Our fifth day in Washington, D.C. was an experience the group of us will share for life.
The morning began bright and early. As the ladies of Chevy Chase raised the flag, anticipation grew for the two party rallies. In passionate shows of blue and yellow, the Nationalist and Federalist parties rallied around their candidates for ALA Girls Nation president and vice president. Nationalist "Wonder Women" Melody Wang and Danica Moon and Federalist sports stars Bella Randle and Robyn Anzulis delivered excellent speeches that displayed their ideas, their hearts, and their desire to make a positive difference in the lives of their constituents. Each continued to address our most pressing questions and concerns, including identifying their spirit animals during whistle stops. The democratic process culminated as one hundred of us used all that we had seen of the candidates over the past two days to vote for our next president. (Yours truly held the ballot box with pride, congratulating all on their show of political efficacy.)
At 11:45 a.m., the "not so Secret Service" entered the Senate chamber to announce that the Nationalist duo, Melody and Danica, had won the election. Cheers issued from both sides of the aisle in a moment of pride for all in the room: Pride in ourselves, and pride in our sisters that poured themselves into the last two days. This announcement was the perfect catalyst to the event that, for many of us, will define our week here in D.C. Mirror space was the hottest commodity as we ran back and forth, in and out of rooms, to prepare for our visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A storm of straighteners, eyeliner, and lipstick raged across the hallways as each of us started to realize the momentous nature of the coming hours.
After going through the never-ending security line, we prepared to meet the President of the United States. But I don't think any of us could prepare for the surrealism that came over the Rose Garden when President Trump emerged from the White House. The group of us could not get any closer to each other when he walked up into the risers for a group picture that will grace at least 100 Instagram feeds for weeks to come. The ensuing period of interaction and speech-listening will not be remembered for the heat of the day, but for the awe that united us all in the presence of the leader of the free – which has empowered many of us to picture ourselves addressing future years of Nation senators.
The day ended with a viewing of Twilight Tattoo at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. In a captivating display, members of the The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) demonstrated the changing nature of the Army's involvement over the years. Though uniforms and style of fighting have evolved, the commitment to the protection and preservation of the free nation we call home has not.
In truth, the life-changing nature of this day would not be possible without the dedication and sacrifice of the thousands that have passed, and will pass, through Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Myself and my sister senators extend a humble thank you to all those that give their time, their passion, and their all so that we have the chance to meet the Commander-in-Chief.
Day five of ALA Girls Nation is the beginning of a new appreciation for the office of the President of the United States. While the office isn't all sunshine, it is one that we can all respect and rally behind in the hope that we will be the generation to be the change the world wishes to see.
Aaryan Morrison, Indiana
Alix Hess, Michigan