Anthony Atwood’s Inauguration Journal – Day 9
SATURDAY 10 – JAN09: 0630. This day is one of preparations for a coming trial-run of the parade on I-Day. There is a briefing in the basement, where a huge map of the parade route has been set up. I don’t mean set up on the wall. The map is larger than the floor space of some homes, so it is laid out on the floor of the basement. The team collects around the fringes and we go over tomorrow’s exercise; who’s on first, what’s on second, and so forth. You would be proud to see the loving care and attention to detail being poured out.
We are cut loose a bit early since the following day will start early. At mid-afternoon I set forth to find the Fort Myer thrift shop. Fort Myer borders Arlington. Military thrift shops are about the same as Goodwill stores, but with their own flavor. Such stores keep odd hours and offer a miscellany of items such as used golf clubs, secondhand toasters, footlockers, and bric-a-brac. I shop them looking for the items of historical militaria sometimes to be found. The post runs alongside Arlington National Cemetery and is home to the “Old Guard,” the elite soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknowns 24/7.
The thrift shop is located in an old brick stable and this warms my heart. Long after horses are no longer used for anything but occasional ceremonies and play, the Army has kept these sturdy and good looking buildings, restored them, and turned them around for creative reuse as warehouses, storerooms, office space, and… thrift shops. It is a fine application of historic preservation. Military posts may appear quaint and old-fashioned to the short-sighted. Yet in large measure they are the living repositories of our common American heritage.
My finds this day are a reproduction of a Romanoff family portrait, an Army Air Corps commemorative calendar, and an Air Force paperweight dating 1970. Price: two dollars, American. There are four second-hand Navy Bridge Coats hanging on a rack in the uniform section. These are long officer winter coats studded with gold buttons, and they are a uniform item in great demand among us, as we were all directed to report with one. Alas, I bought a brand new one before coming from Miami! So I pass, although they are going for a song. If those coats could talk, what would they tell about where they have been and who has worn them? Outside, the day has become rainy, and a scattering of light snow has fallen. Night comes quickly. Taps Taps. Lights out.