About a month into my many-month stay in DC, I decided to take public transportation later than I ever had in my life. At about 11:30 pm, my friends and I, excited for adventure, took the metro to the Washington Monument to see it in its nighttime glory. Cameras in hand and using starlight instead of sleep for energy, we laughed our way to our destination. When we got off the metro, we practically ran to the monument, snapping blurry pictures along the way. Practically the only people in sight, we walked right up to the monument, touching its stones and craning our necks to see the top. I literally hugged the Washington Monument, which wasn’t as socially unacceptable as it would have been had there been people around.
As we meandered toward the World War II Memorial, taking a more somber aura, we saw a manifestation of our country’s sacrifices dimly lit and at peace. With the sound of the fountain and some distant voices as our only soundtrack, it felt so personal. This was our home. This was the quiet place that was left behind after the throngs of tourists were gone. This was an experience that was once only a dream for us.
We made the long 2 o’clock AM trek back to the metro station, where we boarded an empty car and came back to the subdued campus that each of us had chosen to experience these four years in. I went to sleep content with my month in DC, hopeful for the many months to come, and excited for the next time I feel inspired to visit the symbols of my country cloaked in night.