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Ridgeview Navy JROTC visit nation’s capital

For Clay Today
Posted 3/30/23

Ridgeview High Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets took its annual four-day educational field trip to Washington. D.C.

Last year they went to Naval Air Station Key West. This year …

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Ridgeview Navy JROTC visit nation’s capital


Ridgeview High Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets took its annual four-day educational field trip to Washington. D.C.

Last year they went to Naval Air Station Key West. This year they had just returned from Washington, D.C. Before the trip; the cadets researched all 19 museums, memorials and monuments they planned to visit.

The cadets arrived on Wednesday, March 22, and toured the U.S. Marine Corps Museum in Triangle, Virginia. They learned about the Corp’s history and its important role in our nation’s defense.

Then they traveled another hour and arrived at the Jefferson Memorial in the evening. One cadet commented that being in Washington, D.C. alone was surreal; standing in front of a 19-foot statue of Thomas Jefferson under a 102-foot-wide portico surrounded by 54 massive columns was overwhelming. The cadets knew they were looking at something special; after all, he was the author of the Declaration of Independence and was the third president.

The next day the cadets toured the Capitol building, the Supreme Court, and the Library of Congress. They were amazed as they viewed more than 6,000 ancient books that Thomas Jefferson donated from his library to start the Congressional Library. The cadets then headed to Arlington Cemetery to view John F. Kennedy’s grave and eternal flame, and they observed the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

They also stopped at the Marine Corps Monument of the marines raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi after the hard-fought World War II battle for Iwo Jima. Then in the evening, the cadets visited the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial.

On Day 3, cadets were most impressed by the National Navy Museum in the old Washington Navy Shipyard. The cadets were fortunate. Because of heightened securing restrictions, only a few civilians are now allowed into the yard to see the museum. However, they learned that the Navy played a crucial role in building the nation when George Washington ordered the nation’s first Navy Shipyard built on the Potomac “because there was an abundant source of prime timber.”

The cadets headed to the new Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia, and saw thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, a Blackbird SR-71 and a Concorde in two large hangars. They saw all the Navy’s fighters from Vietnam, Top Gun’s Tom Cat, Top Gun Maverick’s F/A 18 and the latest F-35 Lightning.

The then cadets headed to the National Holocaust Museum, which was the most sobering visit of all, mainly since the cadets had studied this the week before and watched an account by an old man describe what a horror it was like to be a young boy in a German Concentration camp.

The cadets visited the U.S. Navy Memorial and Museum on the last day. Here they gained insight into the Navy’s significant role in American history and national defense. The next building nearby was the National Archives, where the cadets viewed some of the most important documents of our country, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the first Constitution. They also saw one of only four copies of England’s Magna Carta and an original Gutenberg Bible. Their visits to the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, and the White House visitor’s center were also very informative. After this packed schedule, the cadets headed to the huge Pentagon City Mall for some shopping and supper before boarding the bus for the all-night trip home.

Cadets Eric Quezada, Sumayah Lambey and Jackson Willis contributed to this article.