Visiting the White House is something few people experience. It’s not as easy as it used to be. Before 9/11/2001, times were easier. One of our friends at corporate called my attention to this link. Yelp reviews from people who did visit the home and office of the President of the United States.
I've visited the White House several times. I’ve checked out the Christmas tree. There are trees from every state and territory on the Ellipse. Many years ago there was also a large bonfire. Tourists could walk through the trees and then warm by the fire. Trust me, the winter wind whistles through the area south of the building.
I was inside the building just once. It was July of 1976 and the country was celebrating the Bicentennial. I had just completed the eighth grade. I was a member of a history club at school. We held bake sales and sold popcorn door-to-door for nine months to pay for the trip. It included a stop in Gettysburg. Our teacher and lead chaperone was well-read on the battle and he conducted our tour. Then we climbed back on the bus and headed for the main event.
Walking the streets of the Capital, we came across a street vendor peddling fireworks. My buddy, Andy Moot, and I each bought a bag full. Paper bags. Then it was announced we were on our way to the White House for a tour. We didn’t want to leave our bags on the bus. A guard at the gate looked inside each bag. “You guys got ripped off,” he said. We were allowed to take them inside! As we didn’t smoke, we didn’t have any matches.
If we had set them off, we probably would never again be allowed on a school trip. The guard also proved to be right. When we got home, we set them off. Each one rose about a yard off the ground, released some sparks, and then fizzled out.
I can’t imagine anyone being allowed to take even minor fireworks into the same building today.
Have you been on a White House tour? What was your experience?