5th September 2014 - President Barack Obama visited Stonehenge

President Obama visits Stonehenge 2014

On 5th September 2014 Barack Obama visited Stonehenge. The President had been at a Nato summit meeting at Celtic manor,[6] near Newport in Wales and he decided to visit Stonehenge.

Here are some of the reports:

The BBC reported that:

The White House said the presidential helicopter Marine One stopped at Boscombe Down Airbase, Wiltshire, before his motorcade drove to the ancient monument.

The president was then given a guided tour by curator Heather Sebire.

English Heritage, which manages the site, said it was "an honour" to host the president.

General manager of Stonehenge, Kate Davies, said: "His office told us the president was very interested to see the iconic monument for himself.

"Every day people from all over the world make the trip to the ancient stones but this visit was a particularly special one."

Ms Sebire said Mr Obama "was fascinated by the story of the stones, what we know about them and the mysteries that have yet to be solved". [2]

The Salisbury Journal reported:

The staff at Stonehenge had been sworn to secrecy to remain tight-lipped about the visit and only a handful of tourists that had stayed behind from the gates being closed at 3.30pm.

It was after the first alert came when locals saw the Presidential plane Airforce 1 arrive at the Boscombe Down.

Surprised tour guide Mrs Sebire remarked: “We only found out he was arriving late morning.

Mr Obama was fascinated by the story of the stones, what we know about them and the mysteries that have yet to be solved.

He asked lots of questions about how old the monument is, how long it took to build it, and what was its purpose.

He described the atmosphere around the stones as ‘really special’ and his visit to Stonehenge as ‘a highlight of my tour’”[1]

Tim Daw has captured more of Obama’s comments:

These are some special stones.

I love the moss.

There's something here, it's wonderful, it's very cool.

There's just something elemental about it.

There's something that where you got to feel like it should always be there.

But it comes out of something basic.

Yeah, I could come here every day, you know I would come here and just kind of sit, if it wasn't like a monument, I'd sit on one of these rocks and I'd just watch the sun rise. It would really cleanse your mind [3].

There is an interview with Airwave’s network operations director Martin Benke on Cable.co.uk

'The only thing that was unusual about Celtic Manor that we hadn't done before was Obama's visit to Stonehenge, that was the curve ball that came in.

'We got asked, 'can you check the coverage and provide extra capacity at a site for us?'.

'We said, 'well tell us where it is, we'll check our coverage, and we'll see if we can provide some extra capacity. 'Sorry. We can't tell you where it is - security reasons'.

'But eventually they did tell us and I think we learned probably ahead of most people that it was Obama going to Stonehenge so we could check our coverage and the capacity of the network.' [4]

A local family walked out to the monument to meet Obama. The Guardian said:

A British family have spoken of the "euphoric" moment when they bumped into US president Barack Obama, while walking through the Wiltshire countryside.

Obama had made an impromptu visit to Stonehenge, just a mile from Janice and James Raffle's home.

After hearing helicopters overhead, the couple wandered through fields with their sons to investigate. Janice Raffle took to Twitter, saying: "I can see president Obama! Any messages?"

She said later: "He waved at us and we waved back. He started talking to us and asking our names and he shook all our hands."

James Raffle added that the president seemed to be something of a worrier: "He was worried about the kids on the barbed-wire fence," he said. "He was worried about Janice because she was overrun with boys." [7]

Image

The photo is an ‘Official White House Photo’ by Pete Souza

I downloaded this picture from the ‘Obama Whitehouse’ official archive. I believe all US government photos are public domain. Wikimeida Commons typically says ‘This image is a work of an employee of the Executive Office of the President of the United States, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.’ - I’m going to take that as meaning I can use it.

The URL was: President Obama visits Stonehenge | The White House

The caption is:

President Barack Obama takes a guided tour of Stonehenge with Heather Sebire, property curator, and Matthew Barzun, U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, in Wiltshire, England, Sept. 5, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Footnotes

[1] President Obama at “cool” Stonehenge (From Salisbury Journal), URL: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/11456761.President_Obama_at_Stonehenge/

[2] Barack Obama in Stonehenge visit on return from Nato summit - BBC News

[3] www.Sarsen.org: President Obama Stonehenge Quotes - Transcript of Video

[4] https://www.cable.co.uk/news/obamas-stonehenge-visit-a-curve-ball-for-emergency-services-network-700000340/

[6] http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/nato-summit-2014-president-obama-7716267

[7] British family’s joy at meeting Barack Obama near Stonehenge | UK news | The Guardian