Traffic was murder. I sat in my car on Wisconsin Avenue staring at the tower beyond the front fence. It was black, wrought-iron and existed less to keep people out and more to remind the world of the difference in ownership between the sidewalk and the green grass that bordered it. The public sidewalk saw all walks of life, all kinds of dress and all manner of mayhem foot its way over the cracked concrete. A few inches away, the base that received the overwhelming majority of returning casualties from downrange reclined, its sprawling form taking up the lawn and watching the slow crawl of cars up and down the choked boulevard. Beyond the fence, uniforms lined the walks. The madness of DC traffic slowed under the watchful eyes of the MPs when it passed through the main gates.