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Did You Hear The Cannon Fire This Morning?

by ARLnow.com August 30, 2011 at 8:15 am 7,136 136 Comments

The Army’s Presidential Salute Battery, which caused a stir earlier this year after their firing drills at Arlington National Cemetery woke up residents from Arlington to D.C., conducted another loud drill this morning.

“Why does it sound like there are bombs going off… in Clarendon?” asked Twitter user @StacMid around 7:45 this morning.

The reason was because the Battery was conducting a “blank fire crew drill” at the cemetery. Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall sent out an email advisory about the drill just after 5:30 last night. Arlington County notified residents just before 10:00 p.m., via Arlington Alerts.

Several Arlington residents said they could hear the anti-tank guns loud and clear this morning.

“Three sets of 11 booms. Sounds like howitzer fire,” tweeted @mikematyas.

“In Westover Village and I can hear the cannon (or gunfire or whatever),” said @ElizabethAFloyd. “Thought I’d be too far to hear but guess not!”

  • AH

    I heard the booms starting at 7AM. Seemed like more than 3 rounds of 11. Sent the kids and dog to reconnoiter.

  • Nunya

    some nights [early mornings], i can hear the train crossing the river, and i’m north of courthouse/rosslyn.

    • NPGMBR

      I heard it fairly clearly at Columbia Pike and S Courthouse. I had no prior notice but guessed what was going on. Didn’t bother me at all as I was already up getting ready for work.

  • G Clifford Prout

    Missed it. Would have loved to see the boys playing with their big guns!

  • J

    I’m glad I saw this post! It had the echo of gunfire, so I was a bit nervous about what was going on.

  • What better way to honor our nation’s fallen than to fire a cannon loud enough to wake everyone up!

  • Skeptical

    Hah. Thought it was someone in the ‘hood using heavy equipment to tamp ground for a foundation.

  • Rosslynite

    Why can they not practice in the middle of the day? If I practiced making loud noises at 7am I would have the police at my door.

  • cakes

    And the bitching starts in….

    Get over yourself, people.

  • CW

    I got the Arlington Alert last night so I was expecting it. But man, even over here in Clarendon, with the cold, dense morning air it was like they were firing them off right next door!

    Definitely more than 3 sets. I woke up in the midst of one then heard at least 3 more.

    Anyone know where specifically they do the firing?

    • CW

      (And, just in case anyone misinterprets – I thought it was pretty darn cool! If you’re not up at 7:30 AM then they can fire a cannon off next to your lazy butt all they want)

      • Patrick Monroe

        CW: What about those who work nights? Still lazy if not up by 7:30 a.m.? Think before you type.

  • charlie

    love to be reminded that we are in the most important place in the world. thank you for the practice shots. it was invigorating.
    (cats disagree)

    • Robert Hannafius

      Awesome patriotism Charlie; I was in the presidential salute battery at Arlington’s Fort Myer from 86’ to 89’, one of the best times of my life! 🙂



  • Staycationer

    7:00 a.m. in an urban area the week before Labor Day?!? My kids were hoping to have one last chance to sleep in before school starts.

    If it’s practice, why did they have to use such a large round? Why do they have to aim it at us? Why couldn’t they have done this in the middle of the day?


    • KalashniKEV

      Be thankful that your family awoke to the sound of FREEDOM this morning. Practice does not take place in the middle of the day because that’s when they’re busy burying our heroes.

      There are more important things in this world than just you.

      • Bluemontsince1961


      • ClizzleDizzle


      • Pablo

        KalashiniKEV: I think we can remain a free country if the fired at 9 am rather than 7.

        • Larchmont

          Pablo: I think they are why we are a free country and feel they have the right to fire them at 5 am rather than 7.

        • KalashniKEV

          It’s not possible to fire them during normal cemetery hours because of operational requirements.

      • drax

        Here’s the deal, Kev.

        People have a right to complain about things. Even things the military do. Even things people do in the name of “freedom” or whatever.

        Now, there are reasonable complaints, and unreasonable complaints. I don’t know which this is. But it is possible to have a reasonable complaint about this. So enough blather about “freedom” and all that. It’s an empty response.

    • AllenB

      Bitch, moan, bitch, moan…..zzzzzzzzz.

    • Your poor children. Maybe you should show them some video of children starving, with no running water or shelter, and maybe then they won’t be bothered so much because they couldn’t sleep in one last day before school starts. Maybe then they would appreciate what it is they have rather than be sad at what they don’t.

