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Letter: 'The freedom to sing'

I have recently returned from Washington, D.C., after another great trip with some of my eighth-grade students. The weather was spectacular, the sights amazing and the kids' enthusiasm infectious. We did the traditional three days of nonstop sightseeing throughout our nation's capital. This year I got the chance to view the trip through not only through the role of a teacher but also as a parent as my stepson, Alex, was one of the students on the trip. It was fun to watch him laugh with his friends and soak up the sights in such a memorable setting. There is nothing like traveling down Constitution Avenue or standing on Capitol Hill to remind you of how deep our history goes and how fortunate we are to live in a country in which these sites are accessible to all.

The new visitor's center at our national Capitol is fabulous. The Statue of Freedom is located right outside the museum and is a popular place for pictures. Our guide told us that anyone can sing at any time by Freedom as a symbol of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. That sparked my interest and I knew that this group of students, who are very outgoing and expressive, would be willing to sing. They found a song they all knew -- the Preamble to the Constitution -- and took their places and sang. Mr. Bakke and Mr. Barber, we need to thank you for teaching them all this important song as part of their seventh-grade curriculum. You would have been proud to see them share their voices with all those in the visitors' center that day.

The singing continued at the National Archives. While waiting in line to go in, the park ranger was quizzing our kids about the Constitution. She challenged our kids to recite the Preamble, and Rebecca Christensen conquered the challenge by singing a solo of the entire preamble. What a moment!

Thanks to the parents for making this trip a reality for your children. To see the foundation of our government in action today is an experience they will never forget. Thanks to the students, class of 2014, who came along and made the most of our D.C. adventure. Let the music always live on in you and never be afraid to enjoy the freedom to sing.