Stupid Fort Lewis is on fire. It's no wonder -- we've had horrible hot weather and even in my place, 25 miles or so west, the rumble and whump of artillery has been loud. There are several fires, but one was caused was artillery fire. I once remarked on the high activity of the fort's guns, and my student from Nisqually wryly commented, "You ought to hear it from my house -- up close and personal." At school it shakes the building and rattles the windows. It was difficult for the children after the Nisqually Earthquake (the ground was waving up and down like water) as they were worried about aftershocks. And after 9/11. Seeing aircraft after 9/11 during the flight ban was scary for them, too.
Anyway, I heard the other day that there are 1.3 million active military personel, and 1.4 million reserves. That's a lot. What a huge beast! Last time my brother was here we entered Fort Lewis to visit the museums: my brother was amused that the gate-keeper called it a "muse --um," and we went to the military muse-um and also the flight muse-um, which I would reckon might be part of McChord, I'm not sure. After that we decided to sneak into the px, as he wanted to see what it was like. There were signs posted around for a color-coded military exercise, and military uniforms, vehicles, etc -- otherwise it wasn't terribly different from any scraggly suburban area, with Mickey Ds and such all around. We wandered unchallenged into the px, and spent perhaps 15 minutes looking at underwear, etc., when a man came up and asked us for our military ID (he knew we didn't have any business being there). We said we didn't have any, and weren't, in fact, even citizens, but that we had been curious. He was very nice, and just kicked us out without resorting to thumbscrews or anything. That was pre-9/11. Now I doubt we'd have such an easy time of it. My brother said he'd never before realised the enormity of the American military. However, they say "Muse-um."
In 1917 the greater part of the Nisqually Indian Reservation (north of the river) was taken and added to the land made into Fort Lewis. I would be uneasy with all that thumping and whumping right next door, let alone having an army on my doorstep.
posted by - 11:07 AM