      • KalashniKEV

        This fool is going to raise a pack of kids with just as little sense as he has. Sad.

        • ‘Tis the American way lately it seems. Sad.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Yep, it sure seems that way, and it is sad. My parents would never have kicked up such a fuss and wouldn’t have had the time of day for those who did.

    • charlie

      Jerks? Get a mirror.
      Use this as a lesson to teach your kids about where they live and how lucky they are to be in Arlington, DC, and the USA.
      some places in the world a less-spoiled child would think, wow, that is the last news I heard before I was killed by incoming…

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Thank you!

        • Dezlboy


    • SamsontheCat

      As a kid I’d have wanted prior notice so I could get up early to hear it. Better yet, bike or drive the kids over and get as close as possible. It’s no fun unless the ground beneath your feet is shaking.

      Next time get the kids and all their patriotic, ‘merica loving friends, go to the park around the Iwo Jima Memorial, and re-inact the Battle of Iwo Jima while the guns blast around you. Afterwards, they can see the memorial and read about. That’s education!

    • KARLington

      Call the waaaah-mbulance….don’t they get “one last chance” until next Tuesday?

    • Christina

      [This comment has been removed due to violations of our comments policy]

      • Bluemontsince1961

        Sister, you nailed it with a great big hammer! Spot on!

      • Bingo! Best post of the day!

        • Christina

          Unfortunately removed, but I still see a huge problem in the rampant self-centeredness in this country that is displayed most exemplary by staycationer. Relax, no more returning the insults of others with three and four letter words…keeping it PG and PC here now.

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Still…you nailed it with a great big hammer and I second Overgrown Bush’s bingo to you! I saw in another comment you made that you have someone buried in Arlington. My sympathies.

  • KalashniKEV

    LOL @ “anti-tank gun.”

    • FrenchyB

      Arlnow is correct – those are WWII-vintage M5 anti-tank guns.

      • Clarendon

        Thanks for the detail.

        The internets weed out the posers once again!

        More info:


        • KalashniKEV

          Wow… I learned something today!

          • charvakan

            There’s a first time for everything, Kev.

          • KalashniKEV

            I recognized the M119 chassis (hooked a few up back in my day!) but I thought the skinny little cannon was exclusively made for ceremonial use. Very cool fact!

          • KalashniKEV

            (I’m wrong again… it’s an M102)

            Don’t shoot me, I’m not a gun bunny!

  • matt

    They fire in the morning so they don’t disrupt the 20-plus funerals going on at the cemetery each day. Quit being such crybabies! Arlington has got to have the largest population of self-centered losers in the country.

    • AllenB

      Not Arlington as a whole… just a few self-centered whiners on this comment section.

    • Pablo

      Good thing we have you to shape us up, Matt!

  • They are just shaking loose any chimney brick that has not yet fallen from last week’s earthquake and this weekeend’s wind.

    • Dezlboy

      Well, that makes it easier for the chimney repair techs to figure out why my chimney leaked water into the fireplace over the weekend! 🙂

  • Garden City

    There are certain things which go along with living in the nation’s capital, such as checking the Friday paper to see what streets are going to be closed over the weekend for which event or protest, occasionally being held up by a motorcade, and Presidential battery practice. It’s just part of the package.

  • CrystalMikey

    Besides Fort Myer has been here long before all of the whiners.

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      +100 “My First” I feel all geeky bloggy like

  • Rosslynite

    Really, what’s to practice? Once you learn how to fire a gun, do you ever forget?

    • Why bother to have any training dollars set aside for anything then? Stupid comment of the day!

      How obvious is it that people come and go, and people must be trained?

    • KalashniKEV

      Synchronization. I guess you’ve never been to Arlington National Cemetery?

    • Shaking_Head

      Yet you tolerate the bucket drummers and the bums I bet. I hear the bottom of the Potomac is peaceful. Perhaps you should move there.

  • KalashniKEV

    Does anyone ever think it might be our enemies that make these posts? Like… I know that Arlington is full of self centered douches with no sense of the world around them, but I’ve never actually met anyone in person who expressed anything but support for giving our heroes burial with honor…

    • Aaron

      I think most of these whiners would be the first to take secondhand umbrage if they heard that our servicemen had treated our enemies’ remains with the slightest bit of disrespect.

    • charlie

      keyboard diarrhea is a common malady.

      • Christina

        And the anonymity of the internet helps too. The reason you wouldn’t hear many people express this in person is because they don’t have the courage or the ability to back up or defend their whining and complaining.

