Editor's note: The News will carry posts this week from Haven High School senior Jaron Caffrey, who is participating in the United States Senate Youth Program.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sunday was the first official day of activities for the United States Senate Youth Program, of which I am one of Kansas’ two delegates. With most government offices being closed on Sundays, we spent the first half of the day visiting Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate.
It is amazing to see the large property still function as it did back in the late 1700s. After a tour, we visited George Washington’s sarcophagus and his family’s tomb, and took part in a wreath laying and reading of Washington’s “Prayer for the Nation.” It was very nice to take part in such a patriotic ceremony.
Afterward, we headed back to D.C. to visit the Newseum. As a disclaimer, before this trip, I had never heard of this museum on news and journalism, but I must say that this is truly a hidden gem of D.C.
We ate lunch on the Newseum terrace overlooking the National Mall and Capitol Building and took in the amazing view of this bustling city. The president of the Newseum then briefly spoke to us about the importance of protecting the First Amendment and journalism before our tour began.
There were many exhibits on topics such as the FBI, the First Amendment, and fallen news journalists from across the world. Also on display were a large section of the Berlin Wall and one of the “Death Towers.” The towers housed East German soldiers tasked with shooting citizens that tried to escape. The display provided insight on the bleak view that East Germans had while under communist rule.
However, one of the most powerful pieces in this museum was the 9/11 Gallery. It had dozens of front pages of newspapers from across the world that reported on the horrific Twin Tower terror attacks. This exhibit also included a video of different reports covering the harrowing scene, which displayed a powerful and emotional image.
As the first day is now in the books, our week’s schedule is going to continue to get more and more exciting. Once again, it is a great honor to represent Kansas at this level and stay tuned for continued reports.