During last week’s post I was in such a food coma that I forgot to even mention one of the great highlights of my week. All of the AAPD interns were able to visit the FDR Memorial and have a guided tour from a blind gentleman who went through many of the struggles making the memorial the way it is today. The reason I say struggles is because many individuals when they were creating a memorial did not want to showcase FDR’s disability. People felt that should we build a memorial of him in his wheelchair that it would show him as weak. Throughout FDR’s presidency he struggled with his post polio condition that left him unable to stand and walk at times. I believe the statistic that our guide shared was that although there were 4000 photos of FDR taken only two showed him in his wheelchair. It was something that he had hid to many. However, it is important for the disability community to show that side of him and memorialize that side to encourage those with disabilities to chase their dreams and reassure them that they can do anything that they want to do, even become President. In the end, disability advocates won and there is a bronze statue of FDR in his wheelchair and a replica of it in the gift shop. The whole monument was very moving, and a must see if you are ever to visit Washington DC.
Throughout this week I was able to go around and visit a lot of different branches within the Department of Education. I was able to go over to a separate education building and learn more about their Alternative Dispute Resolution Center and how it functions. I hope someday that I would be able to get a career in field very much like this. I also was able to go over to the Office for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and learn more about a potential project that I may be handling in the future. All in all, it was a very busy week.
For all of you that know me, I did manage to find some playtime in with all that work. On Friday some of the interns and myself held a barbecue in the park across the street from the dormitory that we’re staying in. Oh how I have missed the taste of grilled meat! (After all I am a Midwest boy) on Saturday we were lucky enough to get tickets to the Nationals double-header baseball game and to sit in the Verizon box, as that they are a supporter of AAPD. I must admit sitting in a box right behind home plate was very cool; however, with travel time and the games I was gone for 11 hours and that made for a long day. I might have pushed a little too hard as that on Sunday I had to stay in bed all day sick. However, today is the Fourth of July and as I’m writing this I’m getting ready to watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the capital stairs. With that in mind, I better get going! Happy Fourth of July America!