(Updated at 4:30 p.m.) In preparation for Memorial Day, there’s a place in Arlington that might be worth a look — and it’s not Arlington National Cemetery.
Thousands pass by it daily, but many don’t realize that the large, stone structure flanked by cannons across from Clarendon Ballroom (and near the Clarendon Metro station) is actually a war memorial. It was put up by the American Legion and honors Arlington citizens who died in combat, up through Vietnam.
Of particular interest to historians is the World War I plaque on the side of the memorial, facing the intersection of Washington, Wilson and Clarendon Boulevards. Note that the last two names are separated from the others and have the distinction of “colored” listed in parentheses.
County historians say this highlights the racial tensions at the time the plaque was made. However, a local resident with knowledge of the memorial’s history, who requested not to be named, says it wasn’t necessarily a sign of racial tensions. He said it’s simply representative of “how life was at that time.” There’s been debate over changing it, but the decision was made to leave the plaque as is.
The plaque has remained this way during the memorial’s multiple moves. The original location was at Wilson Blvd and Highland Street, then Clarendon Circle, then Courthouse. It was brought back to Clarendon in 1986 and has been there ever since.
The memorial was first erected in the early 1930s.
Police are shutting down Washington Boulevard in both directions between I-395 and Route 110.
Initial reports suggest the road is being closed at the request of the Pentagon due to a suspicious package at the 9/11 Memorial. The Arlington County bomb squad is assisting with the incident.
The county is advising motorists to seek an alternate route.
Steve Jobs Memorial Grows — The Post-it-Note memorial to Steve Jobs at the Clarendon Apple Store is getting bigger. Since we arrived at the Apple Store yesterday morning, the memorial has grown from zero to dozens of hand-written notes for the late Apple founder.
Favola Takes Aim at Merrick on NRA Rating — Republican State Senate candidate Caren Merrick was given an “A-” rating in a new candidate “scorecard” issued by the National Rifle Association. Democrat Babara Favola, meanwhile, received an “F” rating. But it was Favola who took the offensive. It’s “not a grade my opponent should be proud of,” Favola Tweeted. Said Favola campaign manager Adam Scott: “Caren Merrick is supported by the Tea Party, the NRA, and anti-choice extremists who want to chip away at a woman’s right to choose in Virginia. That’s just not what we need in the state Senate.”
Relocated ‘Nine’ Starts Tonight — The Arlington Players production of ‘Nine’ starts tonight at the Kenmore Middle School Theater. The musical — which was made into a Hollywood movie two years ago — was originally scheduled to be held at the Thomas Jefferson Middle School Theater. It had to be relocated, however, due to earthquake damage at the theater. [The Arlington Players]
Lots of Events This Weekend — There’s plenty of stuff going on in Arlington on what promises to be an absolutely beautiful fall weekend. If you want to support a high school car wash, or attend an Oktoberfest, or party with artists, check out our Events Calendar.
Photo courtesy @btrpkc
A memorial to the late Apple founder Steve Jobs has formed outside the Clarendon Apple Store.
Store employees and Apple fans have been leaving heartfelt notes of condolence for Jobs, who passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer. He was 56.
Hailed as a visionary for the way he helped to revolutionize personal computers, smartphones and digital media, Jobs is being mourned at Apple Stores around the country. In Clarendon, flowers, digital printouts, a dozen hand-written Post-it-Notes and a lone apple adorn the entrance to the store.
“I cried last night,” admitted one Apple fan, as reflected upon what Jobs and his company has meant to him over the years.
Update at 11:55 a.m. — Virginia State Police have issued a brief statement about the road closures: “Please be advised that the roads that will be temporarily closed for the 9/11 Memorial Ride will only be shut down for the duration of time it takes for the riders to proceed through safely. Once the last rider has cleared that particular section of the road, it will be re-opened to the motoring public.”
As a reminder, several major highways in Virginia will be shut down this afternoon to accommodate more than 1,800 motorcyclists participating in the America’s 9/11 Foundation Memorial Ride.
