It’s a busy but memorable Wednesday for the senators at American Legion Boys Nation.
8 a.m. — After breakfast and the flag-raising ceremony, Wednesday at American Legion Boys Nation begins in earnest with the inauguration of President Darius Thomas of Alabama and Vice President Jay Blackburn of Tennessee.
After taking his oath of office, Blackburn says “it’s nothing less than an honor and a privilege” to serve as vice president.
“This has truly been a life changing experience and I will fulfill the duties of vice president to the best of my abilities along with your help and the parliamentarian’s help, along with everybody else,” Blackburn says. “You are my friends, you are my brothers, and nothing is going to change that. We have an opportunity to do something amazing here.”
Thomas, the only Nationalist among the four elected officials, emphasizes unity in his speech. “There’s no Federalist America, there’s no Nationalist America, there’s only the United States of America. … I don’t care if you voted for me or not, I don’t care what political party you’re from, I just care that you’re willing to make a difference in this nation because that is what this nation needs,” he says.
Legislative Director Mike Bredeck reminds the members of Committee #1 that they’ll need to select a new chairman and vice chairman because they’ve lost Thomas and Blackburn to bigger offices. President Pro Tempore Corey Eisert-Wlodarczyk officially passes the gavel over to Blackburn to lead the Senate, and it’s back to work as the senators try to get every bill at least introduced into committee.
Their Wednesday afternoon will be a little busy with other things.
12:30 p.m. — The senators board buses to the White House, where they and the senators from American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation will meet with President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden.
3 p.m. — President Trump comes out to shake hands and get pictures taken with Boys and Girls Nation. He heads back inside for a few minutes, then returns to make remarks to them at 3:11.
“While you come from all corners of our great landscape, you are all united by your devotion — total devotion — to our great American flag, our freedom, and the principles that bind us together as one people and one nation,” Trump says. "As I look out at the audience, I see the next generation of American leaders. I see the promise of our future. I see the strength and love of the American spirit. And because of young people like you, I am more confident than ever in the future of the United States.”
Never one to miss a chance to showcase the singing ability of Boys Nation, Director of Activities Bob Turner leads the senators in “Show Your Colors America” after the president’s speech.
3:45 p.m.—The senators are back on the buses and headed to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, where they, Girls Nation and others will watch a performance of Twilight Tattoo, a reenactment of the history of the U.S. military. There’s box dinners from Marymount University and a place to eat them in a base dining hall when they get there, then a walk across the campus to the site of the program.
The senators from Boys Nation and Girls Nation, still ecstatic after their White House experience, mingle before Twilight Tattoo, getting pictures with their respective state counterparts and finding places to sit in the bleachers. After the program, there’s more mingling before the girls head to their buses and the boys to theirs.
There’s a brief senate session after returning at Marymount. And while 96 senators can finally get some rest, Thomas and Blackburn are off to talk about their experience on the Jim Bohannon Show.
Follow the happenings at American Legion Boys Nation 2017 here on legion.org and on social media using the hashtag #2017BoysNation.