D.C. Residents Awakened By Arlington Cannon Fire

by ARLnow.com April 20, 2011 at 9:53 am 6,418 51 Comments

The cannons that woke up half of South Arlington Thursday morning have apparently been moved — to face the District.

Yesterday, our District-based reverse chronological publishing counterpart DCist went on a very familiar-sounding quest to find the source of loud, early morning booming noises that roused the fair residents of D.C. from their slumber. Of course, they immediately started blaming Arlington.

First they called an Arlington County spokesperson to ask if the noise came from blasting at the Rosslyn Metro station.

“We didn’t blast today,” was the reply.

Then they started eying other projects around Rosslyn — which, to D.C. residents accustomed to low-slung block-long buildings, is a place of wonder and possibility. They asked if construction at 1812 North Moore Street — destined to be the area’s tallest building — might be behind the racket. No, the workers there don’t start that early, they were told.

Perhaps the sound was actually the beginning of the “Great Battle of Clarendon” along the “Orange Line front.” But, in the end, Gen. Curtis Bikey Dogpark seemed to be an unreliable source.

Finally, the DCist big wigs took note of commenters who linked to our article, “Mystery Solved: Military Was Firing Cannons This Morning.” The noise, it seemed, was from the very same Presidential Salute Battery that woke up residents of Pentagon City, Aurora Highlands, Foxcroft Heights and Columbia Heights last week.

“Yes the Old Guard was doing a training mission,” an Arlington National Cemetery spokesman told DCist. Mystery solved, indeed.

  • SoArlRes

    It was nice to not have it pointing our direction this morning.

  • Valerie

    Have lived on Army bases and were not as noisy at early and late hours as my current location across Route 50 from Ft. Myer. Please, be better neighbors.

    • I love it when people move near a military base (which has been there far longer than they have and simply doing the things needed to be done to maintain their training/readiness) and then complain (or in some cases, sue) about the noise. Sorry, but that is part of the deal when you move next to them, deal with it. Ft Myer is actually pretty quite compared to most Army bases, they don’t have things like firing ranges or training areas for some of the other things that go boom, they aren’t shooting flares, etc. You just notice what little they do more since you are right on top of them

      • V Dizzle

        I live on the same side of Rt-50 and have yet to hear a thing. I guess I have fairly good windows DUE to Rt-50 being a constant noise producer. I do miss hearing the bugle recordings though (seems like they turned them down a lot). On the other hand, I didn’t sign any papers that indicated I was OK with cannon fire though. Not exactly the same as moving in next to an airport and then complaining. Noise at the base is a bit more irregular, so I don’t support your argument. There is no reason they can’t limit the times and frequency of non-combat cannon fire.

  • CW

    I was walking in front of the Department of Energy building yesterday at about 7:45 and heard a cannon blast, clear as day. “It couldn’t be, all the way down here”, I thought. I guess it was!

  • Steve

    >Vallerie….hahahahaahaha we are talking about the Fed gov.! Better neighbors??? Not a chance. Any other place doing this would have been visited by numerous agencies and cited. One look at the BRAC mess will tell you the fed gov and its various arms, branches, offices and fifdoms only care about one thing. GETTING RE-ELECTED and screwing the citizens as long and as hard as possible.

    • KalashniKEV

      Take your meds. It’s not a conspiracy. The PSB is about honoring the fallen. Have some respect.

      The world does not revolve around you and your sleep pattern.

      • Eponymous Coward

        I agree it is not a conspiracy, KEV, but seeing as how you were waxing eloquent about grand eco-terrorist plots on the other thread, I think you’ve got to cut people some slack for their own conspiracy theories.

        BTW, the moon landing was staged.

      • South Arlington

        I’m with Kev on this one. They can’t do the cannon testing and practice during the hours when funerals occur. The cannon test blasts are a small price to pay for the sacrifices made by those buried in Arlington.

