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Eyes Closed In My Favorite City This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   As the plane prepared for touchdown I gasped at the magnificent city before me. I was alone but still I was happy. As the plane landed I gathered my belongings and proceeded to locate my uncle who was waiting for me. There I was, in my favorite place in all the world, Washington, D.C.

We visited all the memorials: Lincoln, Jefferson, and then the Vietnam War. My uncle took me through the Capitol. I gawked at its rotunda and he pointed out the various senators' seats. He escorted me up the Washington Monument. From the top, I witnessed the sparkle of the reflecting pool and the Potomac River. I again had that on top-of-the-world feeling. During the evening we continued our sightseeing and ate the best deep pan pizza of my life at a small restaurant in Georgetown called Ghepeto's. (I don't know if it was really the best pizza I'd ever had or if the situation contributed to my taste buds' satisfaction.)

The next day was devoted to museums. First we went to the Museum of Natural History where we saw every mammal known to man. Next we saw Dorothy's ruby slippers, Superman's cape, and Archie Bunker's La-Z-Boy at the Smithsonian. From there I experienced somewhat of a history lesson that I found unusually interesting at the Museum of American History. The final museum of the day was the Air and Space Museum. We watched movies, listened to tapes, and viewed various interesting exhibits. Somewhere during the course of the day we even fit in a trip to the zoo. However, despite the incredible time I had, nothing could have prepared me for the surprise which would occur later.

The day began with a trip to the U.S. Mint (A.K.A. Heaven) and from there to my uncle's close-by office. He worked as the chief speech writer for President Ronald Reagan. We listened to the President's weekly Saturday morning address that my uncle had written and revised. At the conclusion of the speech, my uncle placed a small picture identification badge on a chain around my neck and began introducing me to various people in the White House, ranging from press workers to security guards.

Over the course of the day I met officials like Marlin Fitzwater, and sat in the chairs of people like Vice President George Bush and different senators from all over the country. As the afternoon approached, we made our way toward the Kennedy Center, and my grin only broadened. Here, we watched a film based on former President Nixon's foreign relations with China.

I found it hard to believe that I had only been there two and a half days. At this point I thought the day was pretty much over, judging that there was only so much to do and we had done it, even in Washington. However, little did I know that my uncle had one or two more surprises he was holding back.

Early that night he took me by F.B.I. headquarters and introduced me to a few people. I was assigned the task of walking a security dog back and forth near the Rose Garden. The reason was unknown to me. I just thought it was an everyday event. As I walked the dog, I took pictures of everything in sight, most of which were not allowed by the general public. Suddenly I felt and heard a vibration. I looked up and there was Air Force One landing right before me. And much to my amazement, take a wild guess who descended its steps. The people on the street outside the White House grounds were pushed back to the far side by the Secret Service. However, President Reagan was within 50 feet of me. As the President made his way inside, my uncle requested that someone ask him to stop for a moment for an introduction to me, of all people. Not many people get this opportunity in three lifetimes. I have a picture on my wall of the moment shaking his hand, and even though my eyes are closed and my smile is nerve wrinkled, it is probably my most prized possession.

The three days I spent in Washington D.C. that May are, so far, the most memorable of my life. I now visit Washington as much as possible. By no means did I ever think I would be meeting the President of the United States. My uncle and this incident somehow strengthened the love I already had for the city, its politics, and government in general. This a a love so strong that it forced me willingly into pursuing a career in government. It is a love that has made my goal in life to become the receiver of such handshakes from young men and women on the White House lawn, and to make them as happy as I was, for the same reason. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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