We are seven days into the trip and have enjoyed visiting numerous locations thus far! So far this week we have toured the Newseum, a museum dedicated to journalism and media, we had lunch with CNN Senior White House Correspondent, Joe Johns, met with the communications director of Arlington before touring the cemetery and toured the press boxes at the Washington Nationals game before watching the Nationals beat the White Sox with a home run in the ninth inning.
Sophomore student and Broadcast major, T.J. Terrell said, “Online media and print media go hand and hand but it’s looking as if print media is more respected. I’m not sure if this is due to the internet not being around for long enough or if you can document printed media in a better way. But as I saw at the Newseum yesterday when they first got into video media for television it wasn’t seen as very respectable either but it aged like fine wine. Hopefully one day we can make it documentable online media without people ruining this new age of media. Right now we are living in an age where people are looking at media and saying ‘fake news fake news’ because some journalists cannot be trusted because of telling the truth — they are telling their truth which is causing an honest mass confusion of people. ”
After visiting the Newseum on Monday, they spent their lunch on Tuesday with Joe Johns before touring Arlington.
Alexandria Swanger, a communications assistant from the Office of University Communications, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed lunch today with Joe Johns, CNN’s Senior White House correspondent, because he was so easy to speak with. I appreciated his unfaltering commitment to staying neutral despite anyone’s political affiliation, and he had the presence of a man who, yes might call you out on something, but not condemn you for it. He was calm, cool and collected, and I found that relaxing. I am sure after so long in the business that comes naturally to some but not to others as I have witnessed during various occurrences when dealing with those in important positions.”
Each student in the class expressed awe at the solemn and striking atmosphere of Arlington.
Senior Abagael Murphy, senior with an area in Mass Communication from Lebanon, Ky. wrote, “We got there, and I was automatically amazed. Every stone is so perfectly placed that there is a clear line going down each direction. They are all the exact same height, width and placed perfect distance from each other. We went into the welcome center to meet with Kerry Meeker, the media chief for Arlington. She spoke with us about her job and what all it entails, her day-to-day duties and responsibilities as well as an “in” on what is up and coming for the cemetery.
“She explained something that I hadn’t ever really thought about. The cemetery is running out of land. Of course, you have to assume that would eventually happen, being that people die every single day, and they perform around seven-eight live funerals each day.”
C.J. Burgess, a senior with a Broadcast major from Campbellsville, Ky. Said, “Personally, the eternal flame made me rethink on when he was assassinated and what a tragedy it was for America. I wasn’t even thought of when it happened, but seeing his grave and memorial, I could feel what the people felt on that day. Another cool thing we saw was the changing at the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The ceremony was a great example of how seriously those soldiers take their job at guarding the tomb. Arlington National Cemetery was a great experience that I hope everyone gets the opportunity to experience.”
Jay Davis, a senior with a film major and broadcast minor from Elizabethtown, Ky. said, “I used to wonder where my parents were going to be buried. My father and mother served in the military up until they had their last two kids, myself and my little brother. I never like to think about my parents physically leaving for good, but in this world, sadly, that’s the nature of things.
“I got to go to Arlington Memorial Cemetery today with the group and the aura of reverence and solemnness gave me chills. It’s amazing what we do to respect the dead who have fought for our country. I will say, rightfully so, I believe that there are a group of people who feel the calling to serve their country through combat. I don’t believe that feeling is in my bones.
“I believe I can serve the country in other ways. I want to help people less fortunate than me and give opportunities to people who wouldn’t get them otherwise. I believe that is my calling, as well as contributing to the happiness and wellbeing of others. My middle name literally means joy. But the bravery it takes to put on that uniform and take the risk of not coming home fascinates me. These are a special kind of people, and they deserve respect despite any political stances. I learned today that my parents are eligible to be buried in Arlington Cemetery, but I don’t know if they will take that opportunity. I want to go back and search for other family members who have served, just to see who all is connected to me there.
“Unlike the Newseum, I wasn’t so depressed here. This was more of a reflection, and the utmost respect for some of the bravest people to walk this planet. I also got to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The changing of the guards was fantastic and though I heard about it from my mother, nothing tops the actual experience. The respect the soldiers had for their job, and the preciseness they had while guarding the tomb was indescribable. There was even an instance where a man had crossed over the chain just before a ceremony. The sentinel looked over to him and in the most respectful authoritative and solemn whisper, he asked him to step outside of the chains. While the volume was low, his voice rattled through the ground and everyone around knew that was not where they wanted to be. This experience trumps everything else I’ve been a part of today.
“I just think about how much training goes into making the Third Infantry and the amount of reverence our country places on the dead who served. I believe that’s one of the few things the United States consistently does right. I feel like if we take some of the values that can be learned from observing those procedures, we can improve how we treat ALL people. I became more grateful for my parents’ service today, and God bless anyone with family who has served or is serving now.”
Nicholas Van Der Meer, a senior with a broadcast major, said, “Arlington National Cemetery proved to easily be one of the best experiences so far, even considering that we didn’t get to see nearly as much as we had hoped due to arriving roughly two hours later than originally planned. Despite this, our tour proved to be an incredibly humbling experience. To refer to the cemetery as ‘America’s shrines to those who honorably served our nation’ is incredibly accurate, and perhaps even then still an understatement. Arlington, in my opinion, is perhaps one of the single greatest embodiments of our nation’s reverence and respect for those who have served our nation. The Eternal Flame for J.F.K. was a prime example of how highly we hold presidents service.
“The Tomb of the Unknown was easily the high point of the visit for me. Seeing the changing of the guard, alongside a wreath ceremony, was unexpectedly and astoundingly powerful to witness, given my life growing up surrounded by the military. Though I may not have the highest opinion of what our nation has pursued militarily over the past few years, I have the utmost respect for what those in our armed forces do and risk in their duty, and being present to witness the ceremony dedicated to those lost and undocumented almost brought me to tears. This trip also made me wonder, when his time comes, whether my grandfather would want to be interred at Arlington, given his status as a World War II veteran.
Had we more time, I do wish I could have seen the Iwo Jima memorial, among others.”
Students will continue to their week and visit the Capital Building, National Geographic Headquarters and a host of other locations.