November 1, 2007 at 7:56 a.m.
The trip was coordinated by school chaperones Jim Gillach, Jessica Randall and Principal John Menard. The school has been offering the fall Washington DC trip to 7th and 8th grade students for fifteen years. It is a wonderful way for students to experience the origins of American society and government first hand.
Students began by exploring four of the Smithsonian Museums the first day. Other highlights included a night tour of the city monuments, the National Cathedral, Holocaust Memorial Museum, Bureau of Engraving and Printing and more. They even rode the easy-to-use capital subway to experience the concept of mass transit.
The most amazing aspect of the trip came at Arlington National Cemetery. This Virginia cemetery, which is the largest military cemetery in the country, overlooks the Potomac River and Washington DC. The site is home to President John F. Kennedy's grave site and the eternal flame, as well as the General Robert E. Lee house.
At this most hallowed site is also the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This tomb is dedicated as a final resting place to all those who died for American freedom, but are known "only to God."
CLMS students, parents and chaperones witnessed the solemn changing of the guard, before four of it's own participated in a wreath laying ceremony at the site. Students laid the wreath on behalf of Chisago Lakes Middle School as a sign of respect for those who have given their lives for our freedom. The middle school would like to thank Lakes Floral for donating the wreathe for this ceremony.
In all, the 50 travelers from CLMS really enjoyed their experience in Washington DC and hope to offer the trip annually in the future.
Learning American history and government first hand really helps us all understand why America is such a wonderful place to live.