Remembering 9/11 at the Pentagon — President Obama attended a memorial service at the Pentagon Sunday morning. Some 800 friends and family members of victims of the Pentagon attacks were in attendance at the private 15th anniversary event. [Los Angeles Times, NBC 4]
Arlington Remembers 9/11 — Local remembrance ceremonies were held in Arlington for the 9/11 anniversary, including an annual wreath-laying ceremony outside county government headquarters at Courthouse Square and, on Saturday, an event at Fire Station No. 5, the closest Arlington County fire station to the Pentagon — whose firefighters were among the first to arrive on scene at the burning Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. The latter event featured crew members of the USS Arlington. [Facebook, InsideNova]
Arlington Has Priciest Homes in N. Va. — The median sales price of homes in Arlington is $453 per square foot. That’s the highest in Northern Virginia. Falls Church is second-highest, at $417 per square foot. [Falls Church News-Press]
Note About Morning Notes — You might notice that the URL of this post is /morning-notes-1500/, reflecting that this is the 1,500th post published with the headline “Morning Notes.” Technically, however, this is Morning Notes post No. 1,515. About 1 percent of the time we either press publish before filling out the headline or have a slight misspelling (it’s the first post we publish in the morning, c’mon) — even though the error is quickly corrected, the erroneous URL has to stay as-is.
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
NAACP Wants War Memorial Plaque Changed — The Arlington chapter of the NAACP wants a plaque on the war memorial in Clarendon updated. The plaque lists Arlingtonians killed in World War I, but separates two “colored” military members from the rest of the local war dead. The NAACP says it would like to get the plaque removed and replaced. “We owe it to those who fought and died,” said local NAACP president Karen Nightengale. [InsideNova]
Two Restaurant Chains Coming to Arlington — Two regional franchise operators have signed agreements that will bring two expanding restaurant chains to Arlington. A former Domino’s Pizza franchisee is planning to open an Arlington location of Wisconsin-based Toppers Pizza, in addition to locations elsewhere in Northern Virginia. Meanwhile a Five Guys franchisee says it will be opening 10 Newk’s Eatery locations in Arlington and Fairfax counties. The Mississippi-based soup, salad, sandwich and pizza chain is big in the Southeast U.S., with more than 100 locations in 13 states and an aggressive expansion plan. [WTOP, Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Hotels Hacked — Two Arlington hotels have reportedly had their payment systems compromised by hackers. HEI Hotels and Resorts says malware was found on its systems at 20 hotels, including the Le Meridien in Rosslyn and the Sheraton Pentagon City on Columbia Pike. The hack potentially exposed the credit card information of hotel guests and customers. [Associated Press]
Pokemon Go at the Pentagon — Department of Defense officials have put the kibosh on DoD employees playing Pokemon Go on government phones, citing concerns about the game tracking the movement of its employees. The DoD has also reportedly told Pentagon employees to only play the game outside of the building. A Pokemon “gym” inside the Pentagon has been removed. [The Guardian, Twitter]
Bethesda Man Bought $1 Million Lottery Ticket in Arlington — The $1 million-winning Powerball ticket that was sold at a Ballston 7-Eleven store last month was sold to a Bethesda resident. Larry Elpiner says he plans to “share his winnings with family and friends,” in addition to paying for his daughter’s college education. [WUSA 9]
Photo courtesy Noah Kaufman
Local leaders are considering a new plaque for Arlington’s World War I memorial in Clarendon.
As reported by the Sun Gazette, the 1930s-era memorial has a plaque with a dozen names of local war dead. Two of the names are presented away from the others — and include the extra label “colored.”
It’s unclear if Arlington can legally make changes to the memorial, under state law. Ideally, what do you think should be done?
Arlington County paid its annual tribute to fallen law enforcement officers this morning.
The county’s observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day took place at 8 a.m., in the Arlington County Justice Center Plaza at 1425 N. Courthouse Road. The six Arlington County Police Department officers who have died in the line of duty were remembered during the ceremony, as was a seventh officer who died after suffering a heart attack and falling to his death in the 1920s.
