American Virtue of Courage This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     As I approached the threshold of the JFK Presidential Library and Museum, I realized that I couldn't even begin to fathom the amount of history inside. Not only did the architecture hold memories for so many, it would also hold small details of my own excitement. It was the beginning of a new history for me as I was about to conduct my first of (hopefully) many interviews.

Entering the overwhelmingly unique Hemingway Room in the Library, we were struck by the lion rug sprawled in the center, and the Hemingway archives lining the walls. We were told where to sit, and where Caroline and Maia (the essay contest winner) would sit.

Dorry and I waited nervously for our interviewee to arrive, clutching our questions and quickly reviewing them. As Caroline entered the room, we were struck by her regal presence, as she

introduced herself to us casually as “Caroline.” Not only was she gracious, articulate, and took a genuine interest in us, but she also had a calming sense of humor that set us all at ease. Although the interview passed quickly, our day was not over yet.

Our next activity was a tour of the museum. Although I have lived in Boston my whole life, I had never been to the Library. The exhibits were captivating and so clearly presented that I can't wait to return! While we only had an hour to explore the exhibits, they proved to be very moving. Reviewing John Kennedy's life and his relationship with his family helped put in context the award ceremony that we were about to attend. The museum really does a great job representing Kennedy and his accomplishments, and highlighting everything that he admired in those who surrounded him.

Next we attended the hour-long ceremony where the Profile in Courage Awards were presented to recipients Doris Voitier and Bill White. It was not only emotional, but also extremely well done. The ceremony celebrated the recipients while also commemorating John F. Kennedy's memory. Both winners' speeches revealed volumes about their characters and courage.

As Voitier remarked several times, what she had done was “what school people do.” She took it upon herself to demonstrate that every person has a responsibility to serve others. It was truly inspirational to hear her story and know of her humble yet courageous display of service to others.

Bill White was noble in another way. He heard that there was a problem and rather than thinking through any political implications of his actions, he just did what any human should do: he helped. His response time was so quick that it shows he thought with his heart to save the lives of many of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Both award recipients are heroes in the truest sense of the word.

We were invited to a private reception that was indeed the perfect ending to such an exciting day. From the private press room in the morning, to the remarkable Hemingway Room, through the museum, and into the intimate award ceremony, our experience as first-time interviewers was truly an amazing one.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 10 at 11:31 am
i love this so much!
DannieJ. said...
Mar. 7, 2009 at 11:57 pm
Very Interesting. I luv how you use formal words in your writing. Good vocabulary use.
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