“On the Road Again”
To begin, I have to note that I did borrow the title of Willie Nelson’s hit “On the Road Again” for my own title as Lanesboro’s Class of 2012 was recently “traveling places that [they’ve] never been.” In the early morning of March 28, my class and I left our homes behind and embarked on an adventure that would change us forever.
Leaving behind the small-town atmosphere of southeastern Minnesota, in just a few hours we found ourselves in the “windy city”, Chicago, making our way to the top of Willis Tower and touring Millennium Park. Later that day, we traveled several more miles to tour part of the Notre Dame campus before settling down for the evening in Ohio.
An early morning wake-up call the next day landed us in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the location of the bloody, three-day battle of the civil war where Union and Confederate soldiers clashed. Two days in Gettysburg was only enough time to explore a small fraction of the 6,000 acre battlefield with its many monuments and expansive history. This sacred ground proved to be a favorite highlight of our eighteen student group. As you can ask anyone in our small tour group, the events we experienced at Gettysburg on our tour impacted everyone deeply.
Not only did the cross-country tour teach us a lot about our country’s history, but we also experienced some of the beauty our country has to offer. After leaving Gettysburg we were able to drive through a portion of Shenandoah National Park and proceed through the Blue Ridge Mountains until we arrived for our overnight stay in Charlottesville, Virginia. The next day we began our exploration of Virginia’s landmarks including the breathtaking mountain top view of Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. In the afternoon we made our way to colonial Williamsburg, Virginia for a look inside the Royal Governor’s Palace and the rest of the historic town.
On April Fools’ Day we finally made it to our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. For the next four days, the District of Columbia would serve as home for Lanesboro’s seniors. Tours of downtown Washington D.C. which included many monuments, memorials, the Capitol building, the White House, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress and many other sites were a great chance for discovery of our nation’s prestigious, large-scale landmarks. Among them were the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, and the Korean War Memorial.
In addition to viewing many sites and monuments in Washington D.C., the Lanesboro senior class was able to attend a number of special events. The first was an informative, entertaining, and engaging viewing of the Ford Theatre’s production of “1776,” a capturing theatrical performance of how our founding fathers struggled with the decision to proclaim independence. Secondly, another special event was a dinner-dance cruise on the Potomac River aboard the Riverboat “Dandy.” Finally, one of the most life altering experiences was the changing of the guard and wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
Before departing for Minnesota we had the opportunity for independent discovery in the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Smithsonian American History Museum, and the National Gallery of Art.
Traveling homebound for Minnesota was an emotional time for everyone as we reflected on how we had spent the past nine days of our lives. Since our days together as classmates in elementary school seeing senior classes leave and return from this once-in-a-life-time adventure, we longed for our turn. Personally, I can say that these were the fastest nine days of my life. I can also say that we, as a class, took full advantage of this unique journey. For this, I owe a special thank you to our great travel guide and life-long teacher Dave Zimmer and our chaperones John Smith and Chris Knutson. Some recognition also needs to be directed towards one of the best drivers on our interstates, Mark Kumpf who has a ‘HUGE’ variety of skills when driving a 55+ passenger bus.
In the back of our minds we all knew that we have under two months left together as seniors before we venture our separate ways. Looking at the recap of our senior class trip above, there are a number of untold stories (some of them emotional, some sad, and some comical) that the Class of 2012 can fill in the spaces. With these memories anchored in our minds, they bond us together as a family, now and forever.
“On the Road Again”