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Lions Share Experiences from Washington, D.C.

Dec. 21, 2007

GALLERY

While in Washington, D.C. to play George Washington University and Georgetown University, LMU's women's basketball team took advantage of all the nation's capital has to offer. In between practices and games, the Lions toured several of the national monuments and learned about the birthplace and history of their country. Below is brief itinerary of their trip, followed by the players' personal accounts of their most profound experiences. Be sure to check out the photo gallery link above.

Sunday, December 16
Arrive Washington, D.C.
Dinner in Old Georgetown

Monday, December 17
Practice at George Washington University
Walking tour of interior of US Capitol
Smithsonian Museum Portrait Gallery

Tuesday, December 18
Game vs. George Washington

Wednesday, December 19
Practice at Georgetown University
Bus tour of Arlington National Cemetery
Iwo Jima Memorial
Air Force Memorial
Walking tours of memorials:
World War II Memorial
Vietnam War Memorial
Korean Conflict Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
FDR Memorial
White House and White House Christmas Tree
National Cathedral and Embassy Row

Thursday, December 20
Game vs. Georgetown

Friday, December 21
Return to California

Maggie Burkett
The most memorable aspect of touring Washington, D.C. for me was visiting Arlington National Cemetery. This cemetery really shed light and opened my eyes to the amount of death caused by war and the lives and families sacrificed for our country. With so many prolific figures that had such a major impact on American society and life buried there, we now to this day can acknowledge and pay our thanks for what they have done for us to be able to live the free and prosperous lives we have today.
Also, at the top of the cemetery by the Arlington House and changing of the guards, the view of Washington, D.C. was breath-taking and a perfect resting place for those who have given themselves for American freedom.

Bronwyn Evans
My favorite experience on this trip was visiting the Arlington Cemetery. I was familiar with the National Cemetery, however I had no idea the size and amount of land dedicated to these soldiers. This experience was the most meaningful to me because of the amount of respect it demanded. No matter your political views, you can not help but feel unconditional gratitude towards the soldiers that gave their lives for my freedom. This is an experience that I am forever thankful for and will remember and appreciate my whole life.

Aleyse Evans
I really enjoyed the trip to D.C. I was impacted by all of the history that is in this small place. There are no words that will describe the feeling I felt at the Arlington Cemetery when I saw all of the graves and heard the storied behind them. I really appreciate the fact that we were able to preserve valuable things that mean so much to this country. I would have never imagined being so interested in our history as I am right now.

Shannon McCarthy
I feel really lucky that I have been able to come on this trip and be a part of this team. Our nation's capital is thriving with history and culture. Being in the center of it all reminds me how proud I am to be an American and how lucky I am to have my freedom. I visited D.C. in the eighth grade for a field trip but did not appreciate what I was seeing. This time, I really absorbed everything and learned a lot. My favorite was Arlington National Cemetery. It was my most vivid memory from eight years ago, yet it seemed so different this time. I've had more education since eighth grade and know so much more about my surroundings that the history just seems to come alive.

Kavita Goss
I had the opportunity to come to D.C. in the summer of 2000 for a few days with my family. We saw all the same things that we have seen on this trip but back then, I was just a kid who was more interested in watching cartoons in the hotel. This time around, I am a bit older and can definitely say that I appreciated every monument, building, and memorial so much more. One of my favorite sights on the trip was the painting by Constantino Brumidi on the Rotunda in the Capitol - I don't know what to say besides the fact that it was very beautiful and I was in awe.

Lisa Helmers
Looking back on our trip to Washington, D.C., I think the most amazing thing I realized was how much incredible American history is jam-packed in this small city. To think that the site we lay to rest all the brave men and women who died defending our country is just 10 minutes from where the President lives and 10 minutes from so many prestigious universities is really exciting.
The place I was most excited to visit was the Lincoln Memorial. When we got there, it was not a let down. As I climbed the 59 steps with my video camera in hand, I was absolutely amazed at what I saw. I think we arrived at the best time (sunset) because although we had had a long day and were cold, the atmosphere that dusk provided was spectacular. When I was standing up at the Lincoln Memorial, I could look back down the Mall and see the Washington Monument perfectly reflected on the Reflecting Pool as well as the Capitol Building lit up behind it. When you are in a spot where you feel you have created the perfect picture, you know it will be a lifelong memory. I know I will never forget this trip because of the many great things I was able to see and the people I was able to see them with.

Taylor Shead
This trip to Washington, D.C. will always be one of those unforgettable moments in my life. As a freshman on this team, I felt as if this trip helped me get to know my teammates even better. On the historical side, it amazes me to walk through the same halls and follow the footsteps of so many greats who walked before us. It touched my heart to see where Martin Luther King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech. It also intrigues me in a moment of silence, you have time to imagine all the millions of Americans who came to this city to fight for what they believed in. It caused me to think and ask the questions, "in today's world, what do I believe in? What would I stand up for?"
Another experience I will always vividly remember is the trip to Arlington National Cemetery. Although hundreds of thousands of people who served our country lay to rest there, one gravesite in particular touched me. That site was the John F. Kennedy eternal flame and gravesite. I respect and admire JFK for his great leadership abilities that inspired change in the lives of many Americans. Being from a suburb 15 minutes outside Downtown Dallas where this young President was assassinated, I've taken several trips to the Sixth Floor Museum and the grassy knoll where he was said to have been shot. So this trip to his gravesite took me full circle. I was just awe-struck by the engraved words of this great President: "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."All in all, this trip has been a great bonding experience. Not only will I remember all the amazing architecture and historical sites we saw, I will remember the great group of men and women I was with.

