For many of our students, a jaunt to Washington, D.C. to see the nation's capital is not something that easily fits into their busy schedule. Many of the students have sports, extra curriculars and are booked solid. However, fifty students cleared their calendar and woke up at 3 a.m. to get to the high school and start the journey south to our nation's capital.
When we arrived at the National Mall, the first thing we noticed were the bright pink cherry blossoms, which brought a certain buzz to the air. Nothing says spring like the nation's greatest springtime celebration. Tourists from across the United States and the world all flocked to D.C. to view the beautiful trees.
After we toured the National Mall, including the Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Reflecting Pool, and the WWII Memorial, we went to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Upon arrival at the Holocaust museum, students received an ID card that chronicled the experience of a specific person who lived in Europe during the Holocaust. These cards students can take with them throughout the museum and are designed to personalize the historical events of the time. You can see the identification cards online by clicking here.
The Museum also explained in detail the Jewish resistance to the Holocaust, particularly in Poland and the Soviet Union, in which there was armed resistance in over 100 ghettos. Many ghetto fighters took up arms in the knowledge that the majority of ghetto inhabitants had already been deported to the killing centers; and also in the knowledge that their resistance even now could not save from destruction the remaining Jews who could not fight. But they fought for the sake of Jewish honor and to avenge the slaughter of so many Jews. To read more about the Jewish resistance click here.
Social Studies teacher, Lisa Caselle organized the trip. Ms. Caselle said, “this field trip is an enriching experience for students to see the Capital. It also is an extension of the Holocaust elective class. Students in the elective and in global history get the opportunity to go.
Students Jake Keep and Ally Schmidt were two of the students who went on the trip. Jake Keep said, “my favorite part of the trip was exploring the monuments on the National Mall. It was particularly cool to see the reflection pool in front of the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.” Ally Schmidt also enjoyed the trip. Ally said, “I found the Holocaust Museum very interesting. One thing that stood out is the room of shoes that were taken from Jewish people when they arrived at concentration camps. It is important to learn about the holocaust so genocide can be prevented in the future.”
The annual D.C. trip has been going on for over 20 years and many students and teachers wish to keep the trip continuing so future generations of Cortland students have the chance to participate in this unique experience.