Among the highways expected to be shut down in Arlington during the ride this afternoon are eastbound I-66 and Route 110. The bikers’ ultimate destination is the Double Tree Hotel in Pentagon City, where they will be holding a street fair with a performance by country music artist Aaron Tippin from 6:30 to 9:30 tonight.
To accommodate the street fair, Army Navy Drive will be closed today between 12th Street S. and S. Fern Street, from 9:30 a.m. to midnight.
Here’s the press release from Virginia State Police describing the event and some of the closures.
Those living, working and traveling through the Northern Virginia region on the afternoon and evening of Friday, Aug. 19, 2011, are advised to begin preparing now for major road closures associated with a Sept. 11, 2001, motorcycle tribute procession.
This year’s America’s 9/11 Foundation, Inc., event is anticipated to have its largest turnout ever with over 1,800 motorcyclists expected to participate. The annual remembrance ride honors all who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks, aftermath and recovery. The ride travels from Somerset, Pennsylvania to the Pentagon, then to the site of the World Trade Center over a four-day period of time.
Once the riders exit the Dulles Toll Road, they proceed onto the Connector Road and enter Interstate 66. I-66 eastbound will be closed to traffic from the Capital Beltway to Route 110 southbound. No traffic will be allowed to access the on-ramps to I-66 east- bound between Fairfax and Arlington Counties. As a result, heavy traffic congestion and delays are expected on I-66 and I-495. A suggested detour route for travelers headed to the District is to take I-495 north to the George Washington Memorial Parkway or I-495 south to Route 50 east (Arlington Blvd.).
Once the riders reach Route 110 in Arlington, the Arlington County Police Department, Virginia State Police and partnering law enforcement agencies will escort the motorcycles into Crystal City. For more information about the ride through Arlington please visit http://www.arlingtonalert.com.
A police escort will accompany the 9/11 motorcycle riders throughout their entire route in Virginia to ensure the safety of all motorists. With major traffic congestion expected for the 911 Memorial Ride, motorists are strongly advised to prepare themselves for anticipated gridlock in the affected regions. Alternate plans are highly recommended and drivers are advised to be patient. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will have portable message boards alerting motorists to delays. Virginia maps are also available online through VDOT at www.virginiadot.org/travel/maps-state.asp.
For further information about the 9/11 memorial ride, you can visit the Foundation’s Website at www.americas911foundation.org.
The Virginia State Police, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Town of Leesburg Police, Dulles Greenway, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police (MWAA PD), Fairfax County Police, Arlington Police and Pentagon Force Protection Agency Police have been working together to coordinate a route that ensures the safety of the motorcyclists and general motoring public while attempting to minimize traffic congestion and delays.
The annual America’s 9/11 Foundation Memorial Ride will be rolling into Arlington on Friday, and several road closures are planned to accommodate the large number of motorcyclists expected to participate.
According to an email from Arlington Alerts, police are planning on shutting down eastbound I-66 from the Beltway to Route 110, from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. on Friday.
“The [police] escort is being provided to ensure the safety of all motorists along the path of travel,” the email said. “It is recommended that anyone who travels along this route take alternate routes to their destination during this period. It is anticipated I-66 will be reopened by 4:00 pm at the beltway to minimize the impact on rush hour traffic.”
The bikers’ ultimate destination is the Double Tree Hotel at 300 Army Navy Drive in Pentagon City. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., ride organizers are planning on holding a street fair-type event on Army Navy Drive, complete with barbeque and beer from street vendors, a gun raffle and a performance by country music artist Aaron Tippin.
According to the Arlington Alerts email, Army Navy Drive will be closed from S. 12th Street to S. Fern Street from 9:30 a.m. to midnight. Traffic will be rerouted around the closure, according to county spokeswoman Mary Curtius. Still, drivers should still expect significant traffic issues around the evening rush hour in Pentagon City if the Army Navy Drive/Eads Street intersection, which leads to an I-395 on-ramp, is blocked.
