Monday, January 01, 2007

Paying Tribute

Isn't it odd that the term "to pay tribute" has changed in meaning from "to deliver goods, money, or services to an overlord or adversary in return for protection or promises not to harm" to "to praise a person of social, political, or artistic significance."

So it was not gold or animal skins or barrels of rum that people brought to the waiting area at the foot of the U.S. Capitol this weekend, but good wishes and fond memories of former President Gerald R. Ford, who died the day after Christmas.

On Saturday evening, I spent a bit over an hour waiting in line -- which was calm and well-organized -- to pass by President Ford's casket, which has been lying in state in the Rotunda.

GMU blogger Richard Morrison and I traveled from Charlottesville and arrived at the queue's beginning at 9:35 p.m. We were admitted to the Rotunda at 10:45, and we were back at my car (which had been parked in Ballston) by midnight.

It was a solemn occasion, as one might expect (and as it should be). We did get a few photos despite the darkness. (All photos by Richard Morrison, whose telephone takes better pics than mine does.)

A view of the line of people approaching the Capitol to pay their respects to President Ford.

Normal people generally cannot see the Capitol Dome from this angle.

Visitors received one of these remembrance cards upon arriving at the entrance to the Rotunda.

The Capitol Christmas Tree is in the middle ground; the Washington Monument is in the far distance.

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