Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

February 21, 2013

Writing on Presidents’ Day

By Lindsay Eckert
Tribune lifestyle editor

Kokomo — As Presidents’ Day comes and goes Monday, we will most likely think of the stories of leaders who have come and gone. The moments we remember on our TV screens; whether they may be a tragic taking of a president’s young life or a triumphant speech that restored faith in our immediate worlds. Often times these moments captured in history are birthed in our nation’s capital and saved as a snapshot in the story of our country.

For me, the nation’s capital was where my writing career was born. In the summer of 2006 I set off to D.C. for an internship with a U.S. Senator. At the time, I was studying animal sciences at Purdue University — where I applied and interviewed for the scholarship opportunity that would indeed change the pace and course of my career. I set out to the city of politics hoping to broaden my perspective on agriculture policy, which would be a unique enhancement to my resume for Veterinary School applications. However, after a summer in D.C. the application to Veterinary School never went out, but the application to Indiana University School of Journalism graduate school most definitely did and so the journey began.

I had wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 3 — when I mistakenly announced to everyone, “I want to be a vegetarian when I grow up”  and from a young age I would often go missing, only to be found in my Pap’s barn nestled in a dog box with a bunch of puppies or on top of a stack of hay with a lamb.

“How are you going to get those lambs down?” my Pap asked.

“The same way I got them up,” a 4-year-old me replied.

I cared for baby rabbits, kittens and injured animals. I helped my Pap give puppies their shots and I fell in love with an abused dog, Tramp, at the Anderson Humane Society before adopting him with my Pap and spending my summer coaxing Tramp back to confidence.

For family members and friends, it only made sense I would turn my love of animals into a career. But just a few months in the city of D.C. I found myself with writing in a way I couldn’t with animals and my mind had been made up: I’d finish me degree in animal sciences and go on to grad school.

I’m not sure if it was the bustling of Capitol Hill halls, the journalists penning down quotes in a well-worn notebook or the sound of a story in the making that changed my mindset. But it’s a decision that’s never waned since it was planted in the temporary hometown to our nation’s presidents.

In 2009, while studying in graduate school, I flew back to D.C. to report on a case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. As the history of the city whispered through its many landmarks, dated streets and buildings full of stories just waiting to be told, the decision I made just three years before came full circle.

As I stood on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court interviewing the case’s plaintiff, I realized 180 degrees never had a better view than it did in that moment.

This Presidents’ Day I will be at work... writing. Pretty solid full circle, if you ask me.

[friday] editor/ Fan of full circle moments