Today we finally experienced one of the most anticipated days here at American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation: Capitol Hill Day. For many Girls Nation senators, myself included, this is our first time in Washington D.C. To be able to have such a comprehensive and all-access trip to Capitol Hill is a blessing and more than what most of us would experience on our first trip to D.C.
Not only were we graciously given the chance to have personal meetings with our Senators, Representatives, and their staff, many Girls Nation senators were granted special access to restricted areas of the Capitol. Tennessee Girls Nation senator Rebekah Ninan said, "Our senator, Bob Corker, wasn’t available to meet with us as long as he wanted to, but with the wave of a hand he got us a tour of the Capitol!" Other Girls Nation senators spent their time after their Senator appointments touring Smithsonian museums and the Botanical Garden or getting cards at the Library of Congress.
After all of the fun, the inauguration ceremony was held. Senior Counselor Sandra Rice presided over the swearing in of Girls Nation President Sydney Roberts and Vice President Ogechi Obed; Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mara Tazartus, and her eight fellow justices. The ceremony was concluded with a speech given by U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota that cannot be described as anything less than inspiring. Heitkamp told us, "You are too young to give up on your dreams. You are too young to give up."
The day was finished by a productive and encouraging senate session presided over by both Vice President Obed as well as President Pro Tem Julia Nusgart, where debate topics included net neutrality, equal pay, and recycling. It was a long day, but one full of learning, fun, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Mary Celeste Floreani, Texas