Anthony Atwood’s Inauguration Journal – Day 11
MONDAY 12 – JAN09: Sunday night is worth documenting. The steak dinner was great. Some of us Navy people went next door to the American Legion for that steak dinner. They grilled the steaks outside, baked potato, veggies, and Caesar salad. The big story is on the television. All the bridges from Virginia into the city are going to be closed on I-Day. We are sitting with some of the local Legionaires and it is the topic du jour. “It has never happened before,” they vow. They are taking a homey pride in the unfolding events. The Billy Mitchell portrait in full-fig dress uniform and medals looks on agreeably.
We learn from the legionnaires how it came about we got so lucky to get the nice quarters we got: furnished apartments with sleek European décor; track lighting, gooseneck faucets, and picture windows look out over the city and its cathedral across the river. What it was is that the building went up planning to sell the units as condos. Just when they finished construction and were all primed to go on sale, the bottom dropped out of the market. They went into default. Like a lot of real estate, the place is tied up in knots. So the apartment house is as happy to have us, as we are to be there.
Like the unprecedented news the bridges will close, the preparations on the mall have been kicked up to the next level. There are long rows of porto-lets standing at parade rest along tree-lined green areas. The bleachers that were going up at the capitol are finished, and they have been painted white so they blend in with the building. If you did not know, they look like part of the building that has always been there. Reviewing stands are going up here and there, and intersections round-abouts are being closed off with jersey barriers. Red, white, and blue bunting is beginning to decorate window sills. The train station has hung some very big stars and stripes between the massive pillars. The lady is putting on her makeup.
At the steak dinner table I had confided to the Vietnam-era legionnaire guy next to me: “I think he’s going to be good.”
“So do I,” he nodded affirmatively.