By Grace Dunn
This isn’t Drake University’s first time in Washington D.C. and on one of our first nights in the city we heard a story from our professors about a group of students from the last trip that decided to walk to the Lincoln Memorial at night. We were told they got amazing pictures and had a great experience. This story inspired Josh Hughes, Sarah Schroeder, Courtney Jasper, and me to take an impromptu trip to the Lincoln Memorial Friday night.
The Smithsonian Metro stop was closed so we had to walk the majority of the way to the memorial. Therefore, we got to experience some of the city at night. We saw the Treasury Department, the White House, the Washington Monument, and much more. But, after turning past the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln was finally in view, and it was breathtaking. The monument looks massive during the day, but there was something different about it at night.
Walking up the stairs into the memorial at night is overwhelming. The largeness of the architecture draws you in and it feels as if the columns are overcoming you. Then you walk up and see Lincoln and the words above him. All four of us stopped and took a moment to reflect and take in our surroundings.
We were almost the only people at the Lincoln that night and it was a special experience. I got to read the Second Inaugural speech and the Gettysburg Address again through different eyes. I didn’t feel rushed and felt I could really appreciate Lincoln’s words. The second inaugural address was delivered to a nation divided from the civil war. Lincoln spoke about getting along with the other side and finding common beliefs with each other, so they could move past the war and “achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” He references finding mutual beliefs, “both read the same Bible and pray to the same God.” The main focus of our class is political discourse, and the best way to achieve that that is by finding out the fundamental core beliefs people of different political ideologies share. Seeing how Lincoln talked about this back in 1865, showed me just how important it is for us to have political discourse today.
Yes, we got some really cool pictures at the Lincoln, and we heard a few “Real D.C. Facts” from Josh, such as, “Alexander Hamilton was the first person to eat a pig, and that’s why we call it ham” but, that wasn’t all. We gained a new perspective of the Lincoln Memorial as well.
I would one hundred percent recommend a nighttime trip to the Lincoln Memorial.