Long time, no see - D.C.
As I was preparing early Monday morning to fly to Washington, D.C., I thought back to the last time I visited. And we should just get this out of the way right up front: I'm old. I am a staff member at the National FFA Organization and have been out of school for, well, let's just say two decades and counting.
The last time I was in Washington, I was with a group of high school students, just like this time. I can still remember the unbelievable sense of presence that I felt at the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. I was fortunate to travel with a teacher who reminded us about the importance of being respectful even as we yearned to just be kids. As if by magic, though, the places commanded respect more than any speech from my teacher.
This week, I've watched as a new crop of student leaders stood toe to toe with Washington power brokers, met with four-star generals, were addressed by senators and former cabinet officials and stood proudly at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Without warning, that amazing sense of presence I felt back in Nineteen humphty drmmm returned with a vengeance, and I found myself discreetly wiping a tear or two while walking the hallowed ground at Arlington.
You should know this about the FFA state leaders and staff members I've been with all week: They are all outstanding, and they are all here for the right reasons. I'm once again certain that FFA and the future of agriculture are in the best of hands.