Fort Lewis is a large Army post about an hour south of Seattle, WA. We have family stationed there, and visited them last week. It wasn’t our first visit, so there are some things we’ve gotten used to over time. Other things strike me as interesting every time I see them, such as this street sign in a residential area. One of the things I very much like about Fort Lewis is the abundance of trees all over the base. They are a mixture of deciduous and evergreens, and most of them have been there for a long time (so they are large).
Fort Lewis covers about 87,000 acres. It began in 1917 as Camp Lewis, a training center for soldiers going off to World War I. The original main gate, built of stone and logs, is still in place near the main gate they use today. I’ve only seen bits of the base, but it is fascinating. Many of the residential areas have houses built of brick, and even the newer houses have brick features. Was told by a former Army “brat” that the PX (post exchange or department store) is the best one on the West Coast. It certainly is large. Besides the commissary (grocery store), there are a variety of fast food places on base, and even a Starbucks (though they close at 3 pm — morning people). There is a lake, and a very interesting military museum.
Each time we visit, I make sure I know where my registration and proof of insurance is for my car (necessary to drive on base). They issue us a permit for the car, which we have to show along with our driver’s licenses each time we enter the base. Not having grown up around the military, it is interesting to see all the people in uniform. The military people are all very polite, though most of them seem to look very serious. The commissary is interesting — all the aisles are one-way, with arrows showing you whether you are supposed to go up or down them. While the obsessive-compulsive in me appreciates the organization, the rebel in me caused me to go against the flow a couple times. (Good thing I don’t go to that store often.) 🙂
One thing you can’t escape at Fort Lewis is the awareness of all the families. Am not sure what percentage of people in the Army have dependents, or what percentage of them live on base at Fort Lewis, but it is a lot. There are schools and hospitals and day cares and churches and recreation centers and all the places that go with family life. And these are just people, whose main support is someone in the Army. Some of them are happy, pleasant people, and some are jerks, just like anywhere else or in any other job.
If you would like more information about Fort Lewis, check out www.lewis.army.mil/ .