Among those participating in the ceremony was the son of Officer George Pomraning, who was shot to death at the age of 26 while bringing a prisoner to jail on Sept. 2, 1973. Pomraning’s son, who was born around the time of his father’s death, wiped tears from his face after placing a rose in his honor next to the police memorial statue.
Other event participants included Police Chief Jay Farr, Sheriff Beth Arthur, County Board Chair Libby Garvey and County Manager Mark Schwartz. There were also representatives from the Alexandria Police Department, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.
The memorial ceremony coincides with National Police Week, which brings law enforcement officers from around the country and around the world together in the D.C. area. Police motorcades running down local highways, as well as to and from the airport, are a common sight in Arlington before and during the week-long event, which officially starts on May 15.
Among the pre-Police Week activities, several Arlington County officers took part in a cross-state Law Enforcement United bike ride that arrived at the Iwo Jima memorial near Rosslyn yesterday afternoon.
— ArlingtonCountyPD (@ArlingtonVaPD) May 12, 2016
The inaugural Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation Memorial 5K and Family Fun Day will be held on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Knights of Columbus at 5115 Little Falls Road, the same road on which Lawson was hit last year.
The 5K starts at 8 a.m., followed by the kids run at 9:30 a.m. After the races, the foundation will hold a family fun day, with music, food trucks and a beer garden. There will also be kids activities, including face painting, a moon bounce and balloon animals.
Registration for the race is still open. It costs $40 to run the 5K and $10 to participate in the kids run. All proceeds go to the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation, a memorial fund started by Lawson’s husband Neal to help provide pre- and postnatal care for families in need of financial assistance.
Lawson died on February 24, 2014, after being struck by a dump truck while loading her two-year-old daughter into her minivan. Her two sons were in class, across the street at Nottingham Elementary. After her death, a family friend created a memorial fund to help the family. He aimed to raise $5,000 and ended up raising more than $17,000.
There will be 155 t-shirts on display on the lawn outside of the Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ starting Sunday, a memorial to those lost to gun violence in the D.C. area.
Each t-shirt represents a victim of gun violence in the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia in 2014. Each will have a name, age and date of death on it.
“The display is set up to encourage people to walk among the shirts and reflect on those victims and their loved ones,” Rev. Kathy Dwyer said.
The T-Shirt Memorial to the Lost will remain in place from Oct. 11-24. It’s part of a project led by Heeding God’s Call, an organization that advocates for “common sense” gun laws. The church has asked its members to help it set up the display after morning services this Sunday.
“It seems like every time we turn around there’s another act of senseless violence,” Dwyer said.
There will be 75 white shirts for D.C., 23 yellow shirts for Northern Virginia and 57 blue shirts for Maryland. Outside of the District, the victims are from places like Arlington County, Alexandria, Culpepper and Woodbridge in Virginia and Laurel, Ellicott City, Columbia and Gaithersburg, Maryland. Baltimore, which has a high rate of gun violence, is not included.
This is the second time the t-shirt memorial has been erected in Arlington, Dwyer said. First Presbyterian Church held the memorial last year. This year there are 11 fewer shirts.
Dwyer will discuss gun violence as part of her sermons on Sunday, Oct. 18 at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Members of the congregation have told Dwyer they want to do more than pray for a solution to gun violence, she said, a call that sparked the church to hold the memorial.
“[We see people] really reacting to the violence we see with more violence, and we want to be part of a different path,” she said.
The church has included national issues in sermons and discussions before. The church previously had talks about the intertwining of race and religion, which concluded this past Sunday.
The grassy patch of land that runs along Columbia Pike and Washington Blvd by the Pentagon is slated to be home to the new 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center by 2020.
“The Pentagon is the only 9/11 attack site without a visitor center or museum to explain the historic significance of what happened on that day. Among the 500,000+ visitors who come to the Memorial each year, few know how different this location is from all others in Washington, D.C.,” said James Laychak, the president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund, in a press release.
“The 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center site is in a dramatic location, right where the attack of 9/11 took place and adjacent to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and Air Force Memorial… This thoughtful arrangement creates a powerful backdrop to heighten the experience for visitors as they arrive at the 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center,” the Pentagon Memorial Fund said on its website.
The organization is currently looking for sponsors to help it reach a goal of $75 million for the visitor education center.