    • CW

      Seriously…have a smoke and calm down…

  • Always a good idea to shoot off cannons in an urban area in the wee hours of the morning. Especially in one that’s been the target of terrorist attacks.

    • jan

      That’s my reaction.

    • ClizzleDizzle

      I agree, it keeps people vigilant.

  • Rebecca

    I heard the blasts yesterday on Capitol Hill walking from Capitol South metro to the Hart building. Lots of us wondered what it was, but I heard it around 7:45 — a serious of loud thuds. Guess now we know what that was.

  • Arl

    Someone needs to inform the spokesperson in the DCist article that the Arlington noise restrictions end at 7am not 6am. And before anyone from the last thread gets all riled up, we are not complaining about them protecting our country or honoring the dead or any of that, just requesting that they wait another 20 minutes before starting practice.

    • Tabby

      Thank you.

    • LBSki

      True this.

    • Allan

      It’s Federal property, therefore not part of Arlington and not subject to Arlington laws.

      • Thes

        It’s a military base (not merely “Federal property), but it is in Arlington County. The property itself is not necessarily exempt from local laws. A private individual shooting off cannons at this location might well be in violation of a noise law.

        However, the U.S. Military, acting in is official capacity (whether on- or off-base) is exempt from local laws, like the noise ordinance. This is a good thing, in case we are ever under enemy attack!

        • Allan

          Some in Arlington would like for the military to wait and see if the bad guys really plan to hurt us, then discuss it first, then notify all the residents within miles and miles via text, tv messaging, press releases, phone calls, etc. THEN, it might be ok to make noise while kicking their butt.

          Then they’ll be ticked off that the military didn’t do enought to protect them fast enough.

          Just sayin’

        • KalashniKEV

          Ft. Myer is not *IN* Arlington. It’s Federal Land. They aren’t “exempt from local laws,” the local laws only apply in a locality where there is jurisdiction. There are no laws against military training on a military installation.

          Could you imagine if Arlington tried to enforce their sign ordnance in there?

  • ClizzleDizzle

    The south rises again.

  • SaveDaveMcKenna

    If the cannon ball lands in your yard, you at least get to keep it.

  • LBSki

    This headline has so much potential. The thought of Arlingtonians crossing the river, with cannon fire in tow, makes me smile.

  • SamsontheCat

    We need better warning about when they are doing these firings so we can drape a large “Good Morning DC – Your Neighbors in Arlington” banner across the Rossyln skyline.

    • Eponymous Coward

      “Thanks for Retrocession”

      • ClizzleDizzle

        Next: The annexation of DC by Arlington. Except for Anacostia, PG County can have that.

        • SamsontheCat

          Arlingtonians! Tonight we dine in Hell…Burger. Ray’s Hell Burger.

  • Lyon Village

    Lyon Village asked the Army to hunt down the deer.

  • MC 703

    I was driving on 27 at 7:45 sammiched right between the Pentagon and ANC when they fired. I thought it was cool.

  • Ft Sumter approves

  • ClizzleDizzle

    So okay did you see?
    By this dawns early light
    How so loudly they shot
    By this dawns first gleaming
    The broadsides flying high ‘cross Potomac they went
    From our Condo’s we watched with our cupcake, pizza, burger blend
    And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air
    Gave proof through the morn that Arlington is superiar
    O’ say does that tight brown flip flop yet rest?
    On the foot of the yuppy, in the home of best?

    • jan


  • Steve

    Anyone whos upset over the cannons waking them up needs to move, and stop crying.

    • mehoo

      Whenever someone complains about something, they need to move away. That is how American works!

  • OX4

    “Training” my foot. First South Arlington, now DC, next….the world!! We shall spread our high-brow froyo shops and overpriced burgers across the land!

  • charlie

    this would have been a better for story if these had done it last friday, April 15, the 2011 “observed day”

  • Westover

    7:45am firings are pretty reasonable. Glad they corrected the issue with the 06:00 firing from last week.

