Thursday, August 21, 2008

Once in Lifetime Opportunities

Life is meant to be an adventure, so I (usually) jump on opportunities that come only once in a lifetime.

On June 10, 2004 I heard that Ronald Reagan would be lying in state in the Rotunda of the US Capitol Building. One of the greatest of American presidents was being given honor and the American public was invited to pay their respects.

June 11, 2004 was going to be a Friday (my day off), so at 6pm on the 10th I proffered two 2 friends with the opportunity of a lifetime. Two hours later we were on our way, and at 10PM, we joined the last group of people allowed into the queue on the National Mall.

If you've been to the Mall, picture a serpentine line (think an amusement park style queue) zig-zagging halfway across the width of the Mall and stretching 4 blocks from the Capitol Building (4 DC blocks are a long way).

7+ hours later, we walked into the hushed Rotunda where a serviceman from each branch of the military stood silent watch over Reagan's casket. I'm not much of a politico, but you could literally feel the respect, dignity and honor in the air. Even in death, the man had serious gravitas.

All around us in line were people in full military dress (including one female Air Force officer in heels who literally hobbled away from the Capitol 7 hours later) and in suits and ties. The entire time in the queue a certain dignity hung in the air. Some parents were even pushing kids in strollers (hello! It's 12am, do you know where your children are?). Once in a lifetime opportunities will bring you to do things out of the norm.

A great moment for me personally. I wouldn't have missed it. Some once in a lifetime opportunities are obvious (like this one). Some aren't. So how do you know a once in a lifetime opportunity? What's it look like?

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