It seems only fitting to start with my first ever vacation. The one I planned that included somewhere I had never been before-New York City. I don’t remember ever having a particular desire to go to New York City. I mean, of course it would have been nice but it seemed unattainable. I had some friends that went to New York City and they came back excited. They encouraged me to go but I told them I couldn’t afford it. They told me about the tour group they went with and how it made everything more affordable and easier. I listened, but still thought it was an unattainable dream.
Then I had some money come my way. I called my mom up and said, “We should go on a trip.” She agreed so I called my friend up and asked about the tour group she had recommended to me. I looked it up and it was a $1000. It wasn’t a bad price, and I had enough money! I called my mom again and said “What do you think of New York City?” She said yes and we examined the tour site more thoroughly to see what they all offered. For $200 dollars more they offered a trip to Washington D.C or Niagara Falls with the trip to New York. It added two more days to our trip and again, it was only $200 more! Mom wanted to do Niagara Falls but I begged to go to Washington D.C. I love museums and would be getting more bang for my bucks. She agreed and we booked it for the October dates a year in advance. It seemed like it was a long ways off, but suddenly it was here! Mom and I were like kids, we couldn’t believe we were going to New York City and Washington D.C! It was a dream come true!
In the morning we loaded onto the tour bus. We drove past the Capitol Building, the Pentagon, the Arlington Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. We were given a choice of what to do during the morning and one of the choices was to go to the Holocaust museum. Mom and I debated on going. I had researched the museum and wanted to see particular things, but for that to be the first stop of our vacation? But it was the only chance to go since it was only being offered during the 1st day. So we went. And it is now one of my favorite museums.
The Holocaust museum wasn’t what I was expecting. It focused on the Holocaust victims of course, but I felt like it focused on what was going on around the world during the time of the Holocaust and what built up to it.
After the Holocaust museum we went to Union Station for lunch.
It had some beautiful architecture.
After lunch mom and I stepped into the Air and Space museum lobby, but mom had been talking to others in the tour group and they wanted to go to the Native American Museum. I groaned the loudest groan and whined that I could go see Native American stuff at home. Mom insisted and so I went, in a stinker mood. I did not particularly care for that museum. I had seen a much more impressive Native American museum at Warm Springs, Oregon. But I did learn this interesting tidbit:
Gift of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York
This work honors the bonds of friendship that were forged between the Oneida Indian Nation and the fledgling U.S. during the American Revolution. Oneidas fought alongside the colonists in many key battles and helped sustain American soldiers during the darkest hours of the Revolutionary War. In the winter of 1777-78, a group of Oneidas walked more than 400 miles from Oneida Territory, in what is now central New York, to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, carrying corn to feed starving soldiers. Polly Cooper, the Oneida woman depicted in the statue, taught the soldiers how to cook corn-one of the Three Sisters, the sustainers of life, along with beans and squash.
Oskaondonha, at right, played a key role in the Oneida Nation’s decision to side with the colonists. Also known as Skenandoah, he was the wampum keeper and creator of government-to-government agreements, a highly respected individual among Oneidas.
General George Washington holds the two-row wampum belt, symbol of an agreement that the U.S. and the Oneida Nation would not interfere in the other’s internal affairs.
Behind these figures stands the white pine tree, a symbol of peace in the stories of Oneida, Mohawk, Seneca, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Tuscarora nations, which constitute the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy. Long ago, the Peacemaker united these warring nations with his message of the Great Law of Peace, unearthing the white pine tree and burying the weapons of war beneath its roots.
The turtle, wolf, and bear represent the three clans of Oneida Nation.
After we left the Native American museum mom and I walked over to the capitol building. We wandered a little bit around the grounds, but then we were herded onto the bus. For dinner they took us to the Baltimore Harbor. While everyone ran to the Hard Rock Cafe, mom and I agreed that we would rather spend our time walking around then eating at a chain restaurant. We unfortunately missed going to the Baltimore Aquarium which looked so cool from the outside.
We took our picture next to some boats, and then I found a gruesome statue of humans being burned at the Baltimore Holocaust Museum, which unfortunately again was closed. Here are the quotes written on the statue and the building:
“On both sides of the track rows of red and white lights appeared as far as the eye could see…with the rhythm of the wheels, with every human sound now silenced we awaited what was to happen. In an instant, our women, our parents, our children disappeared. We saw them for a short while as an obscure mass at the other end of the platform; Then we saw nothing more.” Primo Levi-Survival in Auschwitz.
“Those who cannot remember the past are destined to repeat it.” George Santayana
While researching for this post, I came across why this Holocaust Memorial was made and was shocked! In the 1970’s a ninth grade Baltimore Hebrew class told their teacher, Alvin Fisher, they didn’t believe the Holocaust happened. This spurred him and others to action and the Baltimore Holocaust Memorial site was built.
Mom and I wandered around a little more, then got back on the bus and went back to the hotel.