Wednesday, February 28th, 2018
Today was a powerful one.
The point of this impromptu trip to DC was to attend Billy Graham’s Lying in Honor celebration. Paul actually had days off, and the timing worked out, so we decided why not.
Well, today was the day. We only knew that it was happening at some point today, we had a hard time finding out any specific information, so we were going on a whim. Well, in a stroke of luck we turned on the news this morning to them stating that Billy Graham’s motorcade would arrive at 10, the President’s at 10:30, and that the casket would be carried up to the rotunda at 10:45 for the service at 11. Public viewing would begin at 1.
After breakfast, we made our way down towards the Capitol. We stopped at Union Station to check it out, as it was on the way, and it was beautiful! Inside (right) and out (left).
After departing the station, after much deliberation and strategizing, we found our “spot.” North of the Capitol, where the motorcades would enter the Capitol grounds. At 9:30, three coach buses were escorted onto the grounds, so that was a taste of what the actual motorcade would look like. We were as high up on the Senate steps as they’d allow us to go, and only the press was allowed across the street, so we figured we couldn’t see any better, anywhere else.
Ten o’clock came and went, and no motorcade. 10:15, still nothing. Then, as 10:30 crept up on us, we heard the sirens. The motorcycles came wheeling around the corner at the base of the hill, followed by a line of dark sedans and suburbans.
FINALLY! We were so excited!
Police blocked most of the street, so we didn’t have a great view until they turned the corner into the Capitol. If you look close, across the street, you can see the hearse. Turns out, they had combined the motorcades – so President Trump could be in this picture too (who knows what vehicle they had him in). Regardless of how you feel about him as a President, you have to admit that it’s pretty neat to be in DC for 48 hours and see the Presidential motorcade.
After the motorcade came through, we dashed around the corner to the East side, and we caught the tail end of the color guard carrying the casket up the steps.
This is the closest the public could be at this point – see the silver barricades? That’s where we stood in line after we went to grab lunch.
We stood in line for three hours today to walk through the rotunda. two hours outside of the building (in the silver barricades), one hour inside of the building after going through security. Three tiers of lines; One really long one outside, than luckily each line inside was shorter than the last. This was line #2:
Evidently, Franklin Graham was in the rotunda shaking every single person’s hand as they walked through which is why the line moved so slowly. By the time we got there he had departed the premises, but still a neat sentiment.
Once we finally got into the rotunda, we could’ve stayed for as long as we wanted, but we took our moment and kept moving. Many people were praying (some on their knees), many people were crying.
An interesting fact – we were told to not sing, sit, or lie down in the rotunda, as we could be arrested under the assumption of protesting. CSPAN also recorded the entire procession of the public, so I’d like to go back through and see if we can find us. If you find a link, shoot it to me!
It was a neat piece of history to be a part of. I was glad we went. On our way home early tomorrow morning, back to the tundra!