Results tagged ‘ Washington Nationals ’
Thursday, April 11, 2013
This morning, I decided to walk over to Arlington National Cemetery and then walk around those hallowed grounds. Our hotel’s concierge assured me that I could reach the cemetery easily on foot, so off I went. Well, I technically reached the cemetery’s walls easily. The getting in part was not so easy.
Walking along the wall, the first gate I came to was locked tight. A little further along, I ran into a manned gate that marked the edge of the cemetery and a military installation (Fort Myer, which I didn’t know even existed). Three guys manned the gate.
“Hey, can I get into the cemetery from here,” I asked. “I just want to walk around.”
“Do you have an ID?”
“No,” I laughed. “All I have is a hotel room key. I don’t want to go onto the base, I just want to get into the cemetery. I didn’t know it would be this hard. Can I walk all the way around?”
“It’s a long way.”
“OK, well right down there, the stone wall to the cemetery is only waist high, can I just jump over it?”
At this point, one guard, an older guy, said, “You want to jump over the fence?”
“Well, I’m just trying to get inside the cemetery.”
A younger guard quickly added, “Only if I don’t see you …” Now, he seemed to be smiling as he said this, but I also noticed that he was armed with an M-4 rile.
I could just imagine the headline.
“White Sox executive shot while breaking into Arlington National Cemetery.”
So I start walking. And walking. And I can now tell you there is no way into Arlington National Cemetery by foot from Arlington.
Determined, at this point, not to be defeated, I went back to the nearest Metro Stop, hopped on the next train and entered Arlington Cemetery by the normal visitors route.
Stating the obvious, but a walk through Arlington is truly a moving and humbling experience, so many “Unknown” headstones from every war.
Today, I happened to pass the grave of Abner Doubleday (see photo below), long claimed as the “inventor” of baseball.
Yesterday, we had taken a tour of the Pentagon and one of our tour guides, Seaman Tom Williams of Oklahoma City, came to the game last night with several of his other guides. Seaman Williams mentioned that he had spent a year as a member of the color guard at Arlington, serving in over 500 funerals.
I ran into former White Sox hitting coach (and current Braves hitting coach) Greg Walker in the hotel lobby this morning. The Braves are in town early before they begin a series with the Nationals tomorrow night.
The building is more than impressive, with memorabilia, photos, paintings and history exhibits lining its 17 miles of hallways (we only walked a little over one mile on our tour).
Among the sights: tour guides (our two were from the Navy and Army) who walk backwards the entire way … a salute-free courtyard (“otherwise all everyone would do all day is salute one another,” according to our guide) … a moving memorial to the victims of 9/11 attack on the building and the nation … and a fly-by of the office of Naval Secretary Ron Maybus to say hello. The Secretary – who threw out a first pitch at a White Sox game last year when he was in Chicago to commission the USS Illinois submarine – wasn’t around.
The resounding takeway for me was that while the 9/11 attacks seem, in some ways to be long ago, they are very real at The Pentagon where daily reminders line every hallway, where employees can worship in a chapel near where the plane hit the building, and where a look outside shows a memorial arbor of small trees and sculptures. It was very moving and made you appreciate the cost and sacrifice of the past 12 years.
Of course, like any good tour, we concluded in The Pentagon gift shop where a few challenge coins were purchased and where Head Trainer Herm Schneider then “briefed the media.” (See photo below).
Don’t worry folks, The Pentagon was in good hands. And the other question is, how in the world did these guys get into The Pentagon?)