I arrived in Washington, DC this morning just after 5:00 AM after an uneventful and thoroughly satisfactory ride on Megabus from Pittsburgh. I did manage to get some sleep, although I chalk the lack of rest value to my keyed-up state rather than a condition of the accommodations!
After getting coffee & breakfast at Union Station, I walked around the surrounding streets and by chance came upon the Japanese-American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II. The monument remembers both those who were unjustly interned during the war as well as those patriotic Americans – including the late Senator and Medal of Honor recipient Daniel K. Inouye – who still rose to their nation’s call and valiantly wore the uniforms of our Armed Forces in the defeat of tyranny.
The real excitement for the rest of my day is of course yet to come, and thanks to a phone call earlier, got a whole lot more interesting.
Since I’ve never been inside the White House proper as a tourist much less as a citizen journalist/blogger, I phoned the Press Office this morning just to make sure I had times and logistics straight. Mainly, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to run afoul of any security requirements by having my laptop and other electronics along in the bag I’m using.
The very nice young woman (based on the sound of her voice) who took my call was quite friendly and couldn’t be more helpful. When I mentioned that it would be my first time to the White House, she certainly gave me the impression of trying to put me at ease (good luck!).
In any case, she gave me some more details on the schedule and where I should be when – and that’s when she mentioned that if I got there early enough, I could probably get a standing spot in the rear of the room for the daily White House press briefing at 12:30! The “wows!” of this trip just keep on coming. That’s another experience I just can’t miss, even though I doubt I’d get up the nerve to actually ask anything – the shock of being called on probably would do me in, but who knows!
So, my current plan is to arrive at the White House about noon. I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks a few blocks away trying to calm down a bit. It isn’t easy. I’m getting together some notes and things if the opportunity does present itself to ask any notables some questions (likely topical to the events I’m here for), and I just repositioned all the app icons on my iPhone so I’ve got 1st screen access to anything I’m likely to use while on the premises.
The schedule for now looks like (times Eastern):
- 12:30: White House Daily Briefing
- 1:45: Press Assembly for the presentation ceremony
- 2:10: Award of the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ty M. Carter, United States Army by President Barack Obama in the White House East Room
Stay tuned! Finally, thanks so much for each and every word of encouragement and support you’ve all passed to me!