Friday, May 1, 2009

A Look Inside the White House

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
Washington D.C.—
The nation’s capital is a great place to visit in the spring. Especially when you have a sibling who can give you a private tour of the West Wing of the White House.
Emmett Beliveau is the Director of Advance for the Obama White House, and he is also my older brother. As President Obama closed in on the symbolic 100-day milestone of his historic presidency, I was lucky enough to get an insider’s look at the halls of the legendary West Wing.
The tour began at the side entrance of the West Wing, the center of operations in the White House. On the hallways inside, there is an array of large framed photographs primarily documenting the early international travels of the 44th President. The locations of the photos are wide-ranging, including Iraq, France, Germany, England, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, and the Czech Republic to name a few. These photos continue through most of the hallways and bring a lively feel to the West Wing atmosphere.
Next the tour passed the Situation Room. As this room is restricted to the public, one can only imagine the high-tech communications gadgetry that must be available to the President in emergency situations. Across the hall from the Situation Room is the White House “Mess,” the private West Wing dining room run by the US Navy. Here the President can meet with elected officials and other important guests over dinner without the media present.
After climbing some stairs to the next level of the West Wing, it was out to the Rose Garden. The Rose Garden is often used for outdoor press conferences, but President Obama has yet to hold one there due to uncooperative weather. From the Rose Garden, one can look left towards the residence of the First Family. The residence is the most recognizable part of the complex, with its grand columns on both the north and south porticos. To the right is the outdoor entrance to the Oval Office. The mere 50 yards between the residence and the Oval Office makes for an easy Presidential commute. This covered outside area was made famous in part by the photographs of President John F. Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Robert Kennedy troubling over the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
On the way to the Oval Office the tour passes the Cabinet Room. Images of an exhausted President Lyndon B. Johnson sitting at the middle of that large conference room table come to mind, from the turbulent days of the Vietnam War. President Obama has not yet held his first cabinet meeting, as his choice for Department of Health and Human Services, Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, was only confirmed by the Senate on April 28, 2009.
The public is not allowed into the Oval Office, but most of it is visible from standing just outside the door. While President Obama has not yet changed the carpet and drapes used by President George W. Bush, he has added two busts of President Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, a playground has been added behind the Oval Office, so President Obama can keep an eye on his daughters, Sasha and Malia, while they play outside with their new dog, Bo.
The Roosevelt Room comes near the end of the tour. President Richard Nixon gave the room its name in honor of related Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Nobel Peace Prize won by Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt is prominently displayed, which he earned by negotiating the peace process in the Russo-Japanese War, a process that took place in Portsmouth, N.H.
No matter its occupant, the West Wing is an impressive sight to see. And seeing it by way of your older brother makes it a very special experience indeed.
Photo caption: Columnist Devin Beliveau toured the West Wing of the White House during April school vacation. This is a view of the rose garden from outside the oval office. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Fort Bragg General Allyn, Berwick
Native, Receives Second Star

Berwick native Brigadier General Daniel B. Allyn, deputy commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, was promoted to Major General during a ceremony at the Fort Bragg Main Post Flag Pole on April 27.
The ceremony started off with an 11-gun salute in honor of Allyn, during which, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Burpee, first sergeant of the salute battery from Klamath Falls, Ore. presented Allyn with a brass shell casing inscribed with his name and the date of his promotion. Lt. Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, deferred the gun-salute to Allyn in honor of his promotion.
Shortly following, Allyn joined by his family on the field, smiled with pride as his wife, Debbie pinned on his new rank. His children also participated in the ceremony by placing their father’s new rank on his beret.
“[Allyn] is the kind of leader who knows how to build winning teams,” said Austin. “He uses creative ways to get more with less. He is always forward thinking and mission focused.”
“It has been extremely clear to the Army, and to anyone who has ever served with General Allyn, that he leaves excellence in his wake,” said Austin. “Dan has led men and women through savage combat. He has experienced the limits of war. And he has stood tall in the face of adversity.”
Austin concluded by congratulating Allyn on his promotion. “It has been an honor for me to serve with you,” Austin said, “and I certainly look forward to continuing to serve with you in the future.”
Allyn then took his place at the lectern, addressing the friends and family that supported him throughout his military career.
“Thank you all for joining us today, thank you all for honoring Debbie, Danielle, Josh and I,” said Allyn. “We look forward to paying back your sacrifice and your service with service from us in the future.”
Allyn’s promotion to Major General was announced Sept. 2, 2008, while he was deployed to Iraq with the XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters. He served as the chief of staff for the Multi-National Corps -Iraq. During the 15-month deployment, the XVIII Airborne Corps saw unprecedented security gains throughout the country.
Prior to his current position, Allyn completed joint assignments with the Joint IED Defeat Organizations and the Joint Operations Directorate, J-3 of the Joint Staff. He also served as commander of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), culminating with service during Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as two tours of duty with the 82nd Airborne Division; two years with 2nd Infantry Division, and three tours of duty with the 75th Ranger Regiment.
Allyn, a 1981 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, went on to graduate from the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses at Fort Benning, Ga.; the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and the Naval War College at Newport, R.I., where he earned a Master of Arts degree in Strategic and National Security Studies.
Article by Spc. Crystal Abbott, 10th Press Camp Headquarters.
Photo caption: Debbie Allyn pins her husband, Maj. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, deputy commanding general, XVIII Airborne Corps, with his new rank during a promotion ceremony at the Fort Bragg Main Post Flag Pole on April27. (Spc. Crystal Abbott, 10th Press Camp Headquarters photo)

Two WHS Seniors Recognized
for their Citizenship

Wells High School students Hope Beisswanger and Molly Burgess have been selected by officials of Wells High School to receive the Western Maine Conference’s Citizenship Award for 2009.
“It’s such a huge surprise, I never really thought I did anything out of the ordinary while I was at Wells High School,” commented Burgess in an e-mail. “It’s a huge honor to be selected for doing what I thought was expected of me.”
Each year, two seniors are picked from schools in the Western Maine Conference area which includes the counties of York, Cumberland, Oxford, and Androscoggin. Students are selected by their own schools based upon their contributions in academics, athletics, leadership, attitude, and good deeds for others.
Beisswanger and Burgess have received high honors in academics and are involved in numerous extracurricular activities at school. For example, both are members of the National Honor Society.
“It was a great honor to be selected for the WMC Citizenship Award,” wrote Beisswanger in an e-mail. “Just the other day my dad told me that both of my older sisters had received this distinction when they were seniors; knowing that made it even more special for me.” Beisswanger is referring to her sisters Jess (WHS Class of 2003) and Laura (WHS Class of 2006) who were honored by WHS and the WMC for their display of good citizenship.
On May 5, Beisswanger and Burgess, along with many other good citizens from other schools, will be honored at the Western Maine Conference’s annual banquet at Verillo’s Conference Center in Westbrook.
Article by Reg Bennett, Public Information Officer of the Wells-Ogunquit Community School District.
Photo caption: Recognized by the Western Maine Conference for their demonstration of good citizenship are WHS Seniors Molly Burgess (left) and Hope Beisswanger. (Reg Bennett photo)