Mike said we would learn more about our local electric cooperative, and this morning we sure did. Today was “Youth Day” on the Youth Tour (I thought EVERY day was Youth Day!) All the delegates from each participating state gathered in one big room for an assembly. We sat next to Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Must be a Southern thing... Missouri Youth Tour Rules!
There are more than 1,500 teenagers from more than 46 states participating in the 2012 Youth Tour. We were all encouraged to cheer for our state and make a lot of noise (MIZ-ZOU-RAH at appropriate times, of course). I (Hannah) made sure everyone knew who and where the Missouri delegation was seated by leading our group. Cuivre River would be proud.
You should have heard all those kids shout! Missouri made a lot of noise when they introduced Roberta Burns, a delegate from Ralls County Electric Cooperative in New London, who will represent Missouri on the NRECA Youth Leadership Council.
I was proud to see Roberta nominated as our state council member. We first met Roberta during our tour of the Missouri Capitol Building. We also had a great time together on the Potomac River cruise! Roberta will represent Missouri next year at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.
It was an interesting and inspiring morning. We heard from Randy Dwyer, the head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Youth Tour, who told us a little about his group’s efforts to represent America’s 900 local electric cooperatives. We also learned about the early days of public power and rural electrification.
The highlight of the morning was a speech by wheelchair athlete Mike Schlappi. The speech was inspiring, sad, funny, educational and entertaining all at once. Did you know that people have 11 negative thoughts per every positive thought? Most people don’t realize what they have until it’s gone. Mike was a normal teenager just like all of us when he was accidentally shot by his best friend.
Mike told us how he overcame the emotional hurt of his injury, and how he’s went on to live an exciting and full life in spite of his physical injury. How you might ask? Mike Schlappi followed his dream and passion for basketball. Basketball? That’s right! Mike Schlappi won 2 Paralympic Gold Medals (1988 Seoul & 1992 Barcelona) and 2 Bronze Medals (1996 Atlanta & 2000 Sydney).
I think his motto “If you can’t stand up, stand out” is the greatest, and everyone, disabled or not, can be inspired by his personal story.
The speakers were great today! I’m (Michael) enjoying every moment here in Washington, D.C. Next up on our Youth Tour itinerary…More Smithsonian Museums! The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest collections of American art in the world. Masterpieces from more than 7,000 master artists are on display here.
Artists like John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, and Georgia O'Keeffe to name a few. These paintings were absolutely beautiful!
Thomas Benton Hart's Achelous and Hercules mural was a featured work. Thomas who you might ask? Hart painted several murals in the Missouri State Capitol.
The painting highlights a mythical harvest scene from the old Midwest featuring a raging bull. Did you know that Achelous is the Greek god who ruled the rivers? Now we both know.
We even had a scavenger hunt to see who could locate the most artist works on our list. It was a lot of fun and really made you look at things in the particular works of art.
After that we loaded up the bus and visited the National World War II Memorial. The memorial recently opened in 2004, and is located between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. It's a shame the Reflecting Pool has been drained for repairs. A certain Youth Tour delegate wanted to recreate the Reflecting Pool scene from Forrest Gump. Maybe next time Samantha!
The National World War II Memorial honors the brave men and women who fought for our freedom and the 400,000 who died fighting for our nation. There are 56 granite pillars surrounding the fountain, each one represents a state or territory that fought during the war. We found the Missouri pillar and had our picture taken to remember our fallen Missourians. Thank you for serving your country.
1:00 p.m. Lunch time! Time to eat like a rock star, or maybe a tired Youth Tour delegate from Defiance, Missouri. The Hard Rock Cafe in Washington, D.C. Wow! I (Michael) still can’t believe I’m standing here in our nation’s capital Washington, D.C.
This place is truly amazing! The Hard Rock has two floors of seating surrounded by guitars, drums, clothing, pictures and other band memorabilia displayed. Not to mention speakers and televisions everywhere with music videos being played.
They even have a Presidential Seal mounted on one wall over the stairs!
Too cool! Lonnie was right when he said this placed rocked. Mike went all out for this lunch. The food was great! Once again… Thank you for an awesome Hard Rock lunch Cuivre River Electric! A lot of the delegates enjoyed walking around the Hard Rock Cafe and having their pictures taken with the memorabilia. Half of the Youth Tour delegates purchased t-shirts or pins in the Rock Shop. It was a blast. Most of the delegates are enjoying the down time and air conditioning.
Man are my feet hating me right now. Ha Ha... I will have to visit Hard Rock Cafe in St. Louis and have another Hickory-Smoked Pulled-Pork Sandwich. It rocks!
Next on the itinerary… Ford’s Theatre. The famous site where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. A National Park Ranger gave a riveting narrative of the events surrounding Lincoln’s murder. It's still hard to believe what happened here 147 years ago. We were able to walk around and explore Ford's Theatre. I (Michael) tried to imagine what it must have been like on that evening when President Lincoln was shot.
The Ford's Theatre Museum contains Booth's Deringer pistol used in the assassination and President Lincoln's clothing from that night. It was hard to look at the clothing knowing what happened to the man wearing this outfit. Stains of Lincoln's blood are still visible of the articles of clothing. I (Michael) wish we had more time to view the rest of the museum and the artifacts.
We walked across the street to the Petersen House and visited the room where President Lincoln died on April 15, 1865. It was hard for me (Michael) to stand there and think about what took place in this room, and how it made history and changed the course of our nation.
Did you know that Ford’s Theatre remained closed for more than 100 years after President Lincoln’s assassination. Ford’s Theatre officially reopened in 1968 as a national historic site and working theater.