The September 11th Memorial Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon was, as it has been in the past, a ritual for President Barack Obama. After a private observance in the White House there was a rapid motorcade to the Pentagon. The pool got in to position to photograph the president positioning a wreath
. Photographers held for the president to take the stage and then were escorted into the buffer area. This position allowed us to photograph the president facing the flag on the Pentagon during the playing of the National Anthem and o photograph Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford to make brief speeches before the President took the podium.
This position was perfect for photographing the people in the front rows watching and reacting to the remarks by President Obama. Unfortunately it would have been disturbing to ask for their names.
The photographers asked the advance person to get the names after the event. She begrudgingly said that there would be an information email coming. No email was received. Hey, there are some great advance staff and some not so great advance staff persons.
After his remarks President Obama went down to the crowd and began to shake hands. Before he got to any of the interesting people on the front row, the advance person told us that we had to load the motorcade. We sat in the vans for a good ten minutes. There would have been plenty of time to stay to make some memorable photographs.