Each year, the American Legion Auxiliary organizes and runs country-wide Girls State programs that culminate in ALA Girls Nation.
In the summer of 2017 I was able to participate in both programs as one of two Senators selected to represent my state. Both Girls State and Girls Nation were incredible, empowering experiences; the best part by far was making wonderful friends and being part of government simulations.
There were, of course, plenty of amazing places we visited while in Washington, D.C., for Nation.
The Mall and Arlington House
Two different places, each with a rich history. We sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We toured Arlington House and observed a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. I especially enjoyed the guided tour of the National Cemetery and all of the history and information that was shared.
Day on Capitol Hill
Adventuring on Capitol Hill was one of my most memorable experiences of the week. We were given almost a whole day to meet with congressmen and women (the real ones). The day started with speed-rounding through the NEWSeum (I would recommend taking more than an hour to go through it if you plan to visit) and after being rejected entry to the National Archives (they were closed to the public at that time), a trip to PAUL Bakery, where I purchased some AMAZING cheese fougasse and a lovely macaron. The walk downtown was an enjoyable one, especially with French pastries in hand.
The day continued on with meetings with policymakers and a quick photo op with one home state Senator. There was so much energy in the legislative buildings. The day we went there was the day Congress was voting on the Skinny Repeal health care bill, so congress people were all in session, hence few and far between in their office buildings.
A group of us walked down to Union Station for lunch, which was an adventure in and of itself which included constant consultation of Google Maps as we tried not to get lost.
Another one of my favorite memories was waiting in a long line to get a library card for the Library of Congress. My photo turned out horribly, so the cards kind of funny, but I met people from all over the country while getting it.
Holocaust Memorial Museum
Making my way through this museum was both sobering and enlightening. It is a beautiful memorial and stalwart reminder of the tragedies of the Holocaust. I was especially impressed by the exhibits drawing attention to other genocides and cases of oppression happening right now and advocating for change.
Washington, D.C. has a rich history, unique culture, and political buzz that make it a city I will not soon forget.