By Jacob Salamanca
Special to the Gazette
Jacob Salamanca is a senior at Fenway High School on Mission Hill. He went with his classmates to the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. last month. Below is a written account of his trip.
Going to Washington, D.C. was an incredible experience. It took nine long hours on the bus to get down there from Boston. It was my first protest with masses of people and I did not know what to expect. All of us were really tired so in spite of the anticipation of the march the next day, we fell right to sleep at the hotel.
The next morning we woke up early to do some sightseeing. First we went to see the Lincoln Memorial. It felt so ominous and bigger than life. Next we visited the Vietnam memorial and WWII memorial. Both made us feel sad and evoked a strong sense of melancholy. Then we went to see the Washington Monument which gave me a powerful feeling of patriotism, especially the way it rose up in the center of the capitol. I also saw the beautiful cherry blossoms that lined the Potomac River.
All this was the backdrop that led to the march. The bus dropped us off and we walked to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House and the Capitol Building. There were millions and millions of people everywhere. People from all generations, all different creeds and backgrounds, all holding signs, all unified against gun violence. I stood with my sign, along with my fellow Fenway students in solidarity and excitement. The speakers were extraordinary – they spoke with such passion that it brought tears to many people’s eyes. My favorite speaker was Emma Gonzalez whose strategy was to use silence to bring her message. I also appreciated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s granddaughter, Yolanda, whose dream was #EnoughIsEnough. I felt like I was part of the zeitgeist, of something that was bigger than me. Putting an end to gun violence was important to all of us, but for me this day made me realize how I was not alone in fighting against the horrors that are happening in this nation and the gun violence that has afflicted our country.
Tired and hungry, the trip home was long. But in the end, I felt I had accomplished something special and had experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event. I intend to keep on fighting for things that matter to me.