Hey, Mr. President! | Washington, D.C.
For the past few days I've been away on a weekend trip with my friend, Allie, to our nation's capitol and we got to spend some time with my fellah, Luke, touring around where he spends his days as a photographer for The New York Times. It was super sweet and we certainly got into places we wouldn't have otherwise.
We toured Capitol Hill, walked the monuments with our personal tour guide and enjoyed the highlight of our trip: getting to travel inside the gates of the Whitehouse. So. Exciting. The President was set to return to the East coast at 11:30 on Friday evening, so we headed over via our little feet and pressed the button on the Whitehouse fence to be admitted. After a quick hiccup that had us concerned that Allie wouldn't make it in, we dropped our things on the metal detector and headed in through security.
Turns out, Barack Obama didn't land until 1:30am, so we had plenty of time for our hiccup and a proper tour and photo shoot of the press area. And since we had a our own personal photographer (all of these photos were made by the fabulous Luke Sharrett), we had to test out the briefing room. Allie and I had Luke make a few rounds of our best 1am faces in the briefing room and then it was time to head out on the South Lawn.
The press that was present amounted to maybe 10 folks, so we were a quiet little group (translation: We could see everything and stood about 8 feet from President Obama).
We stood on the driveway that loops in front of the Whitehouse and waited for the lights of the helicopters to appear. After the yard was surrounded in secret service folks and a helicopter had flown laps around the area shining a search light, two lights became visible over the tree line. They grew closer and brighter as Luke and I made bets on which contained the President and which would peel off and fly away. As the helicopters flew over the yard, the wind swelled and the air was filled with the sounds of persistent chopping, then the helicopter to the left split and flew away.
The headlights of the chopper shined on the Whitehouse until they had nearly landed, and as warned, Marine One turns 45 degrees to land parallel with the Whitehouse. Luke had told Allie and I of the wind that would surely surprise when the helicopter's tail turned, but I still wasn't quite prepared. The smell of gasoline, a light dusting of yard dust and a solid burst of wind hit me in the face and continued to blow chilly air until the President was tucked inside his home.
The helicopter stairs opened, a Marine walked out and saluted, followed by President Obama. He made a quick wave, and walked just past us into his home. Followed by his staff and then a Marine carrying, I assume, his bags inside. It was the quietest and the coolest. To stand in a yard where the Presidents of our great nation had surely walked. Surreal.
The wind slowed, the press turned off their lights and we headed inside, walking past the rose garden, into the Times' desk. After a quick send of the images above, we walked out together and back to our hotel. Such a cool experience and such a sweet story to be able to share with my kiddos one day.
More on our DC trip this week, but for now I've got some emails to answer! Enjoy! (Oh, and all these photos were made by Luke Sharrett - I made some janky pictures on my iPhone, but mostly spent my time enjoying our experience.)