There are many golden rules for travelers, advice that is given by others in order to improve your experience as an urban “explorer”. These norms and rules, basically relay in a set of rules, dictated by a universally accepted common sense; in the visitors’ good manners and in their respect for customs of their hosts country. For example, being respectful on the grounds of a war memorial and keeping a considerate silence in any religious temple. Those are some of the examples of the behavior that is expected from a well civilized guest. But, sometimes the respect of the visitors does not involve appreciation and respect for the values of the host country; I shall show respect in front of Mao Zedong’s mausoleum, but I have no admiration about his figure and the events that are associated to his life. In Washington, D.C. , I feel a compelling respect and a humbled admiration to the history of the United States and its’ people; it is a sincere reaction that emerges naturally. The values that are inspired in the famous Declaration of Independence, “We the people…”, are alive and they resound in every monument in Washington. This definitely is a city in which the “majesty of democracy” is present from the Lincoln Memorial to the smallest statue about the American Revolution. At Arlington National Cemetery, I was allowed to witness the dignity and honor represented by the institution of the U.S. Presidency. Also, I will never forget the Memorial Day Observance ceremony; the greeting of the President with the twenty-one-gun salute as “One out of many” was a knock in my mind that renewed my admiration towards a nation that I love as much as my own homeland. I uphold, that if after listening to the tune, “Day Is Done” at Arlington National Cemetery, you do not feel touched, there must be something missing in your mind and heart.
I am appreciating every single walk around D.C. There is always something that forces you to turn your head around, to stop and focus your gaze in a simple house or in the beauty of a museum’s architecture. From the simplicity of the Washington Memorial to the complexity of the Afro-American History museum’s façade. I want to return to Arizona with the complete satisfaction of having enjoyed every visit to a museum, every walk to my work, and every ride on the Metro. In a more transcendental aspect, I want to learn as much as I can. I will keep every lesson from my ASU team-mates and my co-workers and faculty at the National Defense University; not just to achieve a specific goal, but to be fortunate enough to be surrounded by a great group of bright people that always reveal a new point of view. I want to acquire the knowledge that will allow me to––in near future–– work to strengthen the excellent ties of friendship that already exist between my country––Spain––and the United States. Both countries share the same democratic values–– even a shared history –– that perhaps is not well known; a bond as old as any other nation partnered with the U.S.
Every day in Washington is an adventure, modest, though a little deed. It may be a simple fact like not skipping your Metro Station or struggling to refilling your Metro card, to appreciate the deep respect that the American people have for their men and women in uniform; a respect that extends to all those in public service. The remembrance of those who have served their nation resulting in the United States becoming the greatest democracy––never faltering–– on Earth.
In my condition as a foreigner, every hour that I spend in my internship work-place and with my ASU Capital Scholar team-mates is a lesson. This has been a very vertiginous week, there are many experiences to highlight, but above all of them, the most enriching experience to me has been how to relate with new people in a professional environment. Thus, it seems a plain lesson, however, personally, I have to overcome two important obstacles: the language and the cultural barriers. Nevertheless, I am convinced that after my sojourn in Washington as a ASU Capital Scholar, I will be capable of confronting any cultural and professional obstacle I may be faced with in the future.