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The Marine Barracks, Washington, D.C., asked two things of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities: no Party Animals on its side of 8th Street SE, and no animals anywhere adorned with Marine designs or logos. “We wanted to preclude the perception of political endorsement or party affiliation by the Marine Corps,” says Capt. Fred Catchpole, the Barracks’ public-affairs officer.
Nonetheless, a sky-blue elephant appeared this spring at 8th and G Streets, on the edge of the Marines’ compound. It was decorated with a soldier parachuting from an airplane, and its name was Hooah, after the all-purpose military exclamation. The Marines immediately objected, and Hooah was swiftly redeployed to the British Embassy. “We were sorry to lose it,” says Linda Gallagher, president of the board of directors for Barracks Row Main Street, an organization working to revive the 8th Street corridor. “It helps to promote the street.”
“Choosing these political symbols does have implications, but some institutions don’t know how to lighten up,” Gallagher says. “The military would be one of those institutions.” —Sarah Godfrey
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