This past April, our 8th Grade Civics students embarked on their overnight field trip to Washington D.C.! We treasure this annual trip because it not only coincides with their Civics class, but also allows students to see first-hand how our Nation was founded and continues to flourish under God’s mighty and righteous Hand.
We loaded the busses up bright and early on Friday, April 14th, and journeyed to the Museum of the Bible in the heart of D.C. Students explored exhibits involving science, literature, and the Old Testament. A museum docent took us on a tour tailored to the history of The Bible and the Gutenberg Printing Press. Students enjoyed watching a reenactor use the Printing Press to copy a page of the Bible!
Next, we toured George Washington’s former estate, plantation, and burial site – Mt. Vernon. Prior to our trip, students watched both National Treasure movies which were filmed around D.C. and Virginia. We loved walking into the basement of Mt. Vernon to see where actor, Nicholas Cage, “kidnapped” the President in the second film! As one student put it, “my favorite part was the basement because we got to see the puzzles [engraved into the wall] from the movie.”
A beloved part of our trip happens when the sun goes down. On Friday and Saturday night we trekked out around D.C., stopping at the Washington Monument, Jefferson, MLK and Lincoln Memorials. At each memorial, we discussed what students have learned in their history classes as well as shared the history of the memorials. Upon seeing the Korean and Vietnam Memorials, several students noted how sad it was to see the many names of the fallen soldiers. At the memorials of our country’s great leaders, we discussed what it means to be memorialized. Though men like George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. were sinners, they were put in leadership positions by God and did great things to progress our country forward. We can celebrate their achievements while not condoning their sin.
It was quite providential that we visited the location of President Lincoln’s assassination on the anniversary of the assassination! During our visit to Ford’s Theater on Saturday, April 15th we learned the timeline of the day and got to walk through the theatre itself. It was so cool to see the Presidential Box that the Lincolns sat in the night the President was killed. We watched a two-man reenactment of the events leading up to the assassination. We were then ushered across the street to The Peterson House where the President’s body was taken, and he died. Students enjoyed seeing artifacts and replicas like that of his coffin and American flag that draped it.
An unexpected rainstorm occurred midday, so we took a brief reprieve in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum where we learned about the history of aviation and saw several airplanes – military and commercial.
On Sunday, we went to church at Immanuel Bible Church! It was great to set aside time to worship The Lord and discuss the Pastor’s sermon on the bus ride to our next stop – The National Archives. Students walked through the Archives’ Rotunda where the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and other founding documents are housed. We then walked around the Capital and Supreme Court Buildings. We prayed in groups for our local, state, and Federal Government!
Our last stop before heading home was the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The chaperones created a Scavenger Hunt challenging students in their museum groups to take selfies with the artifacts as they found them! Whoever found the most in one hour won! Students were very competitive, and they all did very well.
We look forward to continuing this trip in the coming years and reflecting on God’s goodness as He continues to protect our great nation.