PDT Staff Writer
It is probably not just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity -- it is for most of us a never-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so it will be an amazing experience when Ethan Lawson, of Minford, goes to the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama, and the inaugural ball in Washington D.C. in January,
Ethan is a precocious 13-year-old, who attends Minford Middle School, and who has aspirations he is very clear about.
"I want to become president," Ethan says in a clear voice that leaves no room for doubt. "I want to go to West Point and study economics and politics. And I want to join the Army, and after that I want to try to become president."
The trip he will take on Jan. 16 to watch one of the most historic inaugurations in history began several years ago.
"He went to the Junior National Leadership Conference a couple of years ago," said Ethan's mother, Sherry Lawson. "One of his teachers, Teresa Havens nominated him. It's based on your character, your grades, and teacher nomination."
Ethan said he remembers a lot about the first trip to the nation's capitol.
"We went to Harper's Ferry, W. Va., dealing with John Brown," Ethan said. "And then we went to Philadelphia and toured historic Philadelphia, and Washington D.C..
We also went to Baltimore."
Sherry Lawson said her son, whose idol is former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, got to be involved in several debates on his first trip to Washington.
"One of them was about taking God out of the whole government system basically," Sherry Lawson said. "The Pledge (of Allegiance) and off of our money."
Sherry said Ethan called while at the conference and told her, "I'm up against so many different diverse cultures here," he told her.
Ethan felt he was in the minority in arguing to keep God in government.
"It was hard for him because he's got a strong Christian base," Sherry said. "I was very proud of him over that -- but he stood his ground and he told them how he felt, although he told them he respected their opinions too."
Ethan told the other attendees the people should respect the U.S., "because our country was founded by God, and that was the foundation it was built upon."
The experience gave Ethan a new hunger to return to the nation's capitol, but little did he know it would come sooner, and it would be a chance to attend the largest event held every four years in Washington.
"Through that whole organization and his involvement there, they had sent out letters to people," Sherry said. "I got a letter from FedEx in March. It was a little package, and there was this navy blue, gold seal, very pretty invitation asking if he was interested in going to Washington to the inauguration.
"So again we had to submit his application, and he gets to attend the gala. He gets to watch the parade, and watch the actual induction," Sherry said.
"I got an envelope and it said I had been accepted to the Junior Inaugurational Conference, and I had to sign up before a certain date, or else I wouldn't get to go because there were other people," Ethan said. "And I had to have money and that's how it was."
Ethan said he is looking forward to a lot of things when he attends the Inauguration and the Gala.
"I'm really looking forward to the whole inaugural day because we get to go to the Inaugural Ball, and watch the Inaugural speech, and the parade," Ethan said. "And (former Vice President) Al Gore is going to be there and speak to us, and (former presidential candidate and U.S. Sen.) John Kerry and his wife, and there's different speakers."
Sherry said Ethan will be in capitol city for nearly a week, and will also get to tour the monuments and visit the Newseum -- a museum that explores the history of news coverage and involvement.
"He has always said he was going to go into politics -- that he wanted to be president someday," Sherry said. "His plan right now is to go to West Point, and he does real well in school, so I would say he is going to get chances to be heading there."