Wednesday, August 8, 2012

things to do: marine evening parade

Day to day, it's easy to get caught up in the unglamorous side of living in the nation's capital. Bureaucracies. Metro delays. Rotten humidity. Until I jog by the Supreme Court or walk through the Capitol or take in the Lincoln Memorial at night. All good reminders of how grand this city is. 

I got another reminder of that Friday at the Marine Barracks Evening Parade. 

It's quite a show, put on by hundreds of Marines. They wear dress uniforms, march in unison, hold stoic faces, make formations, twirl their rifles -- with bayonets! -- and throw them into the air and catch them. All with precision. And to top it all off, the ladies get escorted to their seats by Marines in uniform.  

Oh, and the dog. This is Sgt. Chesty XIII, an English Bulldog, wearing his Marine Corps uniform. He's the mascot for Marine Barracks Washington. He has a whole service record. He gets written up for doing things like falling asleep. Kind of cheesy for such a serious service, but, hey, it's pretty cute.   

The Marine Barracks is one of the oldest places in D.C. Thomas Jefferson picked the spot for the barracks in 1801, and every commandant has lived in that grand white house at 8th and G Southeast since the barracks were finished in 1806. 

Apparently two places are authorized to fly the American flag, the Star Spangled Banner, as it was in 1801 (15 stars, 15 stripes), and one of them is the Marine Barracks: 

Speaking of that grand house that the commandant lives in, Tony and I got to take a tour before the parade. Nice dining room, huh?  

And here's his view of the barracks from the second floor balcony of the house. Eighth Street and the Barracks Row bars and restaurants are just on the other side of the barracks pictured on the right.

Tickets for the Evening Parades are free, but they go quickly. It looks like you can't reserve any more tickets for this summer. But you can show up on a Friday evening at Eighth and I, and they'll take walk-ins as they can. 

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