At 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, the ride will move to the Pentagon’s North Parking lot for a ceremony commemorating the upcoming 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. At 7:00 a.m., the ride will depart the Pentagon and head out across the 14th Street Bridge, en route to New York City.
The ride, which could featuring as many as 3,000 motorcyclists, helps to fund scholarships for the children of 9/11 first responders.
Photo via Facebook
Police Investigate BB Gun Bike-By Shooting — Arlington Police searched for a pair of young men on bikes last night after one of them allegedly shot a woman in the arm with a BB gun near the intersection of N. Pershing Drive and N. Thomas Street, in the Buckingham neighborhood. The suspects made a clean getaway, although one may have been briefly spotted near Ballston. The woman required medical treatment for the wound.
Pentagon Memorial Called ‘Contemplative,’ ‘Noisy’ — Visitors to the Pentagon Memorial are reportedly weirded out by the sound of low-flying planes at the Pentagon Memorial — which was built in honor of the 184 people who died when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon’s west wall on 9/11/01. The Pentagon is along the flight path of Reagan National Airport. [Associated Press]
WaPo Sums Up the 30th District State Senate Race — As Alexandria City Councilman Rob Krupicka, Del. Adam P. Ebbin and Arlington County School Board member Libby Garvey knock on doors in the 30th state Senate district, Virginia Tech professor Craig Brians commented on the many policy similarities in the three-way primary race. “It’s so difficult for voters to figure out what the real difference is between these people,” he said. [Washington Post]
Arlington Wants Its Money Back — Arlington and other Northern Virginia localities are pushing Gov. Bob McDonnell to return some of the $311 million state budget surplus to local governments. “I think the governor’s going to hear pretty clearly from local governments that they think some of this should be restored, it not all of it,” said Arlington County Board Member Mary Hynes. [Washington Examiner]
Flickr pool photo by ddimick
Hundreds of federal and local law enforcement officers completed a 240-mile memorial bicycle ride in Pentagon City today.
The officers, accompanied by dozens of police cars and motorcycles from law enforcement agencies across the country, completed the annual Road to Hope bike ride on Eads Street, in front of the DEA building. A crowd of DEA employees and the agency’s Black and Gold Pipes and Drums Corps greeted the riders, who were clad in matching red, white and blue bike gear.
The ride, sponsored by the group Law Enforcement United, honors “the service and sacrifice of all law enforcement officers that have died in the line of duty.” After the stop in front of the DEA building, around 3:00 p.m., the cyclists headed to the Pentagon to pay their respects at the Pentagon Memorial.
The event marks the beginning of National Police Week in the D.C. area. See more photos after the jump.
The Arlington County Police Department and Sheriff’s Office held its annual observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day this morning.
Drummers, bagpipers and a bugler helped to mark the solemn occasion at the Arlington County Justice Center Plaza om Courthouse. Courthouse Road was shut down for the ceremony, which started at 8:00 a.m. Through speeches, the law enforcement community remembered the six Arlington County officers who have died in the line of duty.
Later in the day, Whole Foods and Applegate Farms grilled a free lunch on the plaza for law enforcement officers and employees.
National Police Week, an annual law enforcement gathering held in the D.C. area, officially begins on Friday.
In contrast to the noisy, jubilant celebration at the White House, the scene at the Pentagon Memorial last night was one of quiet remembrance.
About two dozen visitors trickled in to the memorial following the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces in Pakistan. As visitors strolled the dimly-lit grounds, only the peaceful sound of bubbling water could be heard. The sound came from small pools below each of the memorial’s 184 benches, which represent the 184 people killed during the bin Laden-orchestrated attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
Two visitors said they came to the Pentagon seeking a deeper connection to the evening’s news.
“The celebrations over at the White House didn’t fully capture the emotions of the night,” said Crystal Adams, of the District. Fellow District resident Brian Chiglinsky agreed.