Once the center is completed, visitors will be able to learn more about the Sept. 11 events and the significance of the Pentagon Memorial through exhibits created from artifacts and content donated by the FBI, National Geographic, the Transportation Security Administration and National Museum of American History, among others.
The visitor center will help tell the stories of both the victims and survivors of the Pentagon attack and inform visitors about the U.S. response to the attacks. It will also offer walking audio tours.
“Tens of thousands of children and students come to the memorial each year and few know why this memorial is different from all others in Washington, D.C. in that it is located where the event took place. Many of those are eighth-graders on class trips that are too young to have experienced the tragedy of Sept. 11. We do not want to miss out on these teachable moments,” the Pentagon Memorial Fund said.
The visitor center is expected to open in 2019 or 2020, according to a spokesman.
Columbia Pike is slated to be realigned as part of a land swap between Arlington County and the military that will allow for Arlington National Cemetery to be expanded around the planned 9/11 visitor center.
An Arlington, Va., church has hung 176 T-shirts on its front lawn, with each shirt representing someone shot to death in the D.C. area last year.
First Presbyterian Church, at the intersection of N. Carlin Springs Road and Vermont Street, steps from Ballston Common Mall, displayed the shirts on Saturday. Each garment shows the name of a victim, the victim’s age and the date in 2013 that he or she died.
Eighty-two white shirts represent people killed in D.C. Victims in Northern Virginia are honored with 31 yellow shirts. And 63 blue shirts were hung for people in Maryland. The display was coordinated by Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based nonprofit with a mission to end gun violence.
“Each [victim] is a human being, a child of God,” a flier the organization is distributing at the memorial reads. “Each one deserves to be remembered. Each passing deserves to be noted and mourned.”
Heeding God’s Call is trying to grow support for its efforts to combat “straw purchasing” done when someone legally purchases guns to re-sell them, sometimes to people who cannot legally purchase a gun because they have a criminal record, a mental illness or are too young. The group says the cemetery-like display is designed to be a reminder that straw purchasing is how many guns “end up illegally in the hands of those who use them to destroy countless lives.”
“Unlike a cemetery, this memorial isn’t behind trees and gates where no one can see it,” the flier reads. “It’s on public view where folks driving, biking or walking past not only can see it but can be reminded of the violence that happens day in and day out in the Greater Washington area and, yes, throughout the country.”
The memorial will be on display through Sept. 27.
Hat tip to @ipadreporter
Arlington County held its annual observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day this morning.
The ceremony took place at 8:00 p.m. in the plaza between police headquarters and the county jail. Arlington police officers and sheriff’s deputies were joined by county officials and law enforcement personnel from surrounding jurisdictions in remembering the six Arlington County police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Those officers are:
- Special Police Officer Louis Shaw, killed on Dec. 6, 1935 when his vehicle was struck by a fuel tanker and burst into flames. A prisoner in the vehicle was also killed.
- Detective Russell Pettie, shot and killed on Jan. 20, 1954 while executing a search warrant.
- Officer Arthur Chorovich, fatally injured on Dec. 5, 1964 when his police motorcycle was struck by a vehicle.
- Officer Israel Gonzalez, shot and killed on Oct. 25, 1972 during a bank robbery in Crystal City.
- Officer George Pomraning, Jr., shot and killed on Sept. 2, 1973 while transporting a prisoner. The prisoner pulled a gun out of his boot while in the backseat of a police car and shot Pomraning several times.
- Officer John Buckley, shot and killed on April 15, 1977 during a bank robbery.
Among those who spoke at the ceremony were County Board Vice Chairman Mary Hynes, Sheriff Beth Arthur, Arlington County Civic Federation President Michael McMenamin, and Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.
“Taps” was performed by members of the police department and sheriff’s office. “Amazing Grace” was also performed, by bagpipers from the Arlington County Police Department and the U.S. Border Patrol Pipe and Drum Band.
Andrew Alford, a third-grader at Long Branch Elementary School, died for still-unexplained reasons on April 11. This Saturday several groups around Arlington are organizing fundraisers and events to honor his memory.
