- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

When I took my seat on the Metro to go to work the other day, I noticed a family of tourists hop on quickly behind me. The parents anxiously scanned the car for a few seats that were close to one another.

After they were seated, I noticed the children, water bottles in hand. One of the younger ones met my gaze. He had the look you find on the faces of the very young who have traveled very far: complete exhaustion coupled with delirious excitement.

When the train pulled into Union Station, the family hustled off, and I lost sight of them in the waves of people.

As I walked through the station, I tried to pinpoint all the tourists in the crowd. Some were racing up escalators, yelling at children to slow down. Others stood in silence, looking up at the sights all around, perhaps seeing, for the first time, places they had only read about.

A huge crowd circled a bus stop, eager to see the rest of the city. Parents put their children in front of monuments, waving at them to look at the camera as they snapped pictures.

I felt a twinge of pride swell up inside.

I’m not visiting D.C. for a few hours. I am working here, and I’ll be through Union Station many times this summer. I will get to experience every day what these families try to soak up in a few hours. I see the kids on the Metro watching me, clad in my serious suit and carrying my no-nonsense briefcase, a slight sense of awe on their faces.

Little do they know that in the briefcase is my own camera loaded with pictures of monuments. Little do they know that while I might look official in my suit, inside I’m bursting with excitement. Little do they know that as an intern in D.C. for the summer, I’m every bit the tourist they are.

Joshua Rutledge is in the Samford University Class of ‘08.

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