Valerie Ogoke
Traveling to Washington, D.C. turned out o be more than just a basketball trip, it became a valuable and unique experience. Through visiting the Smithsonian and the Arlington House, I gained valuable insight into the success of African-Americans and their triumph in overcoming suppression. The Smithsonian has a special exhibit, which showed the success of certain individuals in African-American history. There were photos of well-known and talented individuals such as Duke Ellington, Betsey Smith, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jackie Robinson, who all paved the way for others, such as myself, to step out of the box and strive for success.
However, before these individuals, there were slaves whose experiences we witnessed in the backhouses of Robert E. Lee's home. The backhouses consisted of many photos of these slaves that worked on the plantation. While looking at these photos, I noticed something interesting - they all had a certain look in their eyes, that of pain and struggle. That is when I realized how hard each slave worked to survive each day and tend to their families. It was amazing how all this could be seen through a photo.Overall, this trip allowed me to attain a greater appreciation for African-American culture and helped me to realize how much there is to learn and do through this insight into the past.

Amanda DeCoud
This experience in Washington, D.C. has allowed me to constantly be conscious of the history of our country. It has been amazing to be able to reflect on our nation's past through our visits to national monuments, Arlington Cemetery, and the Capitol.This trip has made me appreciate living in this country, especially after seeing the thousands of names of dead soldiers on the Vietnam War wall. I am thankful for everyone who has and still is fighting for our country!

Jessica Vargas
This was my first trip to D.C. and my first to the East Coast so everything from the architecture to the lifestyle out here is new to me. I love the bustle of the city and how the cold just puts a little hop in everyone's step. Seeing so much of our country's history with the team was a blast. We had tons to laugh about and even more to pose in front of for a good picture.
The monuments, the Capitol, and the Smithsonian were amazing; their size as well as their purpose was overwhelming. To me though, the most impactful place was Arlington National Cemetery. It was a beautiful site with an incredibly humbling effect. We watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in complete silence and experienced a piece of just how much has been done by others for us to have the opportunities we do today. I felt so grateful; it was a much needed shift in perspective that made me appreciate these soldiers' gift: our American experiences. And I show my fullest gratitude to them by enjoying it to the fullest.

Jenna Sybesma
I'm glad I got to have this opportunity to visit D.C. for the first time with everyone on the team. It made me appreciate so much. Going to the cemetery was amazing. I got to learn so much about our country that I never really appreciated before.
My most enjoyable experience was watching the changing of the guard ceremony. Those men truly took their jobs seriously and showed their utmost respect for the unknown soldiers. I find it amazing that the guards stay by the tomb 24/7, 365 days a year, and they do this in any kind of weather. I am very glad I got to experience the beauty of D.C.

Renahy Young
My experience in Washington, D.C. has been incredible. I've visited once before when I was in eighth grade so the sites look somewhat familiar to me, but I definitely appreciate everything much more now. I absolutely love the architecture of all of the homes and the majesty of the buildings. I find myself staring out of the bus window in awe quite often.
One of the things I enjoy the most about Washington is the hustle and bustle of all the people. I love watching everyone walk around quickly, catching taxis, going to and leaving from work, it just makes me smile.I loved all of the memorials we visited but I would have to say my favorite was the Smithsonian. The artwork was stunning and I feel as if I could have stayed in there for hours. Overall, I love Washington!

Cassady Moore
I am so thankful that LMU was able to show me such a patriotic city. Washington was so intense for me. The hundreds of thousands of soldiers whose names were written on walls and tombs impacted me the most emotionally and mentally. I would also have to say that the soldier who guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier showed me the discipline, pride, and respect they have for the their fallen comrades and their country. I have gained more pride, respect, and awareness of their discipline from this trip.

Lauren Wilkins
"A house divided against itself cannot stand." - Abraham LincolnBefore December 16, I had never been to the East Coast, except for a trip to Disney World. There was no other word that could fully encompass my feelings going into this experience besides EXCITEMENT. Over the last few days, I have only begun to understand the deep-seated pride so many from the east exude.
In the Capitol, it was incredible to think the steps we clambered up and down in exhaustion from our long day were the same grounds on which our founding fathers built the cornerstones of this prosperous nation. To walk and wonder: "if I were born at a different time in a different place, could I have walked among the greats? Could I have been witness to the development of the Declaration of Independence, the Emancipation Proclamation, or the writing of Martin Luther King's `I Have a Dream' speech?" It is only through this reflection that I wonder still, "what legacy would I claim for my own? What will my generation do to mark our intrinsic influence on our beloved country?"
Surprisingly, and as corny as it may sound, seeing is believing. Seeing the Iwo Jima, Vietnam, FDR, Korean, WWII, and Lincoln Memorials, along with the White House and Capitol building, brings the fantasy of war, sacrifice, and freedom into my realm of reality. The relevance in my life seemed to appear suddenly. I am now 18 years old. I can and will influence the 2008 elections but I cannot be uninformed. I am more connected and important than I previously gave myself credit for. I am now, more than ever, a participant in this country. How will I choose to influence it?
I made a transformation on this trip. I successfully turned into a tourist. Everything captivated me and called my attention with a magnificent subtlety. It seemed like while the winter winds froze my fingers and toes, the reflecting of histories gave breath once again to the dead at Arlington. The revitalization, I felt compelled to physically or visually capture. Of course, this was a fruitless task, even while I tried taking multiple pictures from different perspectives. From this I gained a much-needed appreciation. I want these images and this respect to remain burned into my memory. I believe that, like the inspiring artwork hanging from the walls of the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery, a sign of work with perpetual value is that it inspires you to act.
In the United States, we are famous for our obdurate pride in giving our citizens opportunities to improve and express themselves. The men and women who have bled, shone, and perished have also forged the beginning of a path for us. It is now up to us to decide where the path continues.