have looked around inside if we weren’t on a time constraint.

National Museum of American Indian - Smithsonian Institute

National Museum of American Indian – Smithsonian Institute

Just the outside of the building brought a serene sense of peace and quiet.  To our left was the bustling sidewalk of the streets leading away from the Capitol.  Behind us was a quiet pond with ducks and plants.  As we sat in the sunlight enjoying our deeply unhealthy meal from the food truck, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of peace deep inside.

Here we were, in the middle of the city, enjoying the warmth of the day and reflecting on our journey through D.C.  Although we still have the climax of our trip tomorrow with the inauguration, the twenty-seven of us have already done so much.  Met with staff (alumni!) of the National Journal.  Toured the White House.  Bowled at Truman Lanes.  Toured the Capitol.  Met various staffers (also alumni!).  Visited the Holocaust Museum.  Heard from many speakers concerning many different issues and perspectives. Grown together as a group.

It was wonderful to have that peaceful time in front of the water and the museum to think.  We have all been through a lot during our time here; many of us have changed career path or major plans because of this visit.  Even though we are all still pretty sleep-deprived, the time alone by the water was refreshing and invigorating for me.

Many ducks swam around on the pond outside the museum.

Many ducks swam around on the pond outside the museum.

The Newseum was also terrific (highly recommend!) and a great way to end the afternoon.  I, along with everyone, am looking forward to getting up in a few short hours to make our way to the Mall for what is sure to be a fabulous first-hand experience of the 57th Presidential Inauguration!

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