        • KalashniKEV

          I would still like to know if any of these comments came from foreign IP addresses.

          • Pablo

            OK KalashniKEV, let me get this straight: The idea is that the Russians or Chinese are monitoring the “ARLnow” website and posing as local residents upset about the morning noise? I think you’ve OD’d on Tom Clancy books.

          • drax

            You’re serious, aren’t you?

        • brif

          interesting point christina. interweb anonymity certainly seems to provide you with enough courage to call people jerks simply because you disagree with them.

          • Christina

            touche, however I’m not the one trying to disguise my identity…I’d have my last name up if it were prudent to do so. Might I revise my previous (deleted) statement to call the individual in question self-centered rather than a “jerk?” Because that’s certainly undeniable, would you not say?

          • Christina

            In fact should anyone say anything like that to me in person I would absolutely call them out on it. NO problems doing so, especially not when one has a friend buried at Arlington.

          • charlie

            we all have friends buried there.

    • Josh S

      Uh, a few things come to mind.
      A) It’s extremely un-PC to “express anything but support for giving our heroes burial with honor” and so unlikely to be something that anyone would say out loud.
      B) If you are truly the butch ex-airborne that you claim to be, then I would think the chances of anyone saying such a thing to your face, already small for anyone, would dwindle to zero.
      C) What does “our enemies” mean? Let’s just assume you mean the most obvious thing – Muslim terrorists. Do you really think people are logging on to ARLnow from Yemen or Pakistan so that they can make random complaints about loud noises disturbing their morning routine?

      And, a general comment – haven’t we already been over this several times? Why is it still newsworthy to note these practices which are regularly performed? During the weekend, there were some planes that flew unusually low over my home, presumably to avoid storm clouds, high wind, etc. Do we need to comment every time that happens?

    • brif

      I think you’re absolutely right kev. i think “our enemies” plan goes something like this:

      Step 1) Post complaints about loud cannon fire at arlington national cemetary on arlnow.com

      Step 2)

      Step 3) Profit/world domination!

      • Smilla

        I couldn’t tell if Kev was serious or merely trolling. Foreign agents are infiltrating local blogs with whiny posts as part of their master plan of evil?? Time to step away from the keyboard…

    • drax

      So not having cannon practice early in the morning = dishonor to our dead heroes? That’s the absurd length you will go to?

  • othersideoftheriver

    Heard it in Bon Air, right around 7 a.m., as promised.

    Pretty cool.

  • G Clifford Prout


    • Clarendon

      🙂 Babies and jackasses yelling at each other? That’s about right!

  • John B

    I heard it in Ballston but it was closer to 7:30-7:45. Or maybe I heard something else? It sounded like big fireworks.

  • Michael

    Wow, those men and women who would sacrifice their lives so that you and your children can live freely and safely are called jerks. That’s just shameful.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      Right on, Michael!

    • Alexandrian

      Wow. The amount of trolls around here never ceases to amaze me.

      I’ve lived in both worlds which made me appreciate ever so more the liberties and freedom we have over here. Send the haters here to live a few weeks in Saudi Arabia; maybe then they will appreciate the sacrifices our men and women in uniform did and still do for us.

    • drax

      So are you saying servicemen can never be jerks, ever, Micheal?

      I’m not saying they are. I’m not saying the cannon fire was out of bounds. I’m just saying it’s legit to question something the military does. It does not have absolute authority.

  • Jack

    Cover them over with beautiful flowers,
    Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours,
    Lying so silent by night and by day
    Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
    Give them the meed they have won in the past;
    Give them the honors their future forcast;
    Give them the chaplets they won in the strife;
    Give them the laurels they lost with their life.

    ~Will Carleton, American Poet 1845-1912

    • Josh S

      Far more subtle, moving and powerful than any M5 anti-tank gun.

  • brif

    People need to get some perspective, it’s not as though those loud noises this morning were from motorcycles.

  • 83b

    Didn’t even notice it this time around. Doing the drills in the 7:00AM hour vs the 6:00AM hour makes a big difference. Many thanks to the Salute Battery crew for the heads up and consideration for those of us who work later hours!

  • ArlingtonDweller

    I heard it, my wife asked me what the sound was, I told her what I thought it was (canon fire at ANC), then we continued on with our morning activities. I did not see the Arlington Alert, but it was not a big deal.

  • JamesE

    Cannons are so uncivilized and barbaric. Why can’t Arlington National Cemetery show some manors and use the soothing sounds of espresso and froyo machines played over loud speakers? Have some respect towards the residents of Arlington !!

