The last day of Boys Nation had the senators meeting in session for the last time. A productive morning that ended all too quickly and it was time for the final gravel to hit the podium. But the afternoon was on the horizon, and the excitment mounted. The senators were headed for the White House with the good possibility of meeting the President. And meet them they did. The boys were joined by Girls Nation senators and together, they all posed in the East room of the White House for a photo. President Obama arrived to greet all of the senators and he shook the hand of each one.
Day seven was "Hill Day" as the senators were met by the Girls Nation senators and together stormed Capitol Hill to meet with their respective senators and representatives. Although the tempertures were hot, the delegates had a productive and exciting day. Evening brought a favorite assembly speaker, Nesse Goden, survivor of the Holocast. Nesse's story stirs emotions deep inside her audiences and every Boys Nation delegate who hears her, loves her. It's an evening to remember a lifetime.
Day six was a busy day for the senators as the majority of it was spent off campus. Inauguration for both the President and Vice President took place at the D.C. national headquarters of The American Legion with the Hon. Sparky Gierke and Hon. Alan Lance presiding. From there, the afternoon was spent at the Supreme Court where the senators enjoyed a wonderful hour with the Court Clerk , Gen. William Suter. The evening included a visit from for Boys Nation alumni who shared their stories and words of wisdom with the senators.
Day five brought more senate sessions for the senators where a number of bills were entered with some passing fairly quickly. In the afternoon, the much anticipated candidate debates took place and after dinner the election process took center stage. The newly elected President of Boys Nation is Jonathan Hess from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and the Vice President is Joseph Aumuller, from Libertyville, Ilinois.
Day four started with a trip to Arlington National Cemetery. Representing the 98 senators, Benjamin McFarlin of Canton, Georgia and Gabriel Levy of Clarksville, Tennessee represented the 98 senators by participating in the wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns. From Arlington, the senators traveled the short distance to the Iwo Jima Memorial and then it was back to campus for more party conventions in the afternoon and evening.
Day three finds the senators attending the Memorial Service with National Chaplain Gerald Theriot bringing a powerful message to the young men. Remembering those who have gone before, the price they paid for our freedoms, to those who are serving today. The afternoon quickly passed with party conventions and then it was on to the Greenbelt Post 136 for dinner where the senators had the opportunity to hear from the National Commander Fang Wong. The day ended with a beautiful evening walking the National Mall.
Day two began with a general orientation where the senators were introduced to the staff and an overview of the program was shared. Peter Gaytan, Executive Director of the Washington DC. Legion office swore in the 98 senators. As the day progressed, party conventions and senate sessions convened. Ultimately a President Pro Tempore and Secretary of the Senate were elected. Further appointments were made, bills introduced and it was obvious by the activity that Boys Nation 2012 was off to a running start !
Morning dawned with much needed rain in the D.C. area, but as the staff began their trek to the airport to begin picking up delegates, the excitement mounted, brightening an otherwise gloomy morning. The year had sped by fast since the last group of delegates had passed through the halls of Marymount University and soon a new group of 98 young men would enter the doors to begin this week that indeed is a week that shapes a lifetime !
The last day for the boys started with the last senate session which also was streamed live. Once finished the group headed off campus for one more trip. The destination was the American History Museum and the WWII Memorial.A wonderful final dinner was enjoyed by all followed by a stirring graduation ceremony. Boys Nation comes to an end but the result was making new great friends, having a wonderful time, and knowing without a doubt it had been a week that indeeds shapes a lifetime.
Today the senators headed to Capitol Hill for "Hill Day". This is the day they meet their respective state senators. Joining them for this experience were the delegates from Girls Nation.
Evening brought a special speaker and wonderful treat for the senators. Holocaust survivor Nesse Goden shared her story to an audience riveted to her every word. After taking questions, Nesse spent time with the boys taking photos and just enjoying their company.
Wednesday dawned with the senators gathering for flag raising and then the short walk to the auditorium for the Inauguration of President Michael Herbert and Vice President Benjamin Attia by the Honorable Alan Lance.
From there the President made his cabinet appointments and the rest of the day the senators met in their respective senate committees. The evening program was the very popular Alumni Night with returning Boys Nation Alumni, Michael Lang, Maj. Sean Morrow, Dan Webber, and Joel Leftwich prior to the senators return for an additional senate session rounding out the day.
It made little difference the 98 delegates stood in the hot July sun along the sidewalk waiting their turn to go through security to enter the White House. They were excited as they were to meet the President of the United States.
It was a long wait, but when it was over, they were rewarded with a photo session with President Obama, his encouraging words and hearty handshakes for all. The afternoon brought the first live webcast as the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates debated. After a short break allowing for dinner, the delegates once again convened where the all important vote was cast to elect these positions. With another live session webcast, Michael Herbert of Arvada, Colorado was elected President and Benjamin Attia of Hockessin, Delaware was elected Vice President.