Archive for June, 2011

-by Kelcey H., 8th Grade

It was then my eyes gazed upon a magnificent monument, all lit up under the night sky. I was swiped into history as I stood back to see. It hit me. This inner feeling that I cannot explain filled my stomach. It towered over us in its beauty and the message of freedom.

Above the statue, the monument states; “In this temple as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the union the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” All inside the walls of the Lincoln memorial.

Despite our fascinated faces, I could only pay attention to the words held inside. “Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” The powerful words out of one man’s mouth took me over as I found myself having to read every word on the wall. The speeches about freedom and justice made me feel like America is our home and our country.

To climb those stairs up to the monument seemed like a journey through time. Just to climb up to the top seemed to have the feeling of freedom. Faces lit up as people marveled over the statue of our former president. And even though I have already seen it years ago, I don’t think I was old enough to really understand how he effected America so greatly. To have a president full of ambition and fearlessness was what America needed to strive to move forward.

The statue itself is simply stunning and inspirational. Just by looking at it, sitting up high in its chair, shows the importance of this historical figure. The breathtaking view is absolutely incredible, but to actually experience seeing it yourself is much more rewarding.

Going to Washington broadened my understanding of how much has changed in America. And after going there I often find myself rethinking what had happened before our time.

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-by Walter G., 8th Grade

courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Have Boston’s streets ever hit you at the heart? Have they ever made you cry? Millions of people struggle in the streets of our cities. Homelessness is everywhere; it’s not an uncommon thing to see. Boston is where I live and I am not proud of what the economy and the world has done to most people. Lost jobs, incredible amounts of debt and when it’s all been said… no one volunteers to step in and help.

At the Holocaust Memorial I noticed a man sleeping on a bench in ragged clothing and I felt sorry and helpless towards him. This is where we live. And this is the place we call home. What is home? The clear definition is not as easy for those like the man sleeping on the bench. In their mind they simply need to survive.

The next time you feel pity amongst your existence or feel the world is falling down onto your shoulders, think about the ones who actually have the world on their shoulders. You could be one of those on the streets with a tin can, looking in the eyes of the people who throw you quarters or pennies. Think about your life and how lucky you are to be in the position you are in. Think about their lives. Who is there for them to reach out to?

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-by Grace T., 8th Grade

I took a deep breath and stepped forward into what felt like an entirely different world.

The rumble of cars and chattering of the crowd around me faded away, until the very air was still. A solemn hush settled over us. Although people pushed by me on all sides, some still whispering, I felt completely alone. Elegant glass towers stretched skyward; their transparent walls glinting. A calm garden of smooth stones surrounded us. Sunlight filtered through the glass, and below our feet there twinkled a thousand tiny lights; like stars in a midnight sky. There was a sense of serenity and fragility in the air; impossible to ignore and unthinkable to break. It was a beautiful and sacred place.

The walls of each tower were lined with chilling descriptions of the Concentration Camps, as well as millions upon millions of tiny numbers; one for each person whose life was claimed in that time of fear and chaos that we have come to know as the German Holocaust. My gaze fell upon a quote engraved in the glass: “My younger sister went up to a Nazi soldier with one of her friends. Standing naked, embracing each other, she asked to be spared. He looked into her eyes and shot the two of them. They fell together in their embrace- my sister and her young friend.” Upon reading this, I paused for a moment, and closed my eyes. People continued walking around me, the gentle summer breeze worked its way through my hair, and I was surprised to feel a tear slip down my cheek.

I am not Jewish. These were not my people. And still, I cried. I cried for the millions of people who lost their lives; victims of cruelty and injustice. I cried for the children who never lived to see adulthood. I cried for the families, friends, and lovers torn apart by the Nazi movement. And I even cried for the Nazis themselves; whose minds had been twisted and warped by the lies of Adolf Hitler. But tears of joy mingled with tears of sorrow, because I realized, as I stood there alone in the silence, that this beautiful memorial was concrete evidence that false truths and tragedy are always overshadowed by triumph, compassion, and love. And when I opened my eyes again, and felt a final tear trickle down my face, I didn’t wipe it away. I let it stay there, sparkling in the light of the sun.

Let it serve as a reminder to those who would otherwise forget.

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-by Sam B., 8th Grade

Those who survived
Lived trying to forget
their numbers.

Those who were killed
Died trying to remember
their names.

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