Off to the Big Apple

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— Soon-to-be Hayden High School Senior Christina Reck is looking forward to visiting New York City for all the cultural enrichment, the sights and of course the signature hot dogs and "their really flat pizza."

Reck, 16, was selected by the Rebekah Lodge, a non-profit fraternal organization, to visit the United Nations in New York City. She will travel there, as well as several other places of historical significance, on an educational tour beginning July 5.

Following in the footsteps of her older sister and cousin, she will be the third in her family to make the trip. Her sister got to see the World Trade Center when it was still standing on her visit.

Part of Reck's challenge to earn the trip was write an essay about the positives and negatives that arose when the two buildings were destroyed by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001.

"It made everyone come together as a nation," Reck said. "It made our country aware of the need to protect ourselves. Seeing everyone mourning on the one year anniversary showed how our country is more unified."

After Sept. 11, when President. Bush was calling for war, and the United Nations insisted on conducting more weapons inspections before supporting the United States, some Americans suggested the United States withdraw its membership from the United Nations. Reck disagrees.

Reck said she believes it is vital for people to be unified. Just like it is important for the people of the United States to be unified, it is important for the people of the world to be unified with the United Nations, she said.

To earn the trip, Reck also had to take a quiz about the United Nations, for which she studied scrupulously. She had to know what countries are members of the United Nations and what the official languages are.

She admitted she still has a lot to learn.

"I hope to learn more about the U.N. and more about the system -- how it all works," Reck said. "I just want to come away from it learning a lot more than I knew before."

The trip will begin in Philadelphia, where she and several other contest winners will travel by bus to New Jersey, then New York City for a five-day stay. Next, the group will travel to Niagara Falls, Ottawa, Gettysburg, Washington, D.C. and back to Philadelphia on July 15, where Reck will depart for her return to Hayden.

Reck said one of must-sees is the Empire State Building and the Civil War battle site in Gettysburg.

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