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A seat to history for local teen

Editor’s note: Golden Valley student Kelsey Gonzalez visited Washington, D.C., for the inauguration.

Posted: January 27, 2009 9:18 p.m.
Updated: January 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Kelsey Gonzalez, right, and Alia Kiran at the WWII monument.

 
While I was in D.C. for six days, I experienced enough to last a lifetime. Between the bus rides and waiting for events to start, my team made it the trip it was.

We went to a lot of different places in Washington. The American History Museum, for one. There are so many exhibits there from all the major wars to inaugural dresses worn by the first ladies.

We also went to the Jefferson Monument, FDR Memorial and World War II Memorial. It was cold outside, but the monument looked so cool, especially the frozen water at the FDR Memorial.

We went to Mount Vernon, too. It was so pretty there, and I bet it would look even more beautiful with snow. Looking at George Washington's grave was really cool, and looking at the spot where all the slaves were buried was kind of eerie thinking they were underneath you.

We also went to the Opening Ceremony Concert where Beyonce and U2 played with hosts such as George Lopez and President Barack Obama. We also went to the Presidential Inauguration. We woke up and got on the bus at three in the morning to go down to the Capitol. There were so many people there, but we actually got a decent spot. We were around the second or third TV screen down. We also had our own Inaugural Ball that we got ready for after the Inauguration.

OK, so let me explain a little about the group that made my trip to Washington, D.C., awesome. I went with LeadAmerica who had brought to D.C. 600 teenagers nationwide. We were separated into preset teams of around 20. My group was Team Z and we had around 21 people. We were from California, New York, New Jersey and Oregon. We had our little groups, but we were like a family, and at the end of the trip, no one wanted to get off the bus that last night.

The reason why this was an experience of a lifetime was because of the fact I was at a history-making Presidential Inauguration. One day, kids in high school and junior high will be learning about it, and I'll be that little old lady saying "I was there," basically defining my old age. When I possibly study this in college, I can say, "Hey, I was there."

Just 100 years ago, this would have been unheard of. No one would have thought that this would even be possible. In Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech, he says that one day people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Well, I think that came true on Jan. 20, 2009, and I am able to say I witnessed it.

That's what makes this the journey of a lifetime.

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