By Edith Leung
Sandy, downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm, blew through DC on Monday night, leaving at least 11 dead and 5.3 million people without power. President Barack Obama canceled his campaign trip to Florida and rushed back to the White House to deal with the Sandy emergency.
The president warned East Coast Americans that “this is going to be a big and powerful storm,” but he believes all across the eastern seaboard appropriate preparations were being made.
The so-called “superstorm” is hitting tens of millions citizens living on the East Coast of the United States and has made landfall in New Jersey. In Washington D.C, the storm is strengthening as shops stay closed.
Our first morning in Washington D.C. was unforgettable. First stop the White House.
The feeling of standing in front of this white building that we had until this point seen on TV was amazing. I couldn’t believe I was standing outside the home of the American President. It felt like the President and I were only at an arm’s length from each other. Unbelievable.
The White House is a simple piece of architecture without any decorations. It is surrounded by a lawn and a fence. We were so lucky today that we could take some photos of the White House, because as we were finishing up and about to leave police officers appeared and ordered people not to take any photos of the White House.
To ordinary people, the White House is not just the home of the President, it’s a landmark in the U.S. Sure people come to the White House to take some photos, but we also saw people yelling the president’s name ‘Obama!’, hoping to grab the attention of the people inside the house, although it is impossible.
I saw a lot of police patrolling the area. One interesting thing to note about the police is that they don’t just arrest thieves, they are also here to protect the state. They are police for this area and are called ‘The Park Police’, though they have the power as the regular police force.
I also saw protesters camping out on a road near the White House. At the protesters’ tent, banners and posters posed questions of the government and voiced various opinions.
As we left the park I thought, Washington D.C. is truly democratic and respectful of everyone’s opinion.