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I mean, you know, those mean old noisy cannons just like curdled my tripple iced caramel frappacino that I was drinking with my organic and sustainable granola froyo for breakfast…..I mean, dooooode, it was just like not gnarly….cannons are just soooooo George Dubya Bush!…./s

    • Bluemontsince1961

      You’re tongue-in-cheek was great and I wanted to add my own addendum to it!

  • kc

    I’m just outside the gate near the Iwo Jima and didn’t hear a thing. From the comments sounds like it was heard mostly north and west this time.

    • KTL

      I didn’t hear anything either, kc, and we’re pretty close to being neighbors. That said, I woke up suddenly at 7:10 to what my sleep-addled brain registered as a blinding flash of light coming in through the windows. That said (and there’s no way of saying this without seeming a little crazy), I think I’ve been having light flash hallucinations recently as I wake up/fall asleep – but never anything this intense.

      Still… did anyone else see any light flashes associated with the training?

  • GOB

    The problem wasn’t the noise (most people were up and getting ready for work). The problem isn’t the purpose (most people honor and respect military traditions).

    The problem is that there were sustanined booming noises, early in the morning, as most people are getting ready for work. Congratulations to the few of you who knew in advance what the sound was, or those of you who have a great ear for distinguishing artillery. I’m in the military and even though I lived next to Ft. Myer for a year, I still had never heard anything like I did this morning. It would have been decent for the county to let people know what’s going on a couple of days in advance as opposed to 9 hours prior.

    • charlie

      the county issued a press release on it
      the county also issued a txt msg alert.
      you need to get signed up for those. it really helps. and it makes you look like you know what is up — whether you do or not.
      “eh, it was just the cannons” is a much better response than…

  • KalashniKEV

    “I’m in the military and even though I lived next to Ft. Myer for a year,”

    1) You’re in the military, so you’re awake then anyway. No issue.
    2) You live next to Ft. Myer… so you can assume “Ft. Meyer type stuff” takes place in there, like the PSB.
    3) What preparations would you make that take in excess of 9 hours? I’m genuinely curious!
    4) …and if ya don’t know, now ya know… Ninja!

  • Alexandrian

    The amount of trolls out here never ceases to amaze me.

    All of you hating on the military, why don’t you try living in Saudi Arabia for a few weeks. I did, and it only reinforced my appreciation for this country. I don’t take things I have for granted anymore. These liberties and freedoms that I have didn’t come free, and all I can do is bow my head and honor the men and women who sacrificed life and limb to maintain these liberties we all have.

    • Nobody’s bashing our brave soldiers, Alexandrian. They’re criticizing the loud, archaic way in which the fallen are honored. Our freedoms and liberties include the right to be critical of that.

    • drax

      Wow, you outlamed Kev.

      Nobody hates the military because they don’t want loud cannons early in the morning. Pure absurdity.

      The military can’t do whatever it wants any time it wants. We should give it alot of leeway, but like all institutions here, it’s power is limited. THAT is one of our most important liberties – the freedom not to be subject to absolute authority by our military or anyone else. So stop blabbing about Saudi Arabia.

  • Rosslynite

    Are we nudging into Godwin’s Rule territory? Just because some folks do not like being woken up in the morning does mean they are military-hating, left-leaning, enemies of the state.

    • +1 Rosslynite!

    • Pablo

      Exactly right, Rosslynite. That’s the phony argument that KalashniKEV tossed out there that took this chain of posts in an absurd direction. Thanks for the cogent reply.

  • Dezlboy

    This is not a complaint!! My dog is very noise adversive. At the fifth “boom” he was in the bathroom his favorite “I have to get away from the thunder” room. It was no fun taking him out for the morning walk. Pulled to get back into the house, tail between his legs. But, when I said, “Rabbit!” he sure forgot about the booms for a few seconds. Quite a riot.

    He was also doing a lot of sniffing. Wonder if he could smell the powder, smoke? (PS, I am very close to Arlington Cemetary).

    • PikerShorts


  • Clarendon Cruiser

    Maybe the police and firemen should warn (ask permission?) to roll with sirens on????

    tough, you choose to live in a city environment, live with it.

  • Don’t listen to all these blindly patriotic comments from the old fogies.

    Real patriotism means questioning your country’s policies, and that certainly includes the archaic, interruptive ways in which our military chooses to honor the fallen.

    • Uh, no.

