Allie Bergeron | Contributing Author | firstname.lastname@example.org
With feet throbbing from a full day of walking, we set out once again; this time for a moonlit tour of D.C.’s monuments. There’s something special about our nation’s capitol at night. In the darkness, it’s easy to look past the modernity and contemporary additions of the city, and to instead focus on the little glimpses of the past. No, these monuments weren’t constructed hundreds of years ago, but nonetheless, it’s a surreal feeling staring up at the face of Thomas Jefferson, knowing he walked the same streets I’ve spent the day wandering. We made our way through memorials commemorating Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and World War II, eventually approaching what appeared to be a mountain. A portion of this mountain had been carved out and moved forward, depicting Martin Luther King Jr., and the words “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope." I would give anything to know this man, to live when he did and better understand the fight that he fought. Surrounding this memorial were some of his famous quotes; and releasing Law, Justice & Society majors in an environment like that is basically synonymous to kids in a candy shop. We immediately flocked to the quotes that spoke to us, some congregating around his words on peace, others tolerance. I found myself transfixed, along with two of my classmates, by his thoughts on justice. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." We next found ourselves on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I think every first-time visitor to Washington anticipates this moment, peering up at a massive, stately, almost stern Honest Abe, maybe even expecting some clarity just from his being in his presence. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for what I saw walking out of the Lincoln Memorial. There at the top of the steps, was the exact spot Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. Goose bumps pretty much summed up my experience at this point. Looking out over the mall and knowing that, at one point, it was filled to the brim with people hungry for equality, gives me hope. It gives me pride, and more than that it gives me faith that there will continue to be men and women that rise above social norms and fight for what they know to be true.