The halfway point of 2014 Boys Nation

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The halfway point of 2014 Boys Nation

For 10 years I was a counselor at Boys State, first in Virginia, and later in California, and it is always a great experience.  It's tiring, but you leave the week feeling a renewed hope for future generations.  Boys Nation brings the best two citizens from each of the 49 Boys States (Hawaii doesn't participate) and have them replicate the federal government from the ground up like they do on the state level.

Yesterday I had to duck out for a day to watch as my friend Ryan Pitts received his long-awaited Medal of Honor, but when I got back here last night it was fun to see how wound up the kids were about the elections and what they had done.

I wanted to do a sort of omnibus post with all the videos, so everyone could see on one page what the kids are doing.  First, they arrived.  In particular the kids who flew in from Anchorage, Alaska had suffered a LONG day of travel.  But most of the kids were eager to get stated.

After some opening comments from National Legislative Director Lou Celli the boys were sworn in as Senators.

This year the Senators also got a chance to spend time with the Boys Nation class of 1963, perhaps the most hallowed of all Boys Nation classes, since it was immortalized by a photo of a young Senator from Arkansas named Bill Clinton who got a chance to shake the hand of the President, John F. Kennedy.

Nightline did a good piece on it a few years ago.

But President Clinton is in Africa right now, but his classmates came and reflected on their time at Boys Nation and what it has meant to them.

And then the elections began:


Long days of voting are intermixed with trips to the Memorials around DC, a local Legion post, and a trip to Arlington National Cemetery.


So, it has made for some long days, some late nights, and some very early mornings.  The boys don't seem to be tiring yet (unlike some counselors, like me) but we still have 4 days to go.

Today the boys will elected their President and Vice President, and I will have more on that tomorrow.

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It's too bad that someone didn't tell the Boys Nation delegates that Arlington is a place of great honor, and that the Tomb of the Unknowns deserves respect and attention. It looks like most of those in the front row are lounging around and having a good time instead of paying the respect that is due. I would fault the Legionnaires who took them there for not properly instructing them on the importance of the ceremony and the proper conduct to be observed while there.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.