June 13, 2004
Friday in DC
Posted by Jon Henke
As mentioned previously, I decided to visit DC on Friday to be a part of the events surrounding Reagan's memorial. Unfortunately, I was unable to view the procession of Reagan's body either to or from the National Cathedral, but the scenes surrounding the entire event were worth the trip. A few thoughts...
* Perhaps in part because the Federal government had been shut down - as fitting tribute for Reagan as any I could imagine - the tone in the town seemed very quiet. The bustle of the city was almost entirely absent, and the people who were out and about were....reserved.
* There was a 2-3 block radius roped off around the National Cathedral, so we were unable to get closer. We did see one fairly large, and well-guarded, procession leaving the Cathedral as soon as the service ended. It was speculated that it contained either Nancy Reagan or George Bush. Marine 1 flew overhead shortly after, though, which seemed to rule out President Bush.
* I've never seen so many police and Secret Service agents in my life. I can only imagine how many were there, but out of our sight. The security was astounding, as well it should have been. Imagine the impact, both psychological and practical, on the Western world had that service - full of world leaders - been attacked.
* Shortly after the end of the service, the attendees poured out. I thought, for a moment, to stop some and ask them politely about the service....but it seemed, somehow, wrong. One lady did, however, tell a friend of mine that it was beautiful.
* As we waited for the police to drop the barriers, some notables did come our way. I noticed William F Buckley, Bob and Elizabeth Dole, and (I think) Senator Rockefeller. A friend noticed Bill Kristol. There were a number of other people who looked familiar (congressmen), but couldn't quite be placed.
A great many people walked up to Bob Dole to shake his hand or have a picture taken, and he was obliging.....but, again, it seemed inappropriate for that day.
* Sadly, there were protesters.....(picture via Outside the Beltway)
The signs I saw included:
- Thank God for September 11th
On the other side of the street, there was a small table set up with two pieces of paper, and the handwritten message that Reagan didn't have to die when he did. He had been intentionally infected, you see, with a bacteria that causes Alzheimers - something which had been developed in 1982 by...(at that point, I stopped reading. Life is too short, you know)
* We encountered one man who had driven all the way from Toledo, Ohio, just to be there for the viewing and the memorial. I suspect there were a great many more like him.