Throwback Thursday

Back in 2008, I joined a Global Young Leaders Conference or GYLC program me in the USA. Back then, I was considered new to speaking English, only started speaking the language daily since 2005 when I first moved to Singapore. I visited a place in Washington D.C. that completely changed the way I see national monuments.

The whole point of the two-week programme was to know how global leaders and various organizations in the United Nations come together and try to solve the world’s problems. I learned quite a lot, of course. I can’t tell how much I learned from the programme in a single post. I was really new to everything. I was 17 years old and I only realised the importance of reading the newspaper then.

I spent most of the time listening to my group mates and the mentor talking about strategies to solve various world problems. I mean, to tell the truth, I was afraid to voice out my opinion. What if whatever I said was completely irrelevant? I didn’t even volunteered on anything. But my group mates were really friendly and I made (for the first time) friends from out of Asia. A big shock for me, actually.

World crisis aside, one thing that sticks to my head was the trip to the different monuments and museums in Washington DC. I remember visiting the Lincoln Memorial and was completely blown away! I couldn’t describe how I was feeling when I stood in front of the giant statue of Abraham Lincoln. I could only say that I felt so small in the memorial. Back in the bus after visiting the memorial, one of the mentors said that the giant structure made her feel like she was there in the past. That made sense to me because I felt the sensation like I was not just in memorial building, but I was part of the history. I agreed to her and nodded my head a few times, only to realise I was the only one listening and nodding to her in the bus. Everyone else was talking with their friends.

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On the more serious note though, later I learned that the structure has so much details and meaning to it. I didn’t take note how many pillars there were or why the monument looked like a Greek temple. Every details were made for many reasons including the way Lincoln sits. I only wish to visit the place again when I have the chance. I know that I am no American, but that history of democracy literally echoed throughout the modern world. When something changed the world, memorials like the Lincoln Memorial reminds us of it. The reason why there is such memorial is for the new generation to learn and not take advantage of what we subconsciously enjoy in our world today.

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This brings me back to the reason why I visit places I visit. When I travel I choose destinations that would make my travel companions laugh. I visit local universities for the fact that breakthrough must have happened there or monuments that maybe abandoned but were built for a certain meaning, at least to the older generations.

Can anyone share with me the places with such meaning from where you come from?

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