Perusing the Pentagon

Although the State Department doesn’t wow you with their orientation, they do an amazing job of planning events for interns to help integrate interns into the wider DC, federal government, and State Department community.  To make the most of my time I have been going on as many events as possible.  First stop: the Pentagon.

The tours are really hard to get on, especially the Pentagon and the White House, but if you respond quickly you can typically squeak onto one.  Our group of 20 interns met up at Main State in Foggy Bottom and metroed our way over to the Pentagon.  The security at the Pentagon was über-strict.  We had to go through metal detectors, provide 2 forms of ID, have our bags searched, couldn’t bring in liquids, and some people were even patted down.  At State, once you have a security badge you’re all set.

We were led through the world’s largest office building by a marine and an air force officer.  From all the yelling they do in training and in the field they were easily able to project their voices and make sure everyone heard.  The funniest part is that they lead the entire hour-long tour while walking backwards.  The marine accidentally bumped into a higher-ranking officer and lots of salutes and apologies ensued.

The tour really impressed me.  Unlike Main State whose hallways look like corridors in a Soviet hospital, the Pentagon’s hallways were vibrantly decorated with exhibits and pictures from its missions and history.  The memorial to the 9/11 victims inside was particularly poignant and fascinating.  It was hard to put down the book with biographies and pictures of all those who passed away in the attacks.  After the tour, we got to go outside and walk through the memorial outside the wall that was hit.

DC has a lot to offer to those willing to explore it; special State Department access just helps you get it all done easier and faster.