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Diary Notes: Washington Puts a Dark Past To Rest

Jamie Stiehm on

WASHINGTON -- The city starts a new season, after Sept. 11 remembrances. Congress returns from summer recess. In the Capitol press gallery, you hear a bubbly chatter as if we're going back to school, a new beginning.

Could we be turning a corner from a mob storming the Capitol, an impeachment trial and the pandemic? As a witness to all three within these marble walls and halls, I so want to say yes.

Let me share some diary notes from the dome.

The lost war in Afghanistan colored the elegiac 9/11 moments -- since that day led to the war. The high-noon sun beat down on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders gathered on the Capitol's East Front steps.

The Speaker had the Marine Band play "God Bless America" for old time's sake. Twenty years ago, Congress sang that song as the sun set on 9/11.

Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on those very steps. The dome he built was the target of the doomed United Flight 93 plane, which passengers forced to the ground.

 

Nearby, Secretary of State Antony Blinken gamely faced a committee pitching hardballs on the chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal.

"We inherited a deadline (from former President Donald Trump)," Blinken said. "We did not inherit a plan."

Years ago, Tony told me what a government "principal" was. Now he is one.

Across the plaza, a gleaming building bears the motto, "Equal Justice Under Law." Very nice.

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