There's a big, white moving truck across the street, emptying a lovely, old house on the grounds of the first naval observatory in D.C. Yes, there was another before the more famous one on Massachusetts Ave. Spouse and I are lucky to have a view of the far, prettier, older one across from the State Department and behind the U.S. Institute for Peace building.Former Secretary of Defense Gates and his wife are leaving the spin-cycle-life of D.C. to return to civilian life, presumably away from Washington.
His years serving in the federal government have been jam-packed. I've noticed him coming home at all hours and on any day. His travel schedule would have been enough to exhaust much younger people yet he always carried on and through.
Maintaining professional decorum, he was still able to display honest affection and admiration for our Americans in uniform. Foreign leaders also respected him for his personal integrity, strategic intelligence and diplomatic skills.
Washington needs more men and women of Robert M. Gate's calibre. Self-aggrandizement never occurred to him and duty to his president and country always came first.
Having served two presidents -- from different parties, no less -- with extraordinary grace, intelligence and endless patience, he deserves a peaceful, private, and long vacation. Godspeed, Dr. and Mrs. Gates.