Old School Film Hack

JFK Ultra Walk


We congregated at zero dark thirty on Teddy Roosevelt Island — right in front of the monument, so that we could get an early start.

The route was to start on TR Island at 6:30 am, wind for 22 miles through Washington, DC, and end at the Eternal Flame in Arlington National Cemetery by 2:00 pm.

Truly, it was very dark at the appointed hour.  Let me rephrase that…  It was pitch black when we first arrived.  In the skyline with the bridge in the foreground, I worked for many years in the second tall building from the left, which used to be the corporate headquarters for Gannett before they moved out to McLean, Virginia. The group shot is most of us — close to 45 or 50 people — that gathered for the ultra walk, just as the sun peeked over the horizon for a splendid light show as we began.

The tall office building (below) is where I worked from 1988 to 1992, though the earlier building was either razed or radically renovated, because it looks completely different from when I put in my time there.

The building with columns (below) is the House of the Temple or otherwise officially known as “The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspectors General Knights Commander of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-third degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America“.  Try saying that three times real fast.  I used to walk by it everyday during my commute to and from work.

The building with the blue sky reflected in the windows (below) is where I briefly lived during my short stint as a DC resident.  I lived on the fourth floor, all the way to the right, where I rented a one room efficiency for $475 per month (utilities were not included) for a while back in 1988.  My shared wall with the building next door was next to the room where the Lithuanian Embassy had a grand piano — and I was regularly serenaded with live music through the wall when they had a grand soirée.  However, I didn’t stay there very long: a gun battle right below my window between rival drug gangs convinced me to leave after just six months.

Eventually we made it to President Kennedy’s grave, 50 years to the day after he was killed, paid our respects, then retired to the Old Amphitheater to close our long walk together.

It is precisely because of Manchester’s attention to the smallest detail that we find out one more story about Liz that has a bearing on American history. Earlier that year, she had taken Agatha and Caroline to visit the Custis-Lee Mansion at Arlington Cemetery. Caroline was so enamored with it that she told her father he should visit.

The President was intrigued and one evening around sunset, Kennedy stood not far from where he would be laid to rest just a few months later. Marveling at the view, he murmured, “I could stay here forever.” — The New York Sun

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