“It felt like this was the place for a more solemn remembrance about the importance of tonight and what this past decade has meant to our generation,” he said.
ACFD 9/11 Memorial to be Landscaped — Last week the Department of Defense gave Arlington County’s first responders a chunk of limestone recovered from the Pentagon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. That stone now sits near a steel beam from the World Trade Center, in a field outside Fire Station 5 in Pentagon City. The county is planning to landscape the area around the two memorials, in advance of the upcoming 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. [Arlington Connection]
Missed Connections in Arlington — Someone is looking for a “Persian goddess in pink” who was spotted shopping for chickpea salad at the Clarendon Whole Foods. Also: a woman is looking for the “armsleeve tattoo man” she ogled at the Golds Gym. [Clarendon Culture]
Whipple Fights Abortion Amendment — Arlington’s retiring state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple is fighting an amendment inserted into a General Assembly-approved bill by Gov. Bob McDonnell. The bill would establish a health insurance exchange in Virginia as part of the federal health care reform law. However, McDonnell’s amendment would prohibit any insurance plan in the exchange from offering coverage for abortions, except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at risk. [Washington Post]
Arlington Diocese Fights Porn — The Catholic Diocese of Arlington continues its campaign against “the very real danger of pornography in our culture” with a blog post. The post notes that an anti-porn pamphlet authored by Bishop Paul Loverde is so popular that it’s now in its second printing. Also, the post says that Bishop Loverde has been active in the fight against pornography on cell phones. [Encourage and Teach]
This program has concluded.
In honor of National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, we asked Arlington Fire Chief James Schwartz to write a guest column.
This weekend, the nation’s fire service will honor those firefighters who died in the line of duty during 2009. The names of 80 fire fighters who lost their lives in service to their communities will be added to the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial in an annual ceremony at Emmitsburg, Maryland. The names of 25 firefighters who died in previous years will also be added. The plaques surrounding the Memorial, which was established in 1981, contain the names of more than 3,400 fire fighters. Firefighters and fire department honor guards from across the country will gather to pay tribute to the lives of their fallen comrades.
Unfortunately, firefighting remains a dangerous profession. Despite a reduction in the number of fires nationally, effective fire and rescue operations require firefighters to be in harm’s way. Firefighters are frequently exposed to high temperatures and toxic products of combustion and they work around heavy, fast moving objects, all while wearing protective gear and equipment that weighs in excess of 60 pounds. Rates of cancer and heart disease are higher among firefighters.
Firefighters accept a measure of risk when they take the job, understanding that the ultimate sacrifice may be required to save the life of another under extreme circumstances. They do not accept this risk cavalierly. As a whole, the fire service continues to work tirelessly toward improvements that will reduce the number of firefighter injuries and fatalities.
Arlington County Fire Department has been fortunate; we have not suffered a line of duty death since 1982 when Firefighter Mike Miller lost his life. Before the loss of Firefighter Miller, the department lost two captains in separate incidents. On October 19, 1964 Captain Archie Hughes was lost after becoming trapped in the flashover of an attic fire. Captain Charles Theodore died of smoke inhalation while fighting a fire on June 24, 1961. In a ceremony earlier this year, the department retired their badges.
Jim Schwartz, Chief
Arlington County Fire Department
Those groups of motorcycle cops you see going up and down I-395? The random street closures in South Arlington? Police cruisers from jurisdictions far, far away from here? All are signs that National Police Week has begun in the nation’s capital.
Several Police Week-related events were held in Pentagon City today.
The Drug Enforcement Administration held its annual memorial service at its headquarters this morning. Three agents who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan last fall were honored at the event, which included a speech by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
Later, bicyclists from the inaugural Law Enforcement United Memorial Ride stopped outside DEA headquarters for a short service that included a performance by a group of police bagpipers and drummers.
The riders — more than 200 in number — were then escorted by dozens of police motorcycles over to the Pentagon Memorial for another service.
National Police Week will conclude on Monday.