This article appeared in the JD Tower Issue of the Bull Sheet, April 1992
A Final Tribute
The Locking of the Tower
The honor of closing JD Tower had been bestowed to me. At 2300 hours on March 5, 1992, my tour of duty ended, and all positions at the tower were therewith abolished.
A brief ceremony was arranged, and about 20 people assembled to witness the event.
- Donald Breakiron, who retired as an operator at JD in 1983
- Bob Uhland, who was an operator at JD in the mid-1980s
- Mark Nieting, a Lutheran clergyman from Hyattsville, who accepted an invitation to offer a prayer
- Mario Hendricks, who rendered drum-roll honors
The ceremony was delayed several minutes to avoid a conflict with passing trains. Then, after a call to the train dispatcher in Jacksonville, the ceremony began.
It opened with a 10-second drum-roll.
I then greeted the guests, who were assembled on the ground below, from the top landing.
Mark Nieting then offered a prayer.
I then read a portion from my last entry in the tower's logbook.
This was followed by a four-minute interlude with the door open to allow the untold number of past operators who were there in spirit to leave. (This was accompanied by a musical recording of the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticanna by Pietro Mascagni.)
This was followed by a sounding of the tower horn, a short and two longs.
There was then another 10-second drum-roll.
Then, Mark Nieting, Bob Uhland and Donald Breakiron left the tower.
Finally, alone in the tower, I adjusted the lights and curtain, walked out onto the landing, closed and locked the door, and descended the steps. It was all over.
The ceremony lasted about 10 minutes.
Photo above - Guests assembled outside stand by during the symbolic departure of past operators who were there is spirit. [Photo by John Sery]
Photo above - The locking of the door. [Photo by Vince Cipriani]