A couple of years ago I packed my backpack with clothes, tossed it in the backseat of my car and hit the road with a good friend of mine. We were off to see Washington, DC. Neither of us had been there and we both thought it would be a great place to spend the weekend. This would be my second “Suicide Mission”, a term I coined to describe a roadtrip over 1,000 miles one way, only a couple of days spent at where ever we were going, with limited funds.
Sixteen hours of non-stop driving and we were there!
We stayed at a hostel located right in the heart of downtown. We only had the weekend to see everything we wanted, so after a quick nap we struck out on the town. It was already dark, so we didn’t get too far, but we were able to see the White House and began to familiarize ourselves with the area around our hostel.
The next day we began our adventure. Our first stop was the National Archives to see the Declaration of Indendence. After that we walked all over the Mall, seeing as much as we were able to; the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the United States Capitol and everything in between. We met up with a friend of mine who took us to Georgetown and introduced us to the Metro. We ate lunch at the Watergate Hotel.
We spent an entire two days canvassing DC. If it was a national monument, we were going to see it. The last evening we were there we went to Arlington Cemetary to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After that we headed over to John F. Kennedy’s Eternal Flame.
By now it was late and getting dark, but there was one more monument on our list; the Iwo Jima Memorial. Both of us were exhausted. We were tired and starting to get indignant. Both of us wanted to see the monument, but my friend wasn’t feeling well. I tried encouraging him but at that point it was no use. We’d spent more time walking than either of us ever had in our lives. It was cold and it was dark. We were ready to go home, but we had to see this monument, so off we went.
After what felt like the longest walk of the trip, we eventually found the monument, and our excitment and energy returned. We had successfully accomplished exactly what we set out to do. We revelled in our success for a brief moment, the struck out again to find the nearest Metro station.
Upon returning home to Wisconsin, my friend found out that he was sick with pneumonia. Despite his illness, he stuck to our plans. Even when quitting would have been the easy thing to do, neither of us gave up and we will always remember that trip and especially the feeling of success when we finally made it to the Iwo Jima Memorial. That’s determination.