Volunteering is an intern’s mantra. You never know what surprises may come of it.
It was Monday when I volunteered to help check in guests at NPR’s Talk of the Nation (TOTN). The show held a special broadcast in honor of the 20th anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall. What I didn’t realize until I showed up for duty, was that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright would be a guest on the show. So when I hurried down to the lobby, I saw “Maddie” (as I’ll fondly refer to her from now on), coming inside. I held the doors open for her, and escorted her on the elevator ride and to the Green Room.
She talked on air with TOTN host Neal Conan about the issues of the Cold War. Of course, it was great when the “serious” talk broke because a caller asked about her famous pins. “I wanted to know if you’re wearing a pin today, and what meaning it might have?” the caller asked Maddie. Madam Albright informed the radio masses that she was wearing a “sun” pin to symbolize the bright hope that came from the fall of the Berlin Wall.
But I decided to wear a very large sun today. I do think that there was such an opening and brightness that came as a result of the fall of the wall, and sunlight for a lot of people that had been in the dark for a long time.
She was actually given a pin made from a piece of the Berlin Wall, however it is currently on display. Her reason for wearing pins was perfect: “And it’s a lot of fun because I love to talk about foreign policy. But with the jewelry, it’s like with a spoonful of sugar.” She sounded like Mary Poppins right then.
Maddie was a very eloquent speaker – with the voice of a thirty-year-old (a compliment, Maddie, I promise!) The in-studio audience snapped photos on their iPhones, and I even saw interns taking copious amounts of notes. Luckily, this isn’t the last I’ll see of Maddie. She’s coming to speak at Butler University in the March.
My roommate Katie got to be part of history this past weekend, too. (She’s interning in Nancy Pelosi’s press office at the Capitol.) She volunteered to go into work on Saturday, and didn’t come home until after 1 am. It took all day to pass the health care bill. It was amazing to hear her explain what it was like to be on the Hill, being a part of history. Of course, she blogged about it, too, at Dudek in the District.
The lesson here: stick to your guns, and offer to help whenever necessary. You never who you might meet in an elevator, or what groundbreaking event you’ll be a part of. That’s D.C. for ya.