It was just after 10 a.m. Wednesday when a Loop Fan, driving in from Virginia across the Memorial Bridge, noticed a red VW bug, blinkers flashing, stopped just about halfway across the bridge.
The car was abandoned, and that seemed a bit odd to her. So, being a good citizen, and deciding to err on the side of caution, she dialed 911 at about 10:15.
The dispatcher asked the usual questions: kind of car, color and so forth. “Heading north or south?”she asked.
Uh, heading east, into the District, our source said, and the call ended.
The dispatcher called back at 10:20.
“Are you the person who called?” she asked. And then: “Which bridge was it? Many bridges have ‘memorial’ in their name.”
Our source explained she’d been in the area for some 20 years and “it’s the only one I ever heard of that was called Memorial Bridge.”
The dispatcher again asked her to specify the name.
Our source said, “It goes from Arlington Cemetery to the Lincoln Memorial.” (Indeed, the official name is the Arlington Memorial Bridge.)
“I need the name of the bridge,” the dispatcher said.
“I can’t help you any more,” our source said, and the conversation ended.
Well, we didn’t hear any explosions, so not to worry.
And just remember, don’t say “the 14th Street Bridge.” It’s The Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge. (He was on that Air Florida flight that crashed into the Potomac in 1982. He helped save other passengers but later died.)
And don’t say “The White House.” You know how many white houses there are in this town?
The folks at the D.C. Office of Unified Communications is looking into this, pulling the tapes, and will get back to us.