There are 56 of us, jammed into a school bus with a seating capacity of 46 (there are many flatulence jokes). We join a line of other band buses in a Pentagon parking lot, creeping forward until we reach a security checkpoint, where we are screened by military personnel. One of the Rangers has the following exchange with a security screener:
SCREENER: What's this?
RANGER: It's a toilet plunger.
SCREENER (after a pause): OK.
After the screening we go into another tent, where we're given box lunches, which most of the Rangers wolf down immediately, even though it's only 9:30 a.m. All around us are military units and marching bands wearing immaculate matching uniforms; next to them, the Rangers, hunched over their box lunches, dribbling sandwich crumbs onto their graduation gowns, look like homeless people.
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