Hasta La Próxima

Today is my last day at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park. This summer has been very enriching and eye opening in a way that I could never have expected.

I’ve learned many lessons while being in Charleston. On the actual educational side, I’ve learned a lot about the Civil War, about slavery, and about how South Carolina got to being the great state that it is. I’ve learned about ecosystems and animals, and how every creature works to better the life of another on this planet. I’ve learned about birds! So many of them! All the same yet very different. But aside from the educational, I’ve grown a lot emotionally. 

My favorite thing to learn about during my internship was people. The people I come from, the people I work with, the people around me; they all influence my life in so many ways. At the beginning of my internship I struggled a lot with finding my place here. I couldn’t see how I fit in and I felt as though I didn’t belong. But as time has gone by, I’ve begun to like it more and more. I feel like I can really make changes here. 

It is with a heavy heart that I am returning to Florida, because I’ve grown to really enjoy my job and the people that I work with. They have taught me a great deal about friendship, leadership, and compassion. When I arrived, they welcomed me with open arms. When I felt discouraged about the impact I could make, they encouraged me all the way through my projects. I thought that coming here I would change the lives of a few people on staff because I thought I could teach them something about kindness or inclusion, but I hadn’t considered that the staff here might change mine. 

As I close out my internship I have a new understanding of what diversity is. I see now that opening your life and your heart to others is just the beginning. At Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park I’ve acquired a new lens to which I can look through at my surroundings. There is so much beauty and kindness in the world. Although at times it may seem as though the odds are against you, there is always someone with an outstretched hand waiting for you to reach out for help. I am glad to know that the park here is filled with many of those outstretched hands making a difference in their community, and the communities of all those who they touch.  

I would like to thank the staff of Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park and Charles Pinckney National Historic Site for allowing me to experience the world through their eyes this summer. Every single one of them has impacted me in some way. They are exceptionally wonderful people, and although I know I seem to find many small treasures in Charleston, they are the most priceless of their kind. I am forever changed by them, and they inspire me to continue fighting for the things I believe in. I have no doubt in my mind that interpreters, rangers, and maintenance staff, park law enforcement, and even Eastern National employees are the unsung heroes of our country. Thank you for all that you do. 


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