I have been in DC for about three days now, and the enormity of the city and the historical nature of the upcoming week is on display everywhere.
Monday, we took a sight-seeing bus trip to some of the many monuments around the nation's capitol. That is generally interesting enough, but as we were visiting the World War II memorial (which if you ever get a chance you must see!) we saw another sight -- a heavily guarded motorcade. Seeing around 15 motorcycle police guiding two armored limousines at break-neck speeds through a fully populated city is something else! It was also fun speculating who might have been in the limousines; my group settled on it probably being Joe Biden but we have no way of knowing.
We also saw the stage that was being built in front of the Lincoln memorial for Barak Obama's MLK day speech. I'm going to try and figure out when that speech is going to be held so that I can go hear him speak about national service. He is an incredible orator and I am sure that hearing him speak in person for the first time will be incredible.
Yesterday, we went to the AARP headquarters to meet with one of its head lobbyists. For those of you who do not know (and we surely did not immediately know), the AARP headquarters just happens to be across the street from the Obama transition team's Washington headquarters. That explained the spiners we saw on the roof and the fact that there were three cop cars at every single corner we passed as we walked from the Chinatown Metro station to the AARP building -- about eight blocks. I would have taken a picture of the builiding, but as I learned from an earlier trip to DC, the police get a little upset if you take pictures which could reveal anything security related.
Each day, DC continues to fill up with people. The crowds waiting for the Metro station are getting rather large. I think I am going to have to catch the Metro at five am on Inauguration Day -- the first train out -- to make sure I can get down there in time and (hopefully!) get a good perch from which to see the swearing in of our next President.
The conference is fun, too. Yesterday, we heard from a Special Agent from the Secret Service; Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas; and the former Director of the National Portrait Gallery. I cannot say much about what was discussed, because I cannot honestly remember who asked for their talk to be off-the-record and who did not, but the conference has been very interesting thus far.
Meeting people from different parts of the country is also one of the more interesting things about attending conferences like these. I have met a lot of people from Boston, and after three days I can honestly saw I am starting to understand at least half of what they say! The people from Wisconsin are cool, too. The guy from Wyoming... well, he's from Wyoming.
I know I promised pictures, but I have not had the time to look through all of them, select the good ones, and edit them. Look for those... eventually.