Veterans Day and Getting Ready For Our Meetings

We think there must be few places that are more special on Veteran’s Day than Washington DC. We saw Veteran’s everywhere. Men, women, older people and younger people, and we thanked them for serving our country. Lola thought it was especially moving to walk the wall at the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial. There were tons of flowers and pictures of people who had fought in the war. And so many names on the wall. 

We also went to the Lincoln memorial (he’s our man since he’s from Illinois). On the steps up to the Lincoln Memorial we walked past the spot where Martin Luther King gave his I Have A Dream speech. Seeing Lincoln so big and thinking about Martin Luther King made Lola feel like she should make a difference in the world while she has a chance. 

We went to the National Air and Space Museum where we saw all kinds of planes and rockets. We learned about Charles Lindbergh who was SO famous as an early pilot. He was crazy famous! His wife Ann was also famous as a writer. Mom told us that our great grandma’s favorite book, Gift From The Sea, was written by Ann Lindbergh. Here we are with them: We also dropped in the Museum of Natural History where we got to see what we would have looked like as Neanderthals and other early human species. Here’s Piper as a Homo Floresiensis:

And here’s Lola as an early Homo Erectus:

But the exciting part of the day was meeting up with the other Kids for the Boundary Waters. There are about 40 of us. Most of them are in high school. We had a dinner and a meeting at the headquarters of the Wilderness Society. We learned about talking to the members of congress and about the different agencies that are in control of our public lands. The Boundary Waters is tricky because it is controlled by two government agencies above the ground and another agency below the ground (for the minerals). But the most important thing we learned was that when we talk to our representatives and other government officials we need to be concise, which means not talking too much AND we need to be clear, which means choosing the best words AND we need to be passionate, because the people in the government won’t remember what we say but they will remember how we make them feel. 

Tomorrow we have a bunch of meetings. Now it’s time for bed and we are tired! Good night!

The Hill and the Bill

  • Today we spent time on the HILL (that’s short for Capitol Hill) and we saw the original BILL of Rights (that’s the part of the Constitution that gives us the right to free speech, freedom of religion and other important rights). We hoped to meet with Senator Feinstein in the morning but that didn’t work out, which was OK because instead we went to the National Archives. There we saw the original Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 
  • It was amazing to see the actual signatures of George Washington, as well as some soon-to-be-presidents and other important people. The documents weren’t easy to read. They are faded and the room is darkened to preserve the parchment.
  • While we were at the National Archives we saw an exhibit on the the spirit of exploration and our country’s expansion of the west. There was a giant picture of a place that looked really familiar. It was Toroweap Point in the Grand Canyon. We know this place because Grandma and Grandpa got married there! Right there! Grandpa has several pictures in his house of the same spot. We’ve heard stories about how nervous Grandma was being so close to the edge of a big cliff.After the Archives we went to the Russell Senate Office Building. There are all sorts of buildings in Washington and most of them are big and white marble. All the senators offices are in three buildings including one called Dirksen (like our dad Dirk!). Today we had three meetings with Senator’s offices. The first was with Senator Toomey’s office (he’s from Pennsylvania). We were all nervous before this one because it was our first but they were really nice. The second meeting was with Senator Gardner’s office (he’s from Colorado). The third meeting was with Senator Kaine’s office (he’s from Virginia). We took turns sharing why the Boundary Waters are important to us. They listened and sometimes they asked questions. They were all very nice to us, and we made sure to be nice to them. We were asking them to do their job by keeping an eye on another part of the government because that other part of the government isn’t doing what they are supposed to be doing. They are SUPPOSED to be doing a 2 year study of the Boundary Waters and the proposed mine to see if the impacts of the mine would hurt the Boundary Waters. But they stopped the study after a year and a half and said they weren’t going to finish. They just stopped. It’s not right. Especially in a place as important as the Boundary Waters. That’s why we were sharing why the Boundary Waters are so important and that’s why we were asking the Senators to make sure the study gets finished. Because we know that the study will say THE MINE SHOULD NOT BE THERE.
  • We were extra lucky because one of the nice Senators from Minnesota arranged for us to have a private tour of the capital. We learned all about the building and spent time in the rotunda (that’s the big round part under the dome).Did you know that there is an empty burial chamber (or tomb) two stories under the rotunda that was meant for George Washington? He ended up being buried at his home in Mt. Vernon. Here’s a pic (from the web -we didn’t get to see it). 
  • After the tour we got a message asking if we could meet up with Jan Schakowsky’s Washington office. She’s from the House of Representatives and their offices are in a whole different area so we ran outside, got a little lost, grabbed a cab, and made it to her office before they closed. We met with Syd Terry who is Jan’s legislative director. We think that means that he advises Jan on important issues. We gave him our presentation (which you can watch at the end of this post). Jan’s office was really nice and they gave us tickets to the Senate and House galleries, which is where visitors can watch the SenatorS or members of the House debating and getting things done. Or not getting things done. Finally we ended the day at an award ceremony of the Outdoor Alliance for Kids. They gave an award to Joseph Goldstein who started #kidsforthwboundarywaters. Congrats Joseph! You deserve it! On the way back to our hotel we went past the capital which is super pretty at night. Lola pinched the statue of Freedom that lives on the top of the dome. 
  • We are super tired. Piper is passed out. But we are proud of ourselves and everyone else. We accomplished a lot. And now, here’s our presentation. Enjoy and good night! – Lola and Piper with help from Mom.