This is me (right) and 2 of my friends in Washington DC in January 1997 for the presidential inauguration. Looking back at this picture makes me laugh because we were 17 (I was actually still 16) and we were sitting alone on the streets of Washington DC! We went with our school and I'd say 90% of the time we were with chaperons, but since this was inauguration day, we had a free day to do what ever we wanted to. We rode the subway to the Capital and found a curb to sit and wait 2 or 3 hours before the inauguration began.
I don't recall ever feeling nervous or worried about what might happen to the 4 of us teenagers walking the streets alone. I don't know if it's because we were young and oblivious to what might happen or it was just 15 years ago and it was "a different world, back then". Who knows, but I am very glad my parents allowed me to go because I learned a lot that week we were there. It wasn't just politics that I learned about (we had political classes for 4 out of the 7 days), I was given a lesson in responsibility and independence that helped me to make me who I am today.
I hope that I can do the same for my girls and remember to have an open mind when they come to me in High School and ask to go to places like Washington DC and Singapore, like my parents did.