Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fort Belvoir

Fun fact: I was born on an army base (Fort Knox), but my family moved when I was only a few weeks old, and until just this month, I had not been on an active military installation in the intervening 39 years.

When Pipi and I were in Washington, D.C., my grandparents took us to see Fort Belvoir, in northern Virginia. I’m not sure we could have gotten onto the base on our own, and we almost certainly couldn’t have had coffee at the officers’ club without my grandfather, who was stationed at Fort Belvoir several times over the course of a long military career.

I thought we’d feel like imposters, but everywhere we went—the PX, the officers’ club, the parade ground where my grandfather used to march--we saw a lot of people in civilian clothing and contemporary haircuts. It was all far less mysterious and martial than I expected. It was almost disappointing how normal everything looked, but finding the familiar in the exotic is a big part of travel.

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