2019 Youth Tour: Day 6
8:30 a.m. The chaperones loaded the bus and we drove to the local grocery story and everyone went into the store and purchased breakfast items, or they were supposed to…
Next on the itinerary… The Washington National Cathedral. The structure is of Neo-Gothic design closely modeled on English Gothic style of the late fourteenth century. It is both the second-largest church building in the United States, and the cathedral is the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, D.C.
Construction began on September 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt and completed 83 years later when the "final finial" was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990.
The Washington National Cathedral has hosted State funerals for four American presidents. The 34th President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1969), 38th President Gerald Ford (2007), 40th President Ronald Reagan (2004) and 41st President George H. W. Bush (2018).
We found the burial site of Helen Keller inside the Washington National Cathedral. What an amazing woman!
11:30 a.m. We visited the United States Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial. The memorial honors the Marines who have died defending the United States since 1775 and features a 32-foot-high sculpture of six Americans, five Marines and a Navy hospital corpsman, raising the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi.
The memorial was inspired by one of the most iconic photographs of World War II. The figures hold a 60-foot-high flagpole with the red, white and blue flag of the United States flying freely 24 hours a day 365 days a year. The base of the memorial is engraved are the words "In honor and in memory of the men of the United States Marine Corps who have given their lives to their country since November 10, 1775."
12:30 p.m. Next stop… The Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site. This site includes both Ford’s Theatre and the Petersen House. This is the most famous theatre in the United States, and the location where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865. A National Park Ranger gave a riveting narrative of the events surrounding Lincoln’s murder. It's still hard to believe what happened here 154 years ago. The students had a special opportunity to view the President’s box when the door was opened for a few minutes. The Youth Tour delegates commented on what it must have been like inside Ford’s Theatre the night President Lincoln was shot.
After the Ford’s Theatre, historic site tour was completed, a few Youth Tour delegates purchased Ford’s Theater Museum tickets and viewed the historical artifacts. The museum contains Booth's Derringer pistol used in the assassination, and President Lincoln's clothing from the night of his assassination. A lot of the students stated it was hard to look at the clothing knowing what happened to the man wearing this outfit. Stains of Lincoln's blood are still visible of the articles of clothing.
The house where President Lincoln died on April 15, 1865 at 7:22 a.m. A National Park Ranger provided the students with a captivating account of the chaotic events and meetings that took place in the house that evening. A few of Lincoln's Cabinet members, Generals, Congressmen, and his son Robert Todd Lincoln were in the room when President Lincoln died.
Did you know that Ford’s Theatre remained closed for more than 100 years after President Lincoln’s assassination? Ford’s Theatre officially reopened in 1968 and is currently an active theatre with several productions throughout the year.
We then explored the Center for Education and Leadership, which relates to the Petersen House, and provided details of the events that took place in the days following the assassination of President Lincoln. Students viewed artifacts from Lincoln’s funeral and newspapers announcing the heartbreaking news.
Several Youth Tour delegates enjoyed the center’s spiral staircase that descended around a tower of more than 6,800 books focused on Abraham Lincoln. The center is decorated with Lincoln’s name and reproductions of his famous signature, photographs and videos. The Youth Tour delegates enjoyed their visit to Ford’s Theatre, the Petersen House, and the Center for Education and Leadership. A must for any visitor to Washington, D.C.!
2:00 p.m. The National Archives contains the original copies of the three main foundational documents of the United States of America: The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The National Archives also exhibits an original version of the 1297 Magna Carta confirmed by Edward I. These historical documents are on display in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom. We did not see Benjamin Franklin Gates, Nicolas Cage’s character’s name in National Treasure, in the National Archives. However, Diego did manage to steal the Declaration of Independence and almost made it outside to Constitution Avenue…
The National Archives is our nation's record keeper. Important documents and materials created are treasured and preserved for future generations. Visitors to the National Archives can also view other important American historical documents like the Articles of Confederation, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty, and the Emancipation Proclamation. The Colorado Youth Tour delegates were inspired by their visit to the National Archives and can’t wait to meet their U.S. Congressmen and Representatives on Wednesday! Education, Training and Information. The cooperative principles. Lonnie said we would learn more about our local electric cooperative tonight, and he was right about the cooperative education we received! The Colorado Youth Tour delegates walked down the street to the Hyatt Regency at Crystal City to participate in the National Youth Tour Conference sponsored by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
There are more than 1,900 teenagers, a new Youth Tour attendance record, from more than 48 states participating in the 2017 Youth Tour. We were all encouraged to cheer for our state and make a lot of noise (We Will Rock D.C! at appropriate times, of course). We made sure everyone knew who and where the Colorado delegation was seated by leading our group. La Plata Electric Association, Inc. would be proud!
You should have heard all our delegates shout! Colorado made a lot of noise when they introduced Brock Gagna, a delegate from United Power in Brighton, who will represent Colorado on the NRECA Youth Leadership Council.
It was an interesting and inspiring evening. We heard from Randy Dwyer, the head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour, who told us a little about his group’s efforts to represent America’s 900 local electric cooperatives. We also learned about the early days of public power and rural electrification.
The highlight of the evening was a speech by wheelchair athlete Mike Schlappi. The speech was inspiring, sad, funny, educational and entertaining all at once. Did you know that people have 11 negative thoughts per every positive thought? Most people don’t realize what they have until it’s gone. Mike was a normal teenager just like all of us when he was accidentally shot by his best friend.
Mike Schlappi told us how he overcame the emotional hurt of his injury, and how he’s went on to live an exciting and full life despite his physical injury. How you might ask? Mike Schlappi followed his dream and passion for basketball. Basketball? That’s right! Mike Schlappi won 2 Paralympics Gold Medals (1988 Seoul & 1992 Barcelona) and 2 Bronze Medals (1996 Atlanta & 2000 Sydney).
Mike Schlappi’s motto “If you can’t stand up, stand out” is the greatest, and everyone, disabled or not, can be inspired by his personal story. The speakers were great tonight! The 2019 Youth Tour delegates are enjoying every moment here in Washington, D.C.
Good night from Arlington, Virginia…
Emma, Heleny, Larissa, Diego and Irie