      • Bluemontsince1961

        +1, Overgrown Bush

        • Lou

          Yeah, moaning about your slight inconveniences doesn’t allow you to drape yourself in the flag and claim it’s all about being patriotic. It’s all about being selfish in this case.

    • KalashniKEV

      Real patriotism means service to the Nation… what did YOU do for your country today, Jessie?

      • He used up some coal to energize the pixels of his blather.

      • drax

        Sometimes questioning your government’s policies IS service to the nation….

    • Bluemontsince1961

      I, for one, am proud as [email protected] [email protected] to be a freakin’ “old fogie”!

    • charlie

      no jessie is right. part of being patriotic is questioning our government and making sure it is the best it can be — national, state and local.

      • Charlie, what you said is not the same as what Jessie said.

  • adamks

    glad that arlington county website had the notice on its homepage, otherwise would have had no idea what this was….many more than 3 rounds…very loud in clarendon area.

  • Tyrone Max

    LOVE IT!!!!! Wish they would do it earlier and on a daily basis just to piss off the assbags and Audi driving tools here.

    • KalashniKEV


  • Kanye West

    That was just me pounding my lady!

    • Airbalac

      Kanye wins.

  • MC

    These drills are really just make-work. If Defense spending needs to be cut, let’s start here.

    • KalashniKEV

      Yeah, maybe we can save money on all those brass buttons and just have the Old Guard wear PTs. And the bugle could be a recording… great outside the box thinking, MC!

  • Anonymous

    Once I figured it out, I thought it was pretty cool. The first pop I thought was an explosion and almost $hit my pants! I guess I should’ve read my email.

  • SUe

    I am still frickin’ exhausted from Tuesday morning.

    Not only did it wake me (after a very late night) ..but it woke my sick 5 year old and his 3 year old brother 2 hours earlier than usual.

    WTF?? This is the second time in a month I’ve been awoken by this booming.

    I am right by the Clarendon Metro and my house was practically shaking with every boom.

    My 5 year old said ‘every time I start to fall asleep, the boom comes again’.

    Think we could start later than the inhumane time of 7am. How about no earlier than 9am. At least I will have had my coffee by then.

    • KalashniKEV

      Get over it.

      • drax


    • Larchmont

      And what about the people worse off than you that find 9am to be an inhumane time? etc, etc…

  • charvakan

    Thanks for the article. I was wondering what the noise was. In Barcroft, it wasn’t loud, but I can understand how it would have awakened people closer.

    I’ll assume the military authorities explored all the options and determined that “blank firing drills” are necessary at Fort Myer. But surely there is no particular reason to have them so early in the morning. The “whiners” are merely asking a question that in a free society should not be met with attempted bullying from the “more patriotic than thou” crowd. Not every decision made by a military officer today is beyond question because so many have sacrificed in the past. To think that we can’t criticize the Army in any way is profoundly unAmerican.

    • KalashniKEV

      “But surely there is no particular reason to have them so early in the morning.”

      Operational needs.

      • charvakan

        Kev, that’s the equivalent of “because I say so”. You may be satisfied with every utterance of every military officer, but others are free to disagree.

        And I suggest YOU get over that.

      • drax

        Sorry, Kev, but simply saying they need it because they need it doesn’t cut it.

        • KalashniKEV

          It’s not going to stop, so the whiners have 2 choices:

          1) Get over it.
          2) Keep whining on the internet.

          • drax

            It might stop, Kev. If American citizens want the military to do something, and their civilian leaders agree, the military will follow orders and stop. You see, the military does not have absolute authority.

            But in the meantime, yes, people can whine. So stop telling them not to whine, huh? I don’t think the cannon fire is a big deal either. But damn, what do you think the military fights for? When you yammer on about “freedom,” did it occur to you that the freedom to speak, and the freedom not to be subject to absolute control of the military, are among those freedoms?

            Feel free to tell the whiners that it’s not that big a deal. I agree with you. But enough with the high-and-mighty, the military can do whatever it wants because it’s fighting for our freedom bullsh*t. That doesn’t cut it.

          • KalashniKEV

            You are correct that you all have the freedom to whine, but I prefer to LET FREEDOM RING!!!!


          • drax

            Funny how you keep whining about the whining though.

  • Smoke_Jaguar4

    Now that public school is about to start, I recommend the Old Guard fire the big guns *every* morning. Think of it as a big Reveille for the area. We could reduce the tardiness rate by just shaking the kids out of bed.
    If that doesn’t work, I’d let the DC Air National Guard’s F-16s go supersonic over the Potomac every day.


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