Washington: The Monks at Eighth and I

LIKE Shakespearean wraiths, liveried figures stalk the night-draped battlements, as drum rolls and trumpets echo to the sound of marching below. "Officers call!" barks the adjutant, and eight black-coated officers, swords tight against their shoulders, wheel in close formation across a floodlit field. "Sound attention!" and they come, the main body of six platoons, surging from beneath a darkened arcade. With all the pomp, panoply and flair that can be mustered, the most brilliantly executed military parade in the U.S. is under way. The spectacle is the weekly Friday-night retreat at the...

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