This Saturday at 6:45 p.m., Arlington Little League, in cooperation with the Mothers of North Arlington, Long Branch PTA and Evolve All Martial Arts, is coordinating a memorial ceremony at Barcroft Sport and Fitness Center (4200 S. Four Mile Run Drive) on baseball field No. 1. Those in attendance are asked to wear orange, Andrew’s favorite color, and to write remembrances of Andrew for his family to keep.
“While for me this is a personal tragedy that I will never recover from, the community has been amazing in their support of Andrew and me in their efforts to honor his memory and the amazing boy he was,” Louisa Marinaccio, Andrew’s mother, told ARLnow.com in an email. “Andrew loved orange, the Pittsburgh Pirates and his momma. He dreamed of pitching for the Pirates in the World Series and owning a mint condition Honus Wagner card.”
In addition to the event Saturday night, the Arlington Little League has pledged to transform the dirt field at Long Branch in Lyon Park into a full-fledged baseball field in an effort they’ve named the Andrew Alford Memorial Project. Marinaccio said Frank Coonelly, the president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, reached out to her and pledged to donate to the fund.
In addition, MONA will start the Andrew Alford Buddy Bench Project, according to Marinaccio, “as an annual community service project with a goal of installing an orange Buddy Bench in Andrew’s honor at every elementary school in Arlington.”
Arlington Little League President Adam Balutis recounted his favorite Andrew story in an email he wrote to the parents of little leaguers.
“He was playing catcher on a close play at the plate, and an opposing player slid hard into Andrew, accidentally hitting him in the face with his cleats,” Balutis wrote. “With dirt and blood all over his face, Andrew’s mother told him that all the girls at school would say he looked cute and tough and cool. She said Andrew refused to wash his face for hours.”
Photos courtesy Louisa Marinaccio
(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) A memorial fund has been established for Jennifer Lawson, the Arlington mom who was killed after being struck by a dump truck in front of Nottingham Elementary School yesterday morning.
Lawson, 39, was placing her two-year-old daughter in the rear seat of her minivan, after volunteering at the school, when the truck struck her and the side of the van. Her daughter was unhurt. Her two sons, who attend Nottingham, were inside the school at the time.
The family had recently returned from a vacation to Costa Rica, we’re told.
A close friend of the family, Trent Livingston, has set up a fund to “help offset the unforeseen costs of this tragic event” and to benefit Lawson’s three children. He hopes to raise $5,000.
“[Jennifer] was such a great mom, so devoted to her husband and her family,” Livingston told ARLnow.com from his home in Seattle. “She leaves behind so many friends who love her so much. This has just been so shocking and so terrible.”
As of 11:30 a.m. the fund had raised $620. As of 3:15 p.m. it had raised $7,439.
So far, no charges have been filed against the driver of the dump truck. That could change at any minute, though.
“Because of the nature of the accident, the investigation is going to take a little longer,” according to Arlington County Police spokesman Lt. Michael Watson. “It’s much more in-depth than most accident investigations.”
A public memorial service will be held for long-time Arlington civic activist Robert “Bob” Atkins early next month.
The memorial service will start at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4, at Arlington Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street), according to Atkins’ friend and fellow Civic Federation delegate Suzanne Sundberg. Atkins died peacefully at his Bluemont home on Monday, Dec. 9.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to VORA (Virginia Organizations Responding to AIDS) — at VORA Main Office, P.O. Box 4780, Woodbridge, Va. 22194 — or to the Animal Welfare League of Arlington — at AWLA, Attention: Development Manager, 2650 S. Arlington Mill Drive, Arlington, Va. 22206.
Arlington Volunteer Fire Department, Company One held its annual memorial service and celebrated its 90th anniversary on Saturday afternoon.
Held at the fire station at 500 S. Glebe Road, the ceremony was also the unveiling of a park to the north of the station and new memorial statues honoring firefighters, both career and volunteer, who have died. Family members of deceased firefighters laid roses and the feet of the memorial during Saturday’s ceremony.
Fire Company One was originally located on S. Edgewood Street when it opened in 1923. The keynote speaker at the event was Judge Henry Hudson, of the Fourth Circuit Court in Richmond, who is a lifelong member of Company One.
Photos courtesy Marcy Genest
(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.