When the large navy blue envelope arrived in the mail, no one at the Lindberg home knew for sure what was inside. We thought maybe it was a wedding invitation or something, but we weren't sure, said Bob Lindberg, 44.
But once they opened the package, two things became immediately clear: one, it wasn't a wedding announcement, and two, it wasn't for Bob. The mystery letter was an exclusive invitation to the presidential inauguration in the nation's capital on Jan. 20, and it was addressed to Brierly Lindberg, 15.
It was a big surprise; I didn't see it coming, said Brierly, a sophomore at Deer Valley High School. I can't believe I'm going to the inauguration.
Thanks to a little-known private leadership program (which Brierly has been a member of for the past few years) called the Congressional Youth Leadership Council (CYLC), Brierly, along with fellow students across the country, will attend the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States, view the inaugural parade and attend one of the gala black-tie balls.
The five day whirlwind trip to D.C. will also include a private tour of the Smithsonian Institute, a visit to the National Mall and a flurry of conferences and debates with keynote speakers as Lance Armstrong, Jesse Jackson and Newt Gingrich.
Every four years, the CYLC chooses a select group of students from the program to attend the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference, in which scholars are afforded the opportunity to share in the inauguration celebration.
For Brierly, the opportunity to participate in and witness a piece of history will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, regardless of which party takes office. Still, he does have a preference. I am more conservative than liberal, so I would like to see John McCain win, said Brierly. I think he is very experienced, and I don't think that his age is a factor at all.
But what is a factor for Brierly, and his parents, is the prospect of his first airplane trip alone and putting together a black-tie outfit. I'm a little nervous to get on a plane by myself, but I'm also very excited, said Brierly, whose parents were not included in the invitation. I'm either going to rent a tux or maybe wear my black suit. We haven't decided yet.
What Brierly has decided, however, is to take full advantage of the trip (which will be an impressive addition to his college resum