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-To America and back – and fond memories forever!

The United States of America is widely considered to be the world’s most powerful nation. Its sheer

size, the might of its economy and its military prowess are very impressive. Add to that, its varied

geographical landscape, its top-notch educational institutions, its monuments, and, of course,

Hollywood, and you have a tourist’s paradise.

Recently, I had a chance to visit the US, along with other students of my school. We had a great time,

checking out the many spots of tourist interest. Here are some of the places I visited:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

As one of the most sought-after universities, MIT lives up to, and beyond, the expectations of people. The sight of students walking hastily in the corridors to reach their classrooms in time was one I was familiar with, and that brought a smile to my face. The building’s walls had noticeboards, upon which all sorts of posters, advertisements and art of the students were put up.

The variety of departments in just technology left me stunned as I walked by them. Some of them were Aeronautics, Biological Engineering, Material Science, Computer Science, etc. The professors and other staff of the university were very welcoming, and, in fact, gave short tours of their departments and gave out brochures for students who may be interested in these subjects in the years to come.

Statue of Liberty

It was personally an honour for me to be in the presence of a gift that is also one of the greatest symbols of freedom and democracy. I am talking about the majestic Statue of Liberty. It is historically significant, and, furthermore, it is a gift given by France to the US. You have to take a ferry in order to reach Liberty Island, and the view from the ferry itself was absolutely amazing.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t as crowded as one would think it would be, and we were able to get a good view of the statue. There were a few stores on the island too, from where we were able to get some souvenirs.

Times Square

This was definitely my favourite visit! I can understand why it is such an attraction for tourists. The wide streets, jammed with people, catch your eye as soon as you arrive. The next thing I noticed were the huge billboards with flashing lights, showcasing advertisements of all kinds of corporations.

The number of stores would trigger the shopaholic in anyone!

We saw people putting up a show for spectators. Times Square can be described as a commercial spot, but I choose to view it as a beautiful union of diverse groups of people, performances and culture.

The United Nations Headquarters

We got extremely lucky when we visited the UN Headquarters -- we received a guided tour by one of the staffers of the UN Secretariat, Mr Ben Danieli. The tour was truly enthralling as we learnt about several aspects of the UN, such as its creation, its different organs, its aim and its current efforts. Mr Danieli explained how the UN aims to maintain international peace and security, protect human rights, deliver humanitarian aid, support sustainable development and uphold international law, and

how this is being achieved through discussions within the General Assembly, and various economic

and social bodies.

The major decisions are taken by the members of the Security Council, and the Secretariat later

implements these decisions. As we learnt about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, we were

also made aware of the sad truth that not even one of these 17 goals will be achieved by 2030,

according to the current statistics. In fact, we are not even slightly close to achieving any one of

these goals. It made me commit myself to doing whatever I can to improve the lot of people on this

planet. As we left, we were given free posters and other stationery to expand our knowledge of the

Un, and its work.

National September 11 Memorial and Museum

This was constructed in memory of those killed in the September 11 attacks of 2001. The names of those who died are inscribed on panels. It was very upsetting to see the sheer number of people who were killed in this act of horrific violence. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is a well-deserved tribute to all those who were killed, who risked their lives for others, and the family members of the victims.

The 9/11 attacks might have happened over 20 years ago, but I personally feel the world has not learnt many lessons since then. There is still so much violence around the globe. I visited both the UN Headquarters and the 9/11 memorial, and it just shows that despite our efforts to achieve global security and peace, we still have not reached anywhere -- there are miles and miles for us to go.

I will always remember my trip to the US with fondness – I hope to go there again soon. I also hope and pray that we, in India, also achieve economic prosperity, the way the US has. That will happen only if there is peace, justice and communal harmony in all parts of the country. Jai Hind!

By Rose Kappan

Class 9

Rajagiri Public School, Kochi, Kerala

Rose is interested in public speaking, debates, elocution and extempore speeches. She takes a keen interest in current events, and is also fond of writing poetry.


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