The Constitution Comes Alive in D.C. – Capital Appreciation

The Constitution Comes Alive in D.C. – Capital Appreciation

In finance, capital appreciation is the term used to describe the increased value of your money over a period of time. But maybe, just maybe, it has another meaning!

For me, my capital appreciation, occurred last spring when I agreed to be a chaperone on my grandson’s eighth grade trip to Washington, D. C. I was excited to go. You can imagine that he was less excited to have his grandfather on his class trip. I’m sure George (that’s my grandson) thought: “How embarrassing!

The White House
The class visited the White House. Construction on the White House began in 1792 and was completed in 1800.
The 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon
We visited the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon. A serene and understated site, it is dedicated to the 184 federal employees, military personnel, civilians, and flight crew, aged 3 to 71 years old killed in the attack


I came to school in the U.S. from my native Canada and eventually decided that I would become a U.S. citizen. I am proud of my decision, have never for a second regretted it, and, as proof of my commitment, I cheer for the U.S. Olympic hockey team! That should say it all to those who know me well.

U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Although not a part of the country’s historic monuments, the visit to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum reminded us how important the Constitution is in ensuring the liberties we enjoy in this country. The section on the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was especially interesting to me, as my father was with the British Liberation Army that liberated the camp near the end of WWII.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
The stone block and carving at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is evocative of his enduring legacy. I have always loved his brilliant use of words. My favorite is, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”


Anyway, back to the trip. I had been in Washington a number of times over my professional and academic career. Typically however, it meant flying in to D.C., meeting followed by meeting, and then flying out again. I saw a number of the monuments from the window of the cab.

This time, however, it would be different! The trip was four days, and it was packed with visits to museums and historical sights. Frankly, the days were longer and busier than any business trip I had been on in D.C. For example, we started at 8 a.m. the second day, and after a full day and evening of visits, got to the Jefferson monument at 9:30 that evening. Exhausting but exhilarating capital appreciation.

In a visit to the Capitol Building, we saw debates in both the Senate and the House. I was unaware that there was a tunnel connecting the Capitol Building and the Library of Congress. The Library is the most beautiful building we visited. It honors Thomas Jefferson, and is second only to the British Library in the size of its collection. It acquires research material from around the world in more than 450 languages.

We toured the monument and then, shortly after 10 p.m., we had a former student from George’s school give us a talk. He is now on President Obama’s legal staff. He told us the story of being hit by a car during his time in law school and spending a year in the hospital recovering. He talked about his commitment to serve the country. Very inspiring.

Lincoln Memorial
It was hard not to be moved by the visits to the Lincoln Memorial and Ford’s Theater.

We hit all the biggies: the White House, the Presidential monuments, the Smithsonian, the war memorials (including the 9/11 monument at the Pentagon), the National Archives, Ford’s Theatre, the Holocaust Museum, and Arlington National Cemetery, among others.

Arlington National Ceremony
Our visit to Arlington National Ceremony was a solemn reminder of the price of freedom. We visited the grave of one of the school’s alumni. The official title of the church we also visited is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the Diocese of Washington, but is more commonly know as the Washington National Cathedral. Some famous funerals have been held there, including that of President Woodrow Wilson, the only U.S. president buried in D.C. We visited the John F. Kennedy grave site in Arlington, and watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
FDR Memorial
The 7.5 acres Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial celebrates 12 years of history with Roosevelt quotes etched into rock placed amid accessible running water and pools.

I was responsible for “shepherding” my grandson and several of his classmates. Only the excitement of watching them see some of the monuments for the first time kept me going. And, I confess, it was my own, “capital appreciation” time.

As a new American, I learned so much about the history and traditions of the country on this visit. Actually being in this truly beautiful city, and the size and majesty of the monuments, made it quite emotional, if exhausting experience. For me, above all, the Constitution came alive as Capital Appreciation!

-Dr. Rick Oliver, CEO of American Sentinel University