There was a surprise in store for members of the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association during our field trip to Washington, D.C. last week. We expected a staff-led tour of the U.S. Capitol, similar to one my wife and I took last year. To our surprise and delight, Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. led the tour himself.
Unlike a staff-led tour, the Congressman could take us on the floor of the House of Representatives. As a GMU alumnus, I was happy to see a relief portrait of George Mason prominently displayed above the Speaker’s chair. We sat in the chairs at one of the leadership desks, while Mr. Duncan pointed out the voting machines and other highlights. The Congressman chose to have us sit at that particular desk because it still had bullet holes from a 1954 shooting incident.
We would have gone into the Senate chamber too but all the desks had been removed and workers were replacing the carpet. We did peek in the door to see them hard at work. The Congressman took us into the Republican Leader’s Suite, which is one of the rooms historic enough to have its own brochure.
After the tour ended, my son and I looked at the exhibits in the Visitors Center. By then, I was getting hungry. The restaurant in the Visitors Center impressed me with its well-stocked salad bar and choice of cupcakes for dessert.