  • maf

    I understand they need to train, and frankly I have no problem with the noise. However, notice would be nice…living so close to the Pentagon, this type of noise without warning makes me very nervous, and I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way.

    • jan

      I agree

  • GMo

    “Reverse chronological publishing counterpart” I laughed out loud at this one.

    “We’re no blog! We’re a reverse chronological internet publisher.” 😀

  • allthatglimmersisnotgold

    I lived next door to some party animals and after 6 months of weekly noise complaints, police couldn’t do much and told me to file online reports, which I did. I ended up meeting with someone from the community police team and the response I got was that due to court decisions, the police can no longer issue noise violations. I was beside myself and after some digging I learned that police have to have an extremely expensive noise meter, someone trained to use it, and myriad of other prerequisites in order to issue noise violations. I’m assuming it is very costly so the PD won’t address the issue.

    • catusep

      Arlington County Ordinance 15-7 prohibits noise disturbances which does not require any particular decibel level so no fancy or expensive noise meter is required. It appears that the Police do not want to deal with noise problems so they do not.

      • Bringmetheyuppies

        They showed up at my house Sunday for too early a start on construction. So they do address the issue. They did nothing and we kept on working , so not very effective at addressing the issue.

  • Blueskies

    This could come in handy the next time they threaten to shut down the government, say, or at key moments of the budget battle.

  • Laura O’Sullivan

    having read all these rantings and ravings, I doubt these people know who was actually training. The cannons have nothing to do with burials at the cemetery. This is the Old Guard who are responsible for dedicated and appropriate ceremonial duties for the fallen heroes of our country, and other duties they are asked to do. I live in Aurora Highlands. I did not appreciate last Thursday since I had been kept awake most of the night by NORAD’s exercises over our area. I do not challenge the training of the Guard but I do feel some notice could be given. We did not get notice of NORAD either. Don’t tell us we should have picked another location to live or to move. Times have changed and we all like to know what is going on when we get noises we are not used to.

    • Allan

      Yes Laura – the Old Guard is shooting off cannons to ward off the invaders coming across the Potomac with their white wigs, red jackets and pointy shoes.

      Read up Lassy! The “Order of Arms” clearly states who gets a cannon salute FOR THEIR FUNERAL.

      Remember, the world doesn’t revolve around each one of us and we don’t all have a right to know what’s going on at all times. Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and deal with the unexpected noises in life and if you still have all of your limbs, and your house is still standing, and your neighbors aren’t running around with their hair on fire, you’re fine. Get over it.

  • Duke

    “We want notice”, “We need notice”, “Notice could be given”. Wow! You people live near a military based that has a storied history. And this isn’t something they just started. “Daddy, what’s that noise? Sweetie, it’s a hero being laid to rest”
    Just worry about the notice you might get afterwards, THIS IS NOT A DRILL…

  • Asher Yuki

    For those who think we live next to the military base, you’re wrong. I’m over at Shirlington / Bailey’s Crossroads and was awakened by the a.m. canon fire.

    And yes, they should have warned residents this was going to happen prior, just like they should when they have low flying aircraft flying around.

    Get those PR folks to notify the public in the future.

    • Allan

      But would you be ticked off it wasn’t in your preferred mode of communication? So, I suppose they should make sure it’s in the paper, on the radio running loops every 5 secs so you can be sure you heard it, then on TV running incessantly – and texted, and robo-phoned to your house….

      Get over it! It’s noise that went away and didn’t hurt you or your property and you probably won’t hear it again for a year.

      What in the world is wrong with you people?

      Unless the PR folks come to your house directly and notify you in person at the precise moment you say it’s ok to come to your home, you’ll find something lacking in the way they publicize if they choose to start publicizing it more frequently.

  • Duke

    Okay, so you get a notice. “On the morning of blah blah blah. Then what? You’ll cry about it, question it, and try to stop it. Get over it!


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