Secret Service agents and guards were out in force the other day after a small, winged device was discovered on the grounds of our most familiar residence. Experts are now closely examining the item, and rumors are that they’ve already interpreted the secret coded words on it: Tinker Toy.
We can only hope the little kid who launched the device didn’t try to climb over the heavily-guarded fence to retrieve it. Last time an incident of an intruder on the White House lawn happened, as many as five Secret Service agents woke up and ran into each other.
The drone scenario reminds me of an actual Washington experience of long, long ago. Our high school senior class trip to the nation’s capital in early 1942 was unique, because it happened just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
As our bus traveled the capital’s streets, it was evident the city was seriously attempting to prepare for war. Along the pavements and on rooftops of the White House and other government buildings were dozens of armed soldiers in World War I uniforms, including wrap-around leggings (puttees). They wore World War I helmets that looked like upside-down dishpans, and were armed with Springfield 1903-era rifles with attached bayonets.
At the time, we high school kids were impressed with their zeal, but looking back over the many decades, I realize the soldiers were totally unprepared for the reality of war. The Pearl Harbor attack had happened 6,000 miles away.
The dangerous possibility of winged invaders storming onto the White House lawn was totally remote. Unless by December 1941, the Japanese had invented secret, long-range, electronic, computerized mini drones, Washington was safe.