NRA Y.E.S. tours the US Legislative and Judicial Branches in Washington, DC
Washington, DC - The United States Capitol Building is the most widely recognized symbol of democratic government in the world and has housed our nation's legislative branch for more than 200 years. For a program like the Youth Education Summit, that seeks to educate students on the significance of the American Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the importance of being an active citizen, it is arguably the most important stop of the week.
Once again trekking into Washington D.C. bright and early, Y.E.S.'s arrival at the US Capitol was greeted by Congressman Duncan D. Hunter of California's 50th congressional district in San Diego. Not afraid to speak his mind, Hunter took questions and spoke to the students about his duties as a Congressman and the importance of the democratic process.
When Y.E.S. could borrow no more of the Congressman's time, they thanked him for the visit and proceeded inside the Capitol for a guided tour. Being the first trip to Washington D.C. for almost all of the students, they marveled at the building's architecture and decor. The tour guide pointed out dozens of astounding reliefs, paintings and statues throughout the building, depicting important persons and events in the country's history.
A favorite of many students and tourists alike was the infamous whister spot in the National Statuary Hall where, as legend has it, former President John Quincy Adams listened to conversations while pretending he was asleep.
The summit was lucky enough to enter the House of Representatives and took seats for a half an hour to hear Congressmen speak on a number of topics.
Although a whole day could have been spent within the walls of the Capitol, Y.E.S. had so much more to see in its final few days. After snapping a few final photos, it was time to leave for the next stop - the Supreme Court.
The court, which had ended its term the previous day, was empty save for tourists. While it was unfortunate that the summit was not present for a day of court, the silver lining was that they were allowed to walk inside the courtroom; an impossible feat had the court been crowded awaiting the announcement of a decision. Inside, a tour guide spoke about the procedures and history of the court, including the basketball court located directly above the courtroom - which the employees affectionately call the real highest court in the land.
Y.E.S.'s next stop would change things up and take advantage of one of the wonderful Smithsonian museums on the National Mall. Students were about to be split into groups for a scavenger hunt at the American History Museum.