I was saddened to see Washington, DC covered with fencing, and a strong law enforcement presence around government buildings. Both the Capitol and the White House are completely surrounded by fencing and National Guard troops. Even Lafayette Park, across the street from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue was fenced off. I could get no closer than a block from the White House or Capitol.
I also observed numerous vehicles entering the Executive Office Building of the White House, completely with armed guards, bomb sniffing dogs, and metal detectors. It saddened me beyond words.
Many tourists I spoke to are still in chock regarding trump’s insurrection on Jan. 6. They are embarrassed and upset that he did not call-in additional law enforcement sooner.
I also spoke to many law enforcement officers from nearby Fairfax County (west of DC). They received the emergency call and were told to expect the worst. When they arrived, the riot had already subsided, though many officers were injured. I thanked them for their service, for risking their lives to keep our nation’s capital safe.
The first photo is taken from just north of Lafayette Park, as close as I could get to the White House. The bomb sniffing dogs (second photo) were used at all entry points to the White House. The third photo of the Capitol Building indicates how close or how far I could reach via bicycle or on foot. And the fourth, a sad reminder of President Lincoln across the street from Ford Theater.
On a brighter note, I had waffles for breakfast at the Lincoln Waffle Shop across from Ford. I bought a big breakfast for Carlton, a homeless African American man who was panhandling out front. He wanted money for a tent, and some ibuprofen. I bought the ibuprofen for him. I bought a big bowl of noodles for a DC police officer on my first evening. He wanted me to know that the force appreciates the support of both residents and tourists.
I noticed that law enforcement officers seemed more willing to engage people, and talk. I also saw that the Black Lives Matter movement is alive and well, as is DC statehood. Maybe in our lifetime?
Mostly, I am happy that Washington, DC has returned to normalcy, decency, and dreams for a better, less contentious four years.