On February 25, The Institute of World Politics’ spring interns had the opportunity to tour the Pentagon. Unlike most tours, the tour was personally conducted by Randy Odom, the Outreach Officer for the Secretary of the Army.
Due to Mr. Odom’s extensive experience with the United States Army, the tour was primarily geared towards Army-based artifacts and memorabilia. The displays covered a variety of U.S. involvements and missions, including the Civil War, both World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and several others.
During the tour, the interns were presented the opportunity of visiting the Army Chief of Staff’s personal office. From the banner of red digital numbers displaying the different times around the world and the multiple television screens flashing the world’s top news stories, to the beautifully crafted table covered in challenge coins, the office offered more than just a brief insight of the daily life of the Army Chief of Staff.
Further into the tour was the wing directly impacted by the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks; the tragedy and its lasting effects could be felt throughout the halls. However, greater than the feeling of sorrow was the feeling of strength and hope. The rebuilt walls were covered in handmade quilts shipped in from all over the county, handprints of children no more than five years old with inspirational messages scribbled in crayon, and pictures of lost but not forgotten loved ones.
As the tour came to an end, the interns reflected on their newly acquired knowledge about the headquarters of the United States’ Department of Defense, the Pentagon.
-Jessica, IWP Research Assistant and Intern