So I had a pretty interesting day (aside from the snow). I had a meeting in the Pentagon.
Most of the people I deal with are either based in Crystal City (across the freeway from the Pentagon) or they come to the office in Crystal City when they want to have a meeting. As far as I know, this was my first time ever visiting the Pentagon itself (the first since I’ve been old enough to remember, anyway).
And I thought the IRS headquarters was confusing. Take a look at this!
I had an ‘escorted visitor’ pass, so I had to stick with one of my coworkers who has a regular contractor’s badge. But she was kind enough to walk around the building for a while after the meeting so I could see some of the neat displays and things that they have all around the place.
We found Donald Rumsfeld’s office, although I gather he wasn’t there (supposedly the door has armed guards when he’s in). I also got to meet a Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army. That was pretty cool.
The most interesting thing for me was how multi-purpose the place is. Many of the halls are set up like museum exhibits, and yet have working offices attached to them. For example, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have their offices off a hallway that is elegantly decorated like an exhibit on the history of the Joint Chiefs. Some parts of the building are also reminiscent of a mall—food courts with major chains, a CVS, banks, and so-on all scattered throughout. In fact, I grabbed some lunch at a Subway just before leaving.
If it had a residential section, you could literally live there for months without leaving.
Another interesting thing was the significant differences between sections. The Pentagon was built originally in the 1940s, and some parts of it look like it—drab, old, and dingy. The building has been undergoing renovation, so other parts look basically like any modern office building. Sections renovated since Sept. 11, 2001, (including the one that was hit) have an interesting safety feature—a glow-in-the-dark strip just above the floor with arrows that point to the nearest exit. I found myself wondering why that feature isn’t in every building. Think about it: ‘exit’ signs are usually at the ceiling, which is first place to be obscured by smoke in a fire.
Anyway, here’s a lot of interesting facts about the Pentagon (if you’re interested). You should visit if you ever get the chance.