Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 49

PARKWAY DETAIL
TWO DAYS AFTER the Boston Marathon bombings,
The Boston Globe ran an ad for a pressure cooker on
sale for $19.99. Ordinarily, this advertisement would
have escaped the notice of most of us, but no longer.
Now the pressure cooker - like bags of fertilizer and
tennis shoes before it - has become a weapon of mass
destruction.
It didn't used to be this way. For many years, a bomb
was a few sticks of TNT hooked up to an alarm clock.
Sometimes it came with detonator wire. I know,
because one summer I was asked to look for one.
I was working at the Carl Sandburg Home
National Historic Site in Flat Rock, N.C. at the
time, giving tours of the Sandburg Home and talking about Abraham Lincoln. One day, my boss
asked me if I would like to make some overtime.
The Park Service was putting together a work detail
to provide support for a commemorative event to
celebrate the completion of the Blue Ridge Parkway
in 1987. The road had been started as a works project under the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration on September 11, 1935.
Fifty-two years later, the 469-mile parkway
stretching from Shenandoah National Park in
Virginia to The Great Smoky Mountains in North
Carolina was finally completed. The last section was
an extended section of bridges called the Linn Cove
Viaduct built on the side of Grandfather Mountain.
As part of the dedication ceremony to be held on
September 11, 1987, there was to be a motorcade
of automobiles from each of the 53 years of the project, with General William Westmoreland,
Commander of U.S. Forces during Vietnam and
Army Chief of Staff under President Nixon, riding
in the lead car.
The detail began with a full dress rehearsal of the
event the day before. In the morning, we were issued
two-way radios. Since many of us were interpretive
rangers with little or no law enforcement training,
we were given a very basic security protocol. If we
noticed anything unusual, we were to call it in to the
team leader. He would either come himself or send
someone to us.
We were then briefed on a threat made to one of
the media outlets shortly after it was announced
that General Westmoreland would be leading the
procession. Someone had said they were going to
kill General Westmoreland. Although the general
had received countless similar threats both during
and after the Vietnam War, we were advised to take
the threat seriously and to report any suspicious

Because I had come up with the catch
phrase, "Roosevelt, we have returned," to
be said on the radio the moment General
Westmoreland's car drove through the
ribbon on the ceremonial span, I was
given the honor of patrolling this section .
activity immediately.
Then we were assigned locations. Because I had
come up with the catch phrase, "Roosevelt, we
have returned," to be said on the radio the moment
General Westmoreland's car drove through the ribbon on the ceremonial span, I was given the honor
of patrolling this section. (If anyone there that day
had realized how Roosevelt would have felt about
us using MacArthur's signature grandstanding line
for one of his projects, I'd have been standing in
Virginia.)
We took our places along the route and waited
for the motorcade. After about 20 minutes, a 1942
Jeep with General Westmoreland in the back seat
came around the corner and crossed the bridge,
followed closely by 53 other cars. The procession
headed south and exited the parkway a few miles
down the road.
Twenty minutes after they had gone, the team
leader arrived with a van full of park rangers he
had picked up along the way. He congratulated us
on the rehearsal but warned that the next day
would be different: "Tomorrow there will be hundreds of people, TV camera crews, helicopters and
airplanes."
Because it was early and we weren't scheduled
to return to the staging area for another two hours,
he asked all of us to return to our locations and
patrol the area. "Look for anything unusual under
the bridges or along the roadway.
"Like what?" someone asked.
"Like detonating wire, unattended baggage,
boxes, crates - that sort of thing."
Because I was already where I needed to be, I
didn't have to go anywhere. I walked to the south
side of the span and scrambled down the shoulder
to have a look at the underside of the bridge.
MAY/JUNE 2014 | 49



Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014

Letters / You Said It
From the Editor
From the Farm
BRC Unlocked
Mountain Report
Creasture Feature
Great Buys in the Mountains
The Hike
Festivals and Events
Country Roads
It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Little Zoos, Big Fun
Mountain Garden
Flavors
Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Letters / You Said It
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - BRC Unlocked
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Creasture Feature
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Great Buys in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Festivals and Events
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - It’s Weird, It’s Wonderful, It’s Asheville!
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Photoessay: The Waterfalls of Western North Carolina
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Adventure: Where to Play, Where to Stay
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - One Day on the Parkway, 1987
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Little Zoos, Big Fun
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Flavors
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: The Farms Cabins and Cottages
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2014 - Cover3
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