Josh Bleisch ’16 – Day two of our Washington, DC immersion trip proved very exciting. While we did not need to be ready and in the lobby of the hotel until 10:30, I got up early to attend mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. It was a great opportunity to be able to visit this beautiful and historic Church. St. Matthew is the patron saint of public servants, very fitting for the seat of the Archdiocese of Washington. St. Matthews was also the location of President John F. Kennedy’s funeral mass. In addition to the rich history, the inside of the cathedral was absolutely stunning. The incredibly detailed iconography lined the walls, and the music from the large pipe organ filled the cavernous sanctuary. St. Matthews was definitely one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.
From there it was back to the hotel for a quick 30 minute nap before the group hoofed it over to the closest metro stop to begin our day. From there we spent some time in the American History Museum. The place was so chock full of amazing artifacts, I was only able to see about half of the exhibits. One of the exhibits that stuck with me in particular was the “Star Spangled Banner.” Inside, the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write his poem that would eventually become our National Anthem was on display. What an amazing piece of American History!
For lunch, the group walked down the National Mall to the National Museum of the American Indian. It wouldn’t be a rhetoric class trip without Dr. Drury explaining to us all the difference in the narratives seen in the American History Museum versus the Museum of the American Indian. After Lunch, and a brief walk through that museum, it was free time. My friend, Dylan Miller, and I walked over to the National Gallery of art and had the chance to see some famous works by Monet, van Gogh, da Vinci, and Picasso.
After that, we went back to the hotel to get off our feet and make plans for the evening. We decided to go to the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl. A sign on the wall listed the people who were allowed to eat there for free, and those people were Bill Cosby, and President Obama and family. The place was packed, and for good reason, the food was fantastic! Dylan and I then decided to go back to the White House for some classic touristy photo ops. We asked a nice family to take our picture. Judging by their accents, they must have been from Texas. When they asked us where we were from, we explained that we were on a trip with a class from Wabash College, expecting to have to explain that it is a very small school outside of Indianapolis. However, the father had a friend who was an alum of the College, Small World!
One more thing: apparently, on the south side of the White House, you aren’t supposed to walk on the road, so we were “emphatically suggested” to move back on the sidewalk by a Secret Service agent. Just one more thing to check off that bucket list!
Tomorrow is another long day with plans to tour the Capitol and meet Senator Joe Donnelly, and I look forward to all the other great experiences I’m sure to have while here in DC.