Today we hopped on the Metro to Union Station where we booked a tour to Arlington Cemetery. We had passed it on our Double Decker Tour but didn’t stop.
Arlington Cemetery is across the Potomac River in Virginia. It’s a very sad and humbling place to visit. It’s unbelievable how many graves are there. They used to use large grave markers but now they are all the same size, shape and color. It used to be that anybody who served and their families could be buried there but they are running out of room so now, only active duty or retired soldiers having served 20 or more years can be buried here. Dependent children under the age of 21 can also be buried here. There are certain others who can be buried here as well. If you click here it shows the entire list.
One of the most famous buried here is President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy. They also have 2 newborns buried with them.
President Kennedy and William Taft are the only two presidents buried at Arlington.
Mrs. Kennedy had expressed a desire to mark the president's grave with an eternal flame similar to that of the French Unknown Soldier in Paris. The Washington Gas Company was contacted and a propane-fed torch was selected, as it could be safely lit during the funeral the following day.
President Kennedy’s brothers, Robert and Edward (Teddy) are also buried here and are the only ones to have a white cross.
From there we headed to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. There are three interred there. One from World War I, one from World War II and one from the Korean War. There used to be one from the Vietnam War. However, due to modern day technology, the one from the Vietnam war was identified from DNA and no longer is there.
We got there just as they were doing the Changing of the Guard. There is a Marine from the 3rd US Infantry maintains vigil around the clock. He paces 21 steps alongside the tomb, pauses 21 seconds, then returns. The Changing of the Guards takes place every half hour during the summer.
The inscription reads, “HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER UNKNOWN BUT TO GOD”
The USS Maine Memorial is the mast from the battleship. It honors the 260 men who were killed when the ship was sunk off Cuba in 1898.
There are also memorials for the Space Shuttle and the soldiers killed in a botched rescue attempt for the Iran hostages
Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II is buried here.
That was the major part of our day but there are SO many memorials around we had to tear ourselves away and go back to D.C.
We were going to take a rest on a bench in this park but as we walked toward the bench we noticed a bunch of soldier statues in the park. We realized we were right by the Korean War Memorial. Well, we couldn’t miss that! This has to be the most impressive memorial of all!
Next stop was the Lincoln Memorial. I was here several years ago and saw the water in the reflecting pool but it’s now empty as they are repairing the numerous leaks.
The reason I mention it here is because it goes from the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument.
Lincoln Memorial (I’m shooting right into the sun)
Gettysburg Address (click on it if you want to read it)
Several Countries have honored Lincoln with their own stamps
The making of the memorial
From there we headed down Constitution Ave in search of the memorial for the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence. We found it with no problem. Unfortunately there are LOTS of ducks here and they poop on everything. There is not much cleaning going on with this memorial and it looks like not a lot of people visit it. I had to because it’s part of my National Parks Passport and I had to get a stamp.
The most recognized signature
From there we headed to dinner. As we were leaving the restaurant we crossed the street to the Metro and noticed another Memorial. It was the Navy Memorial. How cool is that?? My dad served 20 years in the Navy so I felt I was honoring him by visiting this Memorial.
Whew, there are SO many Memorials and museums here. We’ve been here for a week and a half and have seen SO much but there is still LOTS more to see. Tomorrow we’re off to see more. Rod really wants to see the Holocaust Museum and I want to see the Bureau of Printing and Engraving and they’re right next to each other so that’s our plan.