My experience: Mount Vernon

Yesterday [July 28], I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to bike about 26 miles from Bethesda, Md. to Mount Vernon, Va. to see George Washington’s estate. For being someone who does not like the outdoors, I actually found the 26-mile trek beautiful, surreal and peaceful. We biked through Georgetown, over the bridge to Arlington, around the national monuments and through Old Town Alexandria until we reached our destination. It was all quite exhilarating and rewarding. It tested my boundaries, and I found out that, when put to the test, my body and mind are far more strong than I thought.

Once we arrived to Mount Vernon, I was very excited to not only see how people lived during our country’s founding years, but also see the house of our first president— the founder of this nation’s liberty.

The house itself was not as grand or appealing as I thought it would be. I think that is because I have a modern day conception of what “grand” and “appealing” is, but I must remember this is the 1700s we are talking about.

One thing I really did like about his home was the view. It was breathtaking. I can only imagine how beautiful it was back then, when so much of nature was still untouched.

As my family and I continued to walk around Mount Vernon, I kept thinking about how George Washington walked the grounds I was on over 200 years ago. What a weird concept. To think how many people over the years have walked that ground, and how many more will walk it in the future.

Former president George Washington is long gone, but still after almost 213 years, his legacy lives on. He is the first president of the United States, great fighter and the creator of the first democracy. He also set the precedent for peaceful secession from presidency [or the thrown if you will]— a concept unheard of in that time.

He was no saint, that is for sure [he had hundreds of slaves on his premise]. But, still, he did great things. He was a visionary for his time.

As I walked around Mount Vernon, this is what I thought about— the legacy we create, whether it be the legacy of our generation, family or individual accomplishments.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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