When I was 14 years old, my dad took me on a 2 week trip to eastern Europe. Easily one of the most transformative experiences of my life for many reasons.
But one moment stands out in particular.
After having been in the Eastern bloc (Soviet Union, Poland, and East Germany), we arrived in West Berlin and went to the Checkpoint Charlie museum. From there, we could see the famous sign "you are now leaving the American Sector" and I remember thinking, for the first time, how lucky I was to have been born in a free society and be an American.
It's something that I never take for granted and it's one of the reasons why I have little patience for people who don't keep that perspective in mind when criticizing America vis a vis the rest of the world. Not saying everything is perfect, of course, but we have to keep the broader picture in mind.
All of this came rushing back today as I took Tikkanen to the Newseum. She had been there before but never had and I was just blown away by the quality and quantity of exhibits...the first of which is a section of the Berlin Wall, where I had the opportunity to frame for her why freedom is important and not to take it for granted.
The six floor are full of history and I found myself thinking "how the heck will I ever teach my kids even a portion of what's in here?" (and there was plenty I didn't know, of course.)
We sat for a long time in the 9/11 retrospective area, which has the antenna from the top of the WTC and I got chills, as I do often when I think of that day (as do many of us) and being in NYC.
We talked about the Scopes Monkey Trial, the Civil Rights Movement, Tiannamen Square, and much more.
The museum is really well done. Very interactive, digital/social savvy and has a ton of great kids activities.
Definitely not my last visit.
But, a museum that allows me to instill a trans-generational value...that's worth the price of admission (which wasn't cheap ;-)