White House Experience Oct 2013
By IMCNews Volunteer White House Reporter Frank Shelton
Pictured left to right above: Frank Shelton and IMCNews publisher Dr. Anthony Harper. Click here to download Wednesday January 8, 2014 radio interview with Frank Shelton.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Since childhood, I had three passions: Politics, Protect the President or Proclaim Truth around the Globe. By my 35th birthday, I was blessed to pursue all three vocations. My family are fifth generation natives of our Nation's Capital and I was born on President's Day Weekend, Feb 20, 1972. My father retired as Deputy Chief with the United States Capitol Police and protected seven U.S. Presidents. Dad was a fourth generation D.C. police officer and my great-great-great grandfather, Joseph William Shelton was on duty, Good Friday 1865 at Ford's Theater the very night that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. My ancestor was noted in two D.C. newspapers from the 1870's in his obituary depicting that he assisted in carrying the 6'4 Commander in Chief across the street to the adjacent Peterson House the eve of President Lincoln's death.
After working 17 years on Capitol Hill in various capacities and serving Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle on July 27, 2007 I left Washington "by faith" never dreaming that I would have the privilege to return to Capitol Hill and The White House.
It has been said "to whom much is given much is required" and "the greatest among you is the servant." After much thought and consideration I couldn't shake the thought that it really is a great privilege and responsibility to serve God and Country. Dr. Anthony Harper, publisher of Intermountain Christian News graciously invited both Melissa Alvidrez and I to serve as volunteer correspondents with his newspaper covering The White House. On Friday, October 25, 2013 it was my good fortune to re-connect with Dr. Anthony Harper in Washington, D.C. and we took a taxi from Union Station and got out a block from The White House entering the black iron gates on the North Lawn near the West Wing. After going through security with the fine folks of the United States Secret Service it was just as awe inspiring and humbling to enter through the gates as before previously in my political career.
Over the years, I have been blessed to hear six United States President's speak in person but the fact is walking through those gates never get old. It certainly wasn't "old hat" and it felt like the first time returning to the Peoples' House. However, I can relate to Melissa's account of feeling the enormous honor but heavy weight of working at The White House.
What are the odds, I was born President's Day Weekend 1972 but our son, Andrew Lincoln was born inauguration day, January 20, 2009 the very day and exact hour President Obama was being sworn in.
As Dr. Harper and I walked up the circular drive towards the West Wing on our immediate right were the major news cameras strategically set to cover the President's every move on a moments notice. Directly before us was positioned the ever present U.S. Marine serving as a sentry wearing the world's sharpest uniform posted just outside granting access to the President's and his staff personal office space while the Executive Mansion was on our left.
We were escorted towards the James S. Brady Press Room in the West Wing and hadn't been on the grounds ten minutes when asked if we wanted to hear President Obama and Vice President Biden speak in the East Room of The White House. Without missing a beat we accepted the invite and were ushered with the rest of the White House Press Correspondents to cover the President addressing the audience on health care. After the thirty minute ceremony we congregated back to the Press Briefing Room and had the chance to connect with staff and other key reporters.
Dr. Harper graciously made me feel welcome and introduced me to some of his friends and colleagues. He has a great respect for our Nation and leaders praying for them daily.
After about an hour the briefing began and the White House Press Secretary welcomed us all to start the meeting and shared some key highlights and mentioned the President's upcoming schedule. After taking a few questions from the press pool the meeting adjorned and we quietly grabbed our belongings and headed out to exit the premises. With each step, I couldn't help but recall a story I heard years before that has been engrained in my heart for two decades.
It took place in 1863, just outside of the world's most powerful address 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. A boy was playing the solitare game "hopscotch" and his game ceased when he saw the tears of a senior citizen leaning up against the gates of The White House. As compassionate as only a kid could he raced to the stranger and asked "why he cried?" The man barked: "You are just a kid and can do nothing for me so I won't waste my time on you!" The boy not discouraged in the least inquired with greater urgency "why the tears?" The senior rolled his eyes and exclaimed "Since no one else will listen I will share my story. I've tried for three days with no success to enter The White House." The boy blurted "why do you need to get in?" The man replied "my son has been arrested for fleeing his post in the midst of Civil War. I raised my son better than that and I need to speak to the President for a pardon." The boy said "That's all you need?" The man in disbelief said "Yes! But you are just boy and how could you help me?" The lad said: "Follow me!"
When the guards saw the boy immediately the gates were open and they walked across the North Lawn, entering the Executive Mansion and in less than five minutes down the spiral steps walked the Commander in Chief adorning a beard and stove top hat. Without hesitation the boy introduced the world's most powerful man to his new friend he had just found on the street minutes before. After hearing the stranger's plea the President granted a pardon.
How did the senior citizen who tried unsuccessfully for 72 hours now get in through the gates of The White House? The lad was Tad Lincoln, the President's son. The Bible says "no man gets to the Father unless you come in with the Son."
IMCNews realizes the door that has opened at The White House is because of grace and we don't take the opportunity for granted. As my ancestor carried President Lincoln on that dark, dreary night we have the high honor to shine a light on a new day in America. Please consider supporting IMCNews and your generous giving can help us do what we have been called to do. Pray for our President, First Family, Cabinet and our leaders both nationally and locally regardless of political preference or your personal persuasion. All of us can use a fresh touch of compassion, civility and be mindful of our Creator's plan for each and every American and citizen around the globe.