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My Trip to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration

My Trip to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration


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Published by ivanr26

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Published by: ivanr26 on Jan 25, 2009
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My trip to the 2009 Presidential Inauguration In Washington D.C.

By: Christian Ordaz At 12:00 noon Eastern Standard Time on January 20, 2009 I witnessed one of the greatest ceremonial events in history. I had the privilege and honor of observing the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States of America, Barak Obama. My trip started when I was selected to be a part of the Junior Presidential Youth Inauguration Conference (JrPYIC). The JrPYIC is a program that is held every four years in January following the presidential election. This program provides inaugural scholars with a unique experience as they take part in and share first hand in the excitement and ceremony of the inauguration of the President and Vice President of the United States. My name was selected because two years ago when I was in the third grade two teachers Mrs. Linda Weil and Mrs. Janelle Foust both teachers at Tippin Elementary School nominated me for a similar program, the National Young Scholars Program (NYSP). After my teachers nominated me I was then selected by the NYSP committee to attend. The NYSP is designed and created specifically for the nation’s most highly acclaimed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students. Participating in this program is how I came to be invited to the JrPYIC and therefore able to attend the inauguration. From the moment I arrived in Washington D.C. and was placed with a group of kids ranging from 5th graders to College students. We were quickly rushed to see and hear Mr. Erik Weihenmayer speak. Mr. Weihenmayer is the only blind man in history to reach the summit of Mount Everest the world’s highest peak. Mr. Weihenmayer also completed his 7-year quest to climb the seven summits. The seven summits are the highest mountains on each of the seven continents. This man was amazing, what I learned from him was that you can take obstacles and turn them into opportunities. In life there are many challenges, but when you persevere even when things seem impossible or others tell you that it can’t be done, you (we) can do it. We can make all our dreams come true. The following day we had the privilege of hearing Former Secretary of State General Colin L. Powell (Ret.) Mr. Powell has many accomplishments, too many to list, but he is probably best remembered for his involvement during Operation Desert Storm. He taught me that being a leader is not due to a title, but rather it is about character traits. One of the more important traits a leader must have is the ability to listen. To be a good leader, you must be a good listener. We then heard former Vice President Al Gore speak, he also has many accomplishments to include Nobel Peace Prize winner. Mr. Gore spoke of the climate and how it affects the world; He also spoke about his plan to use solar, wind and geothermal power. It was neat to see that we can do things in a more cost affective manner, He states that his plan would also create jobs. I learned that we can think intelligently about using the natural resources this world has to offer. Mr. Gore’s phrase also stuck with me, “We Can Solve It.” I guess that is true for many of life’s problems. Without a doubt one of the highlights of a trip, that was filled with memorable and exciting experiences was the inauguration itself. To stand among a sea of people with one common hope,

a straight forward hope, the hope to better our country. The people seemed to come from all over the world, from every walk of life imaginable. I saw people in their later years of life with tears in their eyes and though we were positioned far from the capital itself and could only have a limited view of one of the jumbo screens, it was amazing to see the nearly two million people come to a silence when President Obama spoke. Every ear was intent on hearing what the new president would say. He spoke of the challenges ahead and stated that those challenges would be met. He spoke about extending opportunity to every willing heart. He quoted George Washington, "Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…..that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]." However, my personal favorite part was during the oath when he ended with, “So help me God.” Prior to leaving Washington D.C. My awesome father George Ordaz was able to take me to see some sites and monuments. We visited the Washington Memorial; we saw the capital from the national mall, just like we had only hours earlier when we witnessed now president Barak Obama take his oath. We walked along side the reflecting pool on our way to the Lincoln memorial; it was then that I began to reflect on my own life and what this trip meant to me. We continued to the Lincoln memorial, a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln and the nation he fought to preserve during the Civil War. Inscribed inside the monument were his Gettysburg Address and his second Inaugural address. It was amazing to be standing at the place where Martin Luther King Jr. recited his, “I have a dream speech”. We then walked to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, I could tell my dad, a former war veteran himself felt something special. It was a wall engraved with all the names of soldiers who lost their lives during the Vietnam War in the name of our great nation. It was then, seeing the names on the wall, seeing the respect my dad has for these men that everything began to sink-in. All the speeches I heard through out the week, all the monuments that I saw represent great people and their actions, all the discussions that I’ve ever had with my parents and at times my grand-parents. All the teachers, pastors, and coaches I’ve had, whom constantly educated me on a variety of topics. All this, I began to understand. Not just understand as in comprehending for its educational value, but understanding in a way that was much more valuable, I understood in a way that was engraved in my heart, just as the names of those great men were engraved on the wall. I understood in a way that my lessons learned will be bound to my dreams. You see, I too have a dream; in fact I have many dreams. Some are ever so small and others are bigger than life itself. Some people may even find some of my dreams to be ridiculous, but the one dream that far surpasses the rest of them and the one dream that I know I will accomplish is the dream I have to make a difference, so help me God. Sincerely,

Christian Ordaz
Christian Ordaz 5th Grader Tippin Elementary School

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