Week 1 – by Lachlan Poel
So week one of our internships has been completed, and we’re all still alive, employed and enjoying ourselves. I’m sitting here on Saturday evening Washington time putting this together whilst Adam whips up a feast and Georgia finds the photographs from our sightseeing today.
Thursday saw the official start of the 116th Congress. New members were sworn in and the new House began to start passing bills in an attempt to reopen the government. My office, Congressman Ryan’s, along with many others, had a open office filled with food and drinks (free lunch!) and this saw the influx of many lobbyists, as well as members of the public. On Friday, Georgia got a tour of the Capitol Building and had the fantastic opportunity to explore many of the areas that are closed to the public and Adam, working in a Senator’s office, had the important job of playing mailman and began to network with legislative assistants within the office.
Saturday saw our first opportunity for sightseeing. With many of the attractions in DC closed due to the government shutdown, we ventured out to Arlington National Cemetery for the day. Arlington was incredibly breathtaking, with the sombre mood enveloping the entire grounds on quite a cold, gloomy day. One amazing experience that we were lucky enough to view was the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with the honour guard rotating in a ceremonial display of military like precision. We were also able to view the memorial for JFK and the eternal flame that burns above his grave. I personally never had realised how large the cemetery actually was and to see rows upon rows of headstones was very sobering when you considered how many soliders were laid to rest at Arlington.
At this stage, tomorrow’s plans are pretty relaxed, with a trip in the afternoon down the mall to visit the White House, Capitol and the Washington Monument. We’re all pretty tired so I think we will appreciate the sleep in! That’s all from us right now from Washington DC, hopefully have another blog post late next week.