Boys Nation reflects on fallen heroes

Boys Nation reflects on fallen heroes
Photo by Charlie Tucker

For video highlights from day four, click here.

The senators began Monday morning with a trip to Arlington National Cemetery where they traversed the 624-acre plantation. A few popular sites that continually draw attention to Boys Nation senators include John F. Kennedy's gravesite, Pan Am Flight 103 Memorial and the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Oftentimes, the gravesites will have personal meaning to the young men.

"I laid a rose at my grandfather (who served in the Korea and Vietnam War) and grandmother's gravesite," said James Russell from Chesterfield, Va. "When I visit the cemetery it always brings the same kind of eternal sadness because to get to my grandparent's gravesite, I have to walk past so many fallen heroes and it's always very humbling. But when I get to my grandparent's site, I lay two roses because my grandfather grew roses and on their headstone it says ‘Love is eternal.'"

During the senators' visit to the cemetery, the wreath from Sunday's memorial service was placed at the Tomb of the Unknowns by Luke Huston from Brownsburg, Ind., and Casper Adrian from West Paducah, Ky. American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster and National Chaplain Rev. Daniel J. Seehafer also accompanied the young men during the wreath laying service. Afterward, the senators traveled to a memorial inspired by one of the most famous photographs in history-the Iwo Jima Memorial.

The 32-foot tall Iwo Jima Memorial depicts the photograph of six brave Marines hoisting up the American flag. But 13 hands, not 12 hands, can be seen on the flag pole. The extra hand is said to represent the hand of God.

With temperatures rising, the senators left D.C. and traveled back to Marymount University for lunch with a busy afternoon of conversing on policies. The Federalist and Nationalist senators held party platforms where they discussed policies on foreign, education, energy and civil topics, either supportting or opposing them. The policies were voted upon by the party members and debates erupted on some of the controversial policies. To keep bipartisan in the mind of the young men, a few simple, yet profound, words were spoken to the senators.

"Vote on issues that will unite you, not divide you," said Dale Barnett, a Boys Nation senate and party counselor.

The senators took a dinner break to feed on pizza, cake and ice cream before the next intense round - the nomination of a president and vice president within each party. The Federalist and Nationalist president and vice president candidates campaigned Sunday so it was only a matter of stepping back on stage to remind voters of who they were. After hours of voting and casting ballots, the Federalist party elected Preston Moore from Woodstock, Ga., as president and Ben Attia from Hockessin, Del., as vice president.

"What it comes down to at this caliber is who is going to get the job done and who is the most qualified," Moore said. "The debate is going to separate myself from the Nationalist nominated president and to win their votes it's going to be about making the people feel they can trust in my strength and judgment. I want to bring the presidency back to Georgia!"

And the Nationalist party elected Michael Herbert from Arvada, Colo., as president and Jordan Jentz from San Antonio, Texas, as vice president.

"The candidate for the Federalist party is going to be the second most competitive, and I'm going to be the first," Herbert said. "It's going to be about who is able to rally people and get them up on their feet, not because they were told to do so but because they genuinely want to - I believe I am that candidate. I'm hoping my patriotism and leadership will sway people to vote nationalist for president in the elections."

Watch the candidates' debate live at 3 p.m. (EDT) Tuesday by tuning into legion.org. Then check back at 6:30 p.m. (EDT) to watch the elections live where a 2011 Boys Nation president and vice president will be appointed.

Today, the senators will visit the Supreme Court, the White House, and elect a president and vice president.

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