For additional day four Boys Nation highlights, click here.
Monday greeted Boys Nation senators with sunshine and clear skies as they traversed around and reflected on the rows of grave markers in Arlington National Cemetery. Some of the many highlights located throughout the 624-acre cemetery included John F. Kennedy's gravesite, the Nurses Memorial, the Pan Am Flight 103 Memorial and the gift shop where the senators were able to purchase historical books, postcards and DVDs.
At the historic cemetery, senators got the opportunity to take photos and read names engraved on the headstones. During the visit, the wreath that was presented at the memorial service on Sunday was placed at the Tomb of the Unkowns by Lester Asamoah from Oklahoma City, Okla., and Davidson Goldsmith from Albany, Ga. American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill and Chaplain John Beaver also stood alongside the young men during the presentation.
"It was a tremendous honor to be selected to lay the wreath and to have the guards escort me down to the tomb," Asamoah said. "I've never had a more memorable experience."
The opportunity to stand directly in front of the tomb is a rare experience, and Goldsmith understands that wholeheartedly.
"There's no other view like it," Goldsmith said. "It's a once in a lifetime view."
After spending more than three hours at Arlington National Cemetery, the senators toured the grounds of the Iwo Jima Memorial. The photograph of the six brave soldiers hoisting up the American Flag is depicted as one of the most famous photographs in history, but to actually see it in person left many senators in awe, especially because of its massive size. In looking closely at the memorial, there are 13 hands on the flag pole but only six soldiers. The extra hand is said to represent the hand of God.
Once the senators left the Iwo Jima site and convened back to Marymount University, their afternoon became busy. The Federalists and Nationalists held party platforms, which are lists of policies that each party supports. The policies depict topics such as the economy, education, infrastructure, etc. For the Federalist platform click here; for the Nationalist platform click here.
These policies were voted on among the party members and heated debates formed as some were controversial topics that the senators either supported or opposed.
Party platforms can create severe opposition and can even cause a senator to switch to the rivaling party when voting for presidency. Knowing this, one Boys Nation staff member related simple, yet profound, advice to the young men.
"Vote on issues that will unite you, not divide you," said Dale Barnett, a senate and party counselor.
Undoubtedly, the 2010 Boys Nation senators have been consistent in their leadership and energy. However, the staff has still come to expect the unexpected from them.
During dinner, Topher Davison from Mount Juliet, Tenn., became courageous and took a seat behind the dining hall's piano. He performed "Midnight Train" by the band Journey. After a round of applause, Davison walked away from the piano and Jacob Meade from Strawberry Point, Iowa, stepped in to perform "Piano Man." Billy Joel's famous song caused numerous senators, and a few staff, to stand up and belt out the lyrics in harmony. By the end of the song, a tip jar was sitting on the piano as an encouragement for more. Unfortunately, the music had to come to a halt as a highly anticipated event needed to take place. This was the electing of a president and vice president within the Federalist and Nationalist parties.
A flurry of speeches, caucuses and voting led to the Federalist party electing Robert Fisher from Clarksville, Tenn., as president and Alex Geiger from North Little Rock, Ark., as vice president. The Nationalist party elected Charlie Brown from Avon Park, Fla., as president and Jimmy Ramirez from Oakley, Calif., as vice president. The two newly appointed presidents carried one theme among them that will be their key to becoming the president of the United States. That theme was unity.
"We need unity in this party (Nationalist) because that's what it's going to take for us to take the White House," Brown said.
"We (Federalist) are going to have to unify as one Boys Nation," Fisher said. "But both parties are going to have to unify to achieve a common goal of one cohesive, comprehensive solution for America's problems."