GITMO At the National Cathedral

So I visited D.C.’s National Cathedral this weekend–I’ll have more pictures later in the week. But on the way to the downstairs bathrooms I noticed this:

National cathedral

Wasn’t quite sure what to make of this, but apparently it hails from a more innocent time (if the constant threat of nuclear annihilation can be considered innocent):

It means Guantanamo Bay, as in the U.S. Navy base on the southeast corner of Cuba. In 1965, the officers and men of the naval base donated the gray, rectangular stone to the cathedral, which was then under construction. The gift was in appreciation for a visit in July 1964 from the dean of the cathedral, the Rev. Francis B. Sayre Jr.

Sayre served as a Navy chaplain during World War II so he might have had a soft spot for sailors and Marines serving far from home. Of course, back then, Guantanamo Bay didn’t have the unfortunate associations it does now, and those five letters wouldn’t have seemed quite so jarring in that sacred setting.

Time was Gitmo was synonymous with service, not torture.


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