Anthony Atwood’s Inauguration Journal – Day 2
SATURDAY 03 – JAN09: 0630. Reveille, reveille. All Hands turn to. We collect in the lobby. Slow motion by some on account of jet lag. All of us in dress blues, standard Navy garb for reporting in, and stressed because of the nature of the mission. The Navy cop knows the streets, we will follow her. Saddle up and mount up. Our lady cop led the way in her jeep. Her license plate reads SPIDER WN. So we followed Spiderwoman through the quiet streets. Day breaking as we crossed the Potomac River into Washington. A cold morning. The city in the dawn is majestic. Stately pillars and monuments and an air of history.
The Washington Navy Yard is on the river, a gaggle of old brick buildings and cobblestones, decorated with ivy, rows of old cannons and anchors, surrounded by a red brick wall. A destroyer, USS Berry, is berthed alongside. The Navy Yard is as old as the city, and the Marine Corps barracks there is “The Oldest Post.” Assembled is the team of 3 officers, 15 Chief Petty Officers, and 70 junior enlisted personnel. We join 50 Regulars and Reservists who have been in place for awhile. A day of check in and briefings and powerpoints. Team is now at strength, 125.
This Navy component is a small part of the AFIC (Armed Forces Inaugural Committee) of over 1,000 Joint Service: Army, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and National Guard. On “I Day” (Inauguration Day), 7,000 more will be on hand.
This is the 56th Presidential Inauguration of the United States in a row, a record for the continuous peaceful transfer of power unmatched in this world. This country, despite its flaws, its sins and its shortcomings, is a remarkable place anyone can be proud of. All of us are alive to the importance of these events, even the dullest is aware this is significant. After we were dismissed we go running around to pick up uniform odds and ends for I-Day.
Back to lodgings to crash. Taps. Taps. Lights out.