Clowns Storm Pentagon

When you think of "Bring Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day," somehow the Pentagon doesn't come to mind. But think again. As one of the world's largest office buildings, the Pentagon teemed with children today as military parents brought their children to the office.

True, it's a different kind of workplace, full of secrets and acronyms, but it's still a cool place for a kid to visit.

The day's events had the Pentagon's full backing and military parents were encouraged to bring their kids to work today. The top brass even brought in the circus.

A small troupe of entertainers from Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey was brought in to entertain the kids at the Pentagon's courtyard for an afternoon performance. Ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson served as master of ceremonies as acrobat Liliu and the clowns delighted the crowd.

Apparently having already mastered military succinctness, 5-year-old Alannah Johnson got to the point when asked what she liked most about the show.

"The clowns. That's it," she said.

Her father, Marine Lt. Col. T.V. Johnson, beamed with pride as he spoke about his daughter's first visit to his Pentagon office, where he works for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"It's kind of neat she can see where I work," he said.

It was hard to tell who was more excited to be at the Pentagon, the clowns or the kids.

Professional clown Christine Dueña couldn't hide her glee at being inside the Pentagon.

"How can you beat this! I get to be a clown at the Pentagon," she said. "My dad was career military. He's so jealous."

After the performance, Dueña gushed when she recalled her reaction when told what her assignment would be today.

"I'm going to be a clown at the Pentagon. Are you for real?" she said.

Dueña and her fellow clown Martha Fournier exchanged high-fives as they shouted, "This is so cool."

Air Force Maj. John Emig and his two children, Sarah, 10, and Nicholas, 8, arrived a bit late for the courtyard show but later got their own personal clown show in the Pentagon Briefing Room. They stopped by the room where Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld holds his news briefings, where they were treated to jokes and gags from the visiting clown troupe.

Dueña and Fournier relished pretending to be journalists as visiting children stood behind Rumsfeld's podium.

Later, the Emig kids went to check out their dad's new office in the Air Force Operations Office. Pentagon families definitely had a different experience on " Bring Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day."

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