Friday…the last day at CWF!! Today was all play, and no work!! Each delegation chose where they wanted to see the sights, and our leaders had decided to go to the Washington Monument, the Holocaust Museum, and the Smithsonian. We had the option of either the Holocaust Museum, or the White House, but since we didn’t get an actual tour of the White House, I chose the Holocaust Museum. Other kids opted for the White House, since they didn’t feel emotionally okay to see the Holocaust Museum.
(Remember that “better shot of the White House” I promised?? Here you go, straight from my bus seat.)
This is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It is “America’s national institution for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history, and serves as this country’s memorial to the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust.” This is the most sobering museum I have ever toured. I don’t have any pictures of it, because many of the exhibits and artifacts are borrowed from other museums. And honestly, I’m glad I don’t have any pictures to show my friends and family. Not because the exhibits are revolting and too realistic, but because you won’t completely grasp all of the solemnity through a book or someone else’s pictures. You can find out more information at their website, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, but I highly recommend that you put this on your itinerary if you’re in D.C.
So after a dose of sad, cheerless history, I got a dose of good ol’ Americana history via the Smithsonian.
12:28 p.m. The Holocaust museum is so depressing. So sad. But we’re at Smithsonian Museum of American History eating lunch, and I can’t believe people pay this much for food every day! It’s nice to be with people who like to be frugal with food money. (No, I wasn’t a cheapskate when it came to iconic meals and such, but when it was just a cafeteria, you better believe I watched my money!)
(Here’s the front entrance.)
About 11 years ago, my family and I went on a big trip to Baltimore, D.C., Philadelphia, and Gettysburg. In Baltimore, we visited Fort McHenry, where the original Star Spangled Banner was displayed. (You know, the flag that was actually flying when the song was written.) Anyways, I got to see that flag for the second time in my life at the Smithsonian.
(Well, the actual flag is kept in special, no-camera conditions because of its age, but the front of the exhibit was cool.)
The next three pictures are some old cars at the museum. I took pictures because I wanted to know what the cars were, and no one’s been able to tell me yet. So, anyone wanna divulge me??
(This is not an old car. This is, from L to R, Clay, Greg, Jesse, Victoria, and me in an old subway car.)
(These are the [one of many, actually] pair of ruby red slippers that Judy Garland wore as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz.)
That’s all the pictures I took at the Museum. There was seemingly no end to the exhibits. It would take me years to actually see everything in the Smithsonian’s collection of museums. After the Smithsonian, we went to the Washington Monument.
(Disclaimer: this was not my idea. I just took the photo. This is, L to R, Victoria, Jesse, and Madelaine in their sunglasses and Confederate hats.)
(This is the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II memorial from the top of the Washington Memorial.)
(And this is the Capitol and several of the Smithsonians from another window at the top.)
(Inside the top of the monument is a large pillar, and then a walk space around that pillar where you look out the windows. This is one side of the pillar.)
This day was the last day we spent with our amazing Program Assistant, Dani Hopper. Dani was a great PA: patient, fun, flexible, and chock full of information!
5:50 p.m. Why does my bus have to have the idiots? Alex Jenkins just drank a mixture of all the soda, ice cream toppings, ketchup/mustard, pickle juice, and tomatoes. For a $2 bet. Yikes and ick. Why us?
After an amazing day of touring our beautiful capital, we headed back to our beautiful conference center for a little more fun. Namely, the Talent Show. Remember I told you that I auditioned with a sign language solo? Well, I did qualify, so along with about 14 other kids, I performed my talent in front of nearly 600 people.
The song I signed was “He is With You” by Mandisa, and I wanted to do it because this song held a lot of significance to me in 2011. Since I was representing Missouri here, and Joplin’s tornado was still fresh on our minds, I dedicated my performance to all the people affected by the tornado. (You may want to turn your volume WAY up. My camera’s not the best; sorry!)
(By the way, all the credit goes to Daniel and Tonia Walker, my ASL teachers. They literally taught me everything I know!!)
And remember that newsletter we sweated over?? Here it is!!
We ended our day, and our week, with the Closing Ceremony. All of the PAs gave their goodbye speeches to their delegations, and we reflected on everything we had learned here. At CWF, I met so many exceptional kids (as well as some real duds, but I just ignored them) who give 4-H a good name. I learned way more than I had expected to learn. I went on some once-in-a-lifetime tours, which are so special because I don’t know when I’ll be back to the East coast. I had nothing but good things to say about this conference.
But hang on a second…my trip’s not even over! We may have been finished with Washington, D.C., but the Missouri chaperones had something extra up their sleeve. Tomorrow, we would leave the conference center, and head…not home, but to Philadelphia, and then to NEW YORK CITY!!
My lesson for Day Seven started out sobering, but I can’t be serious for long:
Never forget those who suffered a tragedy at the hands of evil. And always watch where you're going. (I cannot stress enough the importance of this concept.)