Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
After a five-day trip to Washington, D.C., Ben Serbus can say he was one of the many who saw Barack Obama's Inauguration. Ben came home Wednesday, Jan. 21. He not only went to the Inauguration, but also other exclusive activities through the Junior Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference group. Ben's father, Charlie Serbus, flew with Ben to Washington but he wasn't able to attend the Inauguration; instead Charlie stayed with a family friend. "We learned a lot about how the Electoral College works and leadership skills," Ben says. The disappointing part was the group didn't get to watch the Inauguration from as close as they thought. They were supposed to sit near the Smithsonian Institution (about 10 blocks away from the Capitol), but for security reasons had to move to the Washington Monument (about 15 blocks away). Despite this disappointment, Ben says "I thought it was a great moment and I was there." The group took part in many other activities. Ben says he went to the Air and Space Museum where he took pictures and saw several astronauts including Buzz Adlrin. Another activity was visiting the Newseum, a museum dedicated to news, with a full-size news helicopter and a bullet-riddled news truck from Iraq. Ben said he was surprised the museum could fit the helicopter. As for speakers, Ben said he liked listening to Colin Powell the best. "He told us what we should look for in leadership and also his story on how he became General." Ben stayed in a hotel with his group of about 25 other students to each chaperone. The students were from all around the country and Ben met a lot of kids his own age. His roommate Jake was from Maryland. Ben says he might go again sometime. As for the skills he has learned so far, in the future he said he's thought about working in the federal government. "It was very exciting for him," Ben's mother Ann Serbus says. "It opened his eyes to how politics were run."