Well, history day 2014 has come and gone. Joel Myers and I have spent over six months working on our website about the American Fighting Man’s Code of Conduct and an American POW’s responsibility to escape. We placed first at the district and state competition and therefore advanced to the national competition in Washington, DC held this past week. As previously mentioned, Justin Myers who has been doing NHD for longer than Joel and I didn’t advance past the state competition this year. This was a great shock to all of us. He sent the documentary he had made to a few people who had helped him with research. It got passed on, and then he received and invitation to play his video at the National League of POW/MIA Families annual conference (also in Washington) and then meet with Secretary Chuck Hagel…! Dad and I had the immense pleasure of coming with him and his family on a VIP tour of the pentagon and meeting with Secretary Hagel. I don’t agree with Chuck Hagel on everything, he and I have different opinions on many things but I still have never felt so honored by someone giving time out of their busy day for me. The next day, the news released that a suspect regarding the Benghazi, Lybia terrorist attack had been caught. Secretary Hagel, doubtless, already new that had happened but he still took time out of his day to meet with some highschoolers. Justin also got featured in the Omaha World Herald as well, you can see the article here: Losing contest leads to meeting Hagel. Justin is working on getting copyrights figured out on his film and then it will be available for viewing. I’ll be sure to publish it when that comes.
Dad and I broke security during our layover in Chicago to find a geocache. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. (:
Here’s some of the interesting stuff we saw on our walk:
The only place we could take pictures at the pentagon was inside the 9/11 memorial. Being able to stand at ground zero and see where the plane actually hit was incredible. The pentagon was actually built in just 16 months so it was made all out of reinforced concrete. In 2001, they started taking it apart in sections and rebuilding using steel beams to make it stronger. When the plane hit that September, they where almost finished with that section but it was still closed. That means that there were hardly any people in that part of the building, only two offices open during the construction, and, since it had just been replaced, it was the strongest part of the whole building. Incredible to think about. Imagine the damage that could have been done if it had hit somewhere else. Maybe God really does protect us.
The walls in the memorial (shown above) are actually just silver. The reason they look green is because the windows have Kevlar in them. They cost $10,000 apeice and are bullet, fire, and explosion proof. They also discovered that they are plane proof. That’s right; those windows are original from the September 2011. They just fell out of their frames in the impact and were put back in during reconstruction.
We also got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. That is a ceremony that stands out from any other I have seen. I will not post a video because I could not do justice to the dedication the honor guards have. All American citizens should see it sometime in their life.
The next day, Tuesday, we judged and then returned to our hotel. Justin had met the head of the Vietnam Veterans Association at a conference recently and to our surprise, their national headquarters was right across from our hotel. Being the inquisitive homeschoolers we are, we ventured across and struck up conversation with the lady at the front desk.
We were then introduced to the Communications manager who took us downstairs to show us around. Below is Joel holding a brick from the Hoa Lo (wah-low) prison in Vietnam.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Almost every POW we read about was kept in the Hanoi Hilton. And I got to touch one of the bricks from that very place! All the way from Hanoi and because we were curious enough to walk over to this office we got to actually see it.
Oh, and also, turns out that they were just donated a bunch of documents from a former POW/MIA researcher.
— Brent Myers (@mrmyers1) June 18, 2014
Found some of the books we cited plus new ones that where very interesting. Justin went back the next day just to read.
Wednesday, we went to the Nebraska breakfast and got to hear our five state representatives (Fischer, Johanns, Fortenberry, Smith, Terry) speak. Congressman Fortenberry’s charts are always a favorite.
Final day of our trip was Thursday and the awards ceremony.
— Brent Myers (@mrmyers1) June 20, 2014
About our award, we did not place in our category (Senior Group Website) as we did last year but we did win an award for having an “Outstanding Entry” from the state of Nebraska. This means our project was the best out of all the other projects in the state of Nebraska. We did learn that we were in the top twenty websites in our division as well. Definitely disappointing considering last year’s first place win but when you consider that last year we were the oldest in our age group and now we are the youngest in a larger group and we still medaled two years in a row, it’s not too bad. 🙂