THE THREE BRANCHES OF THE US GOVERNMENT
When we developed our plan to visit the Washington D.C., on top of our list was visiting the home of the three branches of the government. Having a husband who is a political wonk, it was quite understandable. A day in our household is not complete without us watching the news and updating ourselves with the current events as they unfold. While I am usually content to just watch the recent happenings, my husband most of the time augments his TV viewing with political commentaries. He loves it, and he is rubbing it off on me.
We definitely wanted to see the official residence and principal workplace of the US President; thus, two months before our planned trip we wrote our Senator’s office to request for a tour of the White House. We didn’t know if we would be approved or not; every day of the wait made us eventually a bundle of nerves. To calm ourselves, we would tease each other, use our imagination, which my husband refers to as “mentally teleporting”, and dream of the impossible.
Finally, the most awaited day came. A week before our flight, we received a letter from the White House informing us that we didn’t make the cut. Due to a big number of requests for tours in the summer, at least 5 months advanced notice was required, and, unfortunately, we fell short.
Nevertheless, we still pushed through with our plan to see the White House, albeit, we just stayed behind its gate surrounded by other tourists and a number of US Secret Service Agents on duty.
While we didn’t see any member of the First family, not even their shadow, we were lucky enough to see Bo (the family’s dog) roaming around the grounds.
For us it was quite momentous to see up close and personal the historic White House. It was hard not to imagine how many leaders had lived and made history – and still do – in this important landmark. I would not have thought that one day I would visit it, especially when I first applied for a US Tourist Visa years ago, and was denied. Isn’t life so dynamic? In retrospect, I was reminded of Justice Secretary Sonia Sotomayor’s words, and I quote, “Our current situations do not define our destiny. Happy endings are possible.”
I feel truly grateful!
Among the three branches, it was the Capitol that we explored the most. Given the opportunity to tour the building (Thanks to our Senator), we learned a lot about the history and working of the Congress. What we consider the most exciting part of our tour was the visit to the viewing galleries –both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Watching our Representatives in action, while at work, was quite an experience.
Coincidentally, I was reading, and won over by the book of Justice Secretary Sonia Sotomayor, “My Beloved World”; thus, during our trip, I insisted that a visit to the Supreme Court be on our top priority. Just next to the Capitol building stands the Supreme Court which has the classical Corinthian styled architecture. Everything about it we found remarkable – from the massive marble building to its impeccable cleanliness. Even its staff were very accommodating.
The interior of the building was filled with symbolic ornamentations which were on display for public viewing. Large statues and paintings were a sight to behold. My favorite was the large statue of John Marshall in the middle of the hall on the first floor. The Courtroom, where all arguments take place, was located on the second floor. The Courtroom was smaller than I thought, but nonetheless, still its atmosphere demands great reverence.
It took us two days to complete our tour of the three branches of the US government. The journey demanded incessant walking; however, given the sense of uncounted accomplishments we experienced, I must say, the enduring pain of our barking feet and sunburns were all worth it.
Thanks for reading. I hope you are well.