Week gives years of memories

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, July 14, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS - From Civil War battlefields at Gettysburg to The Capitol Steps' satire of political personalities they just met, Cass County's Citizenship Washington Focus delegates say their whirlwind week left them with memories to last a lifetime.
Five participants collaborated on a highlights presentation Thursday night to the Board of Commissioners, including: Kaitlyn Wagley of Edwardsburg, Silver Spurs 4-H club; Jenna Bowman of Niles, Mechanicsburg; Stephanie Thorpe and Sean Thorpe of Niles, Country Clovers; and Whitney Podell of Dowagiac, Silver Spurs.
Leading off, Kaitlyn said they departed "Saturday, very early" for their June 11-18 adventure in the nation's capital.
Monday night they drank in the sights of Washington after dark, including the Jefferson Memorial.
Tuesday, on Capitol Hill, they met Michigan Democratic Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow and U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph.
They learned about the crafting of legislation in Congress and had tickets to attend the Senate in session. "We also ran into other dignitaries, which was really, really exciting," including Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic nominee for president, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Dick Durbin, who is a third cousin of commission Chairman Robert Wagel, R-Wayne Township.
Jenna went to the podium next, picking up the narrative with Wednesday's visit to Arlington National Cemetery, where they viewed 200,000 "crosses" and the changing of the guard and visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Afternoon sightseeing also took them to memorials for President Abraham Lincoln, Vietnam, Korea and World Wars I and II.
They practiced pushing bills through the two chambers.