So, most of you probably frequent this site to learn more about GRD Extern’s experiences lobbying Congressmen and visiting with various federally employed veterinarians. However, with this post, I want to draw attention to another benefit of this externship—the opportunity to visit many of the treasurers residing in our nation’s capital. This particular addition is a romanticized accounting of just some of my experiences over the past few weeks. I hope you enjoy my feeble attempt at communicating the wonders I perceive when exploring all that DC has to offer. Also, don’t forget you can leave comments or questions when visiting this site!! I will be sure to address them in as timely a manner as possible.
I’m a history buff! I love spending days reading through the annals of biography and general history to explore our past and speculate on where we are going. So trust me when I say a day spent wandering amidst the edifices and bastions of liberty are truly one of the highlights of my life.
During my first weekend I spent Saturday slowly roaming through the National Archives, marveling at the course of history providentially chosen (or randomly depending on one’s world view) to produce the nation we compose today. For those who have yet to experience viewing the founding documents allow me to set the scene: the room one enters is dimly lit and cavernous in scope. Magna Carta greets you as a document that has escaped the grasp of time’s deterioration, and rests as an inspiration to those three pillars proceeding. You move timely to enter line for a large gate blocks the entrance to the three altars, with numerous citizens eagerly await a glimpse of history. Upon admittance by security the floodgates are opened and everyone moves in their direction of choice, with the Declaration of Independence on the left, the Constitution center, and the Bill of Rights to the right, all directions are equal. Two large murals, one representative of the Declarations acceptance with dark clouds ominously announcing trying times ahead, and the other of our Constitution’s signing, timelessly observe the fruits of a transcendent cause. It is remarkable to witness with my own eyes the documents that announced to the world that not only would we no longer be subject to tyranny, but that we guard the product with the founding of a new government protective of it’s citizens rights. Truly something to keep in perspective!
After a few more hours lingering through the public vault I emerged on the DC sidewalk with no particular destination in mind. Yet, I found myself pulled along the National Mall to the central obelisk of our nation, the Washington Monument. Cast against the backdrop of overcast clouds the monument was stunning. In my minds eye I began to conceive of it as an ethereal lighting rod, capturing the energy that fires our nation and transferring it into the very soil.
Compounding on these sights, I also had the good fortune to attend a performance of 1776 at Ford’s Theatre just this past Saturday. I’ve always been a fan of the movie, and in the flesh it’s even more enjoyable. Though a farcical account of the events preceding the development and eventual adoption of the Declaration of Independence, it’s still a visceral reminder of what times must have been like for the men and women living during that period. The most moving of the pieces, “Momma Look Sharp” (here’s a Youtube version that’s pretty good, but not quite as moving as in person: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlwlMuSGMqU), brings to heart the costs incurred for our country’s birth and the constant sacrifice required in safeguarding. I don’t believe I could have chosen a more suitable place to witness such a performance than the intimate and historical Ford’s Theatre. Everyone should attend a performance here when visiting DC!
The opportunity to participate in this externship has been a profound event. Not only have I been provided the time to experience all that’s mentioned above, but I’ve actively participated in a process that countless humans over the course of history, and even now, have been denied. Never before has it occurred to me how special is the right to dissent or inform those who make decisions without fear of recompense. It’s something we have been taught and observe on a daily basis, but perhaps it’s not an element we consciously identify. So when I sat down and contemplated the words you now read, and reflected on the past two weeks, my hopes were to arouse and bring attention to how powerful each of you are, with a heart to be heard and a mind to give it voice. In all issues, whether they are veterinary related or not, lend your individuality and perspectives to the national dialogue. Be sound in mind and judgment to the problems of our day, and write, call, or visit your representative. I promise, you have more to give than you realize!