Out of all of Benjamin Franklin's virtues, silence is the virtue I have the most trouble with. At Girls Nation, however, every day has succeeded in rendering me speechless. They have killed my teenage girl habit of talking far too much. The first day, spent visiting Arlington National Cemetary, I did not know what to say at the graves of great men such as Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, Thurgood Marshall, and Oliver Wendall Holmes. These are the men I quote in hopes of sounding inspirational. Now, I find their graves to be as inspirational as their words which ask me to be someone better. The second day, the young women of Girls Nation were honored with the voyage to the 911 Pentagon Memorial. Here, we learned about Zoe Falkenberg, born the same year as many of us, who died on September 11, 2001. Tuesday, I cried far too much to be able to speak. Nesse Godin gave one of the most inspirational speeches on how she survived the Holocaust. Wednesday, I spent much time with vice presidential candidate, Marylin Wang, inbetween voting and waiting for the election results. We sat in silent nervousness in her room. Thursday, I was honored to meet one of my political heroes, Senator Richard Lugar. I prepared a multitude of questions and compliments to ask the senator when I met him. When I saw him, however, I could not speak, neither could the rest of the Indiana senators. A powerful senator, particularly reguarding foreign affairs, Lugar was intimidating. Senator Lugar then took the Indiana Senators out to lunch in the Senate Dining room. We exchanged silent looks when we read the sign "Senators Only Beyond This Point". Eventually, we all worked up the courage to thank him for the Lugar-Nun Act. We asked him about current legislation. We were very lucky. That day I not only met Senator Lugar, but Evan Bayh, Ron Paul, and many others. We witnessed a speech given by John McCain. None of the Indiana delegates, boys or girls, could say anything, but we smiled at each other. Finally, Friday came. Today we took a trip to the Smithsonian, became a test audience for the television program "Glee", and, most importantly, graduated from Girls Nation. Girls were presented with Scholarships and gasped. Their thanks was not spoken but proven by their hugs they gave to the American Legion Auxiliary ladies. These breathtaking moments, will make our trip unforgettable. Silence is a virtue. Silence enables you to learn. I have never learned more then I have at the 63rd Annual American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation.
Allison Feikes (IN) Bethesda Community