Local family visits White House numerous times
January 30, 2009
Filed under Feature Archives
Over the past few years, security has increased immensely in and around Washington, D.C. Due to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, citizens no longer have as much access to their nation’s capital as they once did; this is especially true with the White House.
Prior to 2001, visiting the White House was fairly simple. All anyone wishing to take a tour needed to do was go to the White House Visitor Center, get a free ticket from the on-duty National Park Service park ranger and show up at the White House gates for the self-guided tour of the president’s home. Now, with nation’s tightened security, the only way a tour is possible is by making a reservation through a local congressman at least one month prior to one’s visit. At least ten people must be present in the group.
Despite these security precautions, Middletown High School freshman Kaitlin Lynott and her father, MHS football coach Kevin Lynott, have visited the White House several times. They received tickets through Lynott’s grandmother who worked at the White House during the previous administration. The special tours the Lynotts have taken give the whole family the opportunity to visit places public tours do not usually see, such as the Oval Office and the West Wing.
“We also saw where the presidents meet with congressmen,” said Lynott.
The family gets to step in and see where many important and influential decisions have been made, as well many “behind the scenes” features of the White House.
“It’s definitely really cool to see how the president runs the country,” said Lynott.
Visiting the White House is a unique experience. The public is able to step into the current president’s home and look at the many historical artifacts still in use or on display.
For example, in the “Blue Room,” eight pieces of the original room are still there from when James Monroe rebuilt the room after the fire of 1814.
In the “East Room”, a popular place for the White House balls and parties, a full-length portrait of George Washington still hangs. It is the only known artifact to remain in the White House since 1800. It was also in the East Room where the body of President Abraham Lincoln laid after he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865.
The last time Lynott visited the White House was a few weeks ago, when she was able to see the president’s departure from Marine One. During the next presidency, Lynott will most likely not take tours of the White House because her grandmother no longer works there.
However, Lynott said she “really enjoyed all of the tours” the family has taken in previous years.
Even though many people do not have the opportunity to take the special tours Lynott has, visiting the White House is still something every American should try to experience despite the tighter security in recent years.