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The Veterans Day Task Force

The Veterans Day Task Force

Tens of thousands of music fans flooded the National Mall Nov. 11 to hear Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Rihanna and many others perform in HBO’s “Concert for Valor” honoring America’s veterans. By all accounts, the concert was a huge success. But these huge events also generate huge amounts of trash. Who cleans it up? Your colleagues. In addition to National Park Service employees responsible for the Mall itself, 34 staff from the Office of Facilities Management and Reliability volunteered to be on hand after Eminem dropped his last eff-bomb and the Boss hit the Thunder Road in order to clean up after all those happy fans.

Beginning at midnight, the Smithsonian volunteer overnight crew was issued safety gear and reflective vests and divided into four groups to scour museum grounds from 14th to 4th streets. “This is the second time we have brought in volunteers to tackle mass cleaning after large events on the mall,” said Angel Rodriguez, NMAH and NMAAHC zone manager for the Office of Facilities Management and Reliability. “Things weren’t that bad around the museum grounds, although we did run into many overflowing trash and recycling bins. We were better organized this time than on the 4th of July and were able to accomplish our tasks in about three hours. Everyone’s spirits were up and people were having fun, making jokes and talking all the way down to the finish line. Their efforts really help with morale the next day when folks come in dreading the huge undertaking that’s waiting for them.”

Posted: 17 November 2014
About the Author:

Alex di Giovanni has been editing The Torch since August 2006. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, she worked as a writer and editor for the National Geographic Society, Plexus Scientific, The Nature Conservancy, The National Foreign Language Center and St. Martin’s Press, among others. She has the best job in the world.