CWF delegates recount experiencePublished 11:27am Monday, March 25, 2013
On Friday of their week, Cass County Citizenship Washington Focus delegates decided what sights to see on their own.
Brett Bowman and Gavin Francis walked to the 20-year-old U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“It was one of the coolest and most mind-blowing things I’ve ever seen,” Brett said. “You learn it in school, but you don’t get the feeling” of the enormity of the genocide.
The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. “Holocaust” is a word of Greek origin meaning “sacrifice by fire.”
Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed Germans were “racially superior” and that the Jews, deemed “inferior,” were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community.
“They have a whole floor dedicated to shoes,” Brett said. “It sounds weird, but it’s like 10 feet tall, with shoes on both sides of you from people who died. It’s breathtaking, it’s kind of scary with mood lighting that makes you feel like the place is haunted, I’m not even going to lie. My only complaint is that it was 100 degrees for five days straight.”
Citizenship Washington Focus (CWF) is a week-long 4-H citizenship program for youth ages 14-19 that takes place at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center a mile outside the District
“We got real close with people from Van Buren County to Monroe County,” said Brooke Green, Miss Cassopolis. “One of my favorite places was the Vietnam veterans memorial wall, which is absolutely awesome. They told us a really cool story about two men who went to war and promised that when they came back, whoever made a million dollars first would buy the other one a motorcycle. One guy came back and one didn’t. He bought a motorcycle and put it at the wall. Arlington (National Cemetery) was absolutely amazing. It’s really overwhelming. You see nothing but tombstones to the horizon. It’s eye-opening and makes you appreciate all that our troops do for us. The size of the Iwo Jima monument is absolutely amazing.”
“She covered the whole trip,” said Brett, who found Brooke a tough act to follow. “We played basketball with people from Wisconsin. Their guy was like 6-foot-7. We called him Birdman. We lost. The score was horrible.”
“I really liked the Lincoln Memorial,” Tony said. “We tried to find the ‘mistakes.’ On the back of his head there’s another face, which I couldn’t see.”
Two urban legends revolve around the sculpture of the 16th president.
Some claim the face of Gen. Robert E. Lee was carved onto the back of Lincoln’s head and looks back across the Potomac toward his former home, Arlington House, now part of Arlington National Cemetery.
Another popular legend, which the National Park Service also denies, is that Lincoln is depicted using sign language to represent his initials, with his left hand shaped to form an “A” and his right hand making an “L.”
“We got to visit the MLK (Martin Luther King) memorial, which was brand new,” Allen said. “I liked seeing the Vietnam wall, too. Friday was my favorite day because we got to see whatever we wanted. I went to the White House in 104-degree weather. I was about 25 feet from a perfect picture and the Secret Service told us to go the other side of the road. They said Michelle Obama was coming so they wanted to block off the street. We didn’t see anything but police cars.”