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Monday, May 14, 2012

Arlington Cemetery ~ Last but not Least ~ Day 6

Today is our last day in Washington DC and we saved Arlington Cemetery, our counties most hallowed grounds, til last.  I knew it would be a very moving day for both myself and my husband.  We took the Metro down to the Arlington Cemetery station and it was just a short walk to the cemetery  ~ however the day started with light sprinkles so we were praying that no rain would fall on us.  Not that I would melt ~ lol lol.

We arrived at the Visitor Center where I got yet another stamp for my National Passport Book bringing the total of stamps to I think 32 in the DC area.  Most ever in one place!  We found out that they had a tour (for a fee) that goes through the cemetery and stops at all the major stops there.  That was great for us because our tootsies were still a little sore from walking all the day before.

Our first stop along the way was at the Kennedy Grave site & Memorial ~ this was something I have always wanted to come to and visit since the day he was buried.  I was only 13 when  he was shot but it left a HUGE impression on me.  As I stood there looking at the grave site of JFK and his wife Jackie I was spellbound by the silence and respect that everyone there was giving as they visited.  Just seeing the Eternal Flame that Jackie had lit when he was buried made me very solemn. I remembered how I thought back then how could someone just end the life of our President.  So sad... Also buried very close by was his brothers Robert Kennedy & Senator Edward Kennedy.  Their graves marked by just a small white cross and a flat headstone.

After we got back onto the trolley we moved onto the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  This was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen.  If you can watch the changing of the guard without getting all choked up I would be surprised. It is good to know that today no soldier will ever be unidentified again.  So many young men in previous wars were never identified and buried with a no name headstone and no family to ever visit.  To me that was just a heartbreaking thing.

The changing of the Guard of the Unknown Soldiers takes place every 30 minutes ~ so we were there to witness two of the changing.  It is something to see that is for sure.... Sit back & enjoy the video.

Across the street there was the grave of Audie Murphy ~ now if you're a baby boomer you should know who he is right away.  But if you don't here is a little history lesson.

Audie Murphy became a national hero during World War II as the most decorated combat soldier of the war. Among his 33 awards was the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest award for bravery that a soldier can receive. In addition, he was also decorated for bravery by the governments of France and Belgium.  When his military career ended he was discovered by James Cagney as an actor and starred in many films most of which were westerns.  Sadly his life was cut short in a plane crash on May 18, 1971.  Murphy was aboard a private plane on his way to a business meeting when it ran into thick fog near Roanoke, VA, and crashed into the side of a mountain, killing all six aboard. He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery. According to cemetery records, the only grave site visited by more people than Murphy's is that of assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

Also there is the Arlington House ~  Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington Virginia, that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River and the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  During the American Civil War,  the grounds of the mansion were selected as the site of Arlington National Cemetery, in part to ensure that Lee would never again be able to return to his home. However, the United States has since designated the mansion as a National Memorial to Lee, a mark of widespread respect for him in both the North and South.

I heard that there are over 250,000 military buried here at Arlington Cemetery.  We passed many of them on our tour and was overwhelmed with the rows after rows of headstones.  It was immense and something every American should strive to visit.

 We have enjoyed our time in Washington DC even though there were so many other museums and places to visit that we just didn't make it to.  Our RV Park, Cherry Hill Park, was outstanding and we sure enjoyed our time at the park.  Also I would like to mention again All Dogs Club in College Park who kept our furbabies while we played around the city.  Their hours of operation where 7 am til 10 pm  & worked out great for us ~ Miss Tiffy loved them there!

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!


Akum said...

Its lost in time...

Travels with Emma said...

Washington DC is a most overwhelming place to visit. Every citizen should visit at some time in their life, and you gave it great coverage.

Sue and Doug said...

yet another great tour, Donna..thanks for sharing your day with us!..a solemn place that is for sure.

Jerry and Suzy said...

Donna, early last century I visited there also, but it was a very short visit. Suzy has never been there, so it is on our list for a few years from now,as we make our grand tour. Thanks for the show!

Jeff said...

So much history....THANKS for sharing your visit.

Unknown said...

That video was great. Thanks for sharing our history with us. I haven't made it to DC yet but it is in the plans.

Hootin' Anni said...

Oh I remember the tomb of the unknown soldier....and the changing of the guard ----it was something, all the tourists chatting away until the ceremony began. You then could've heard a pin drop during the procession!!!!

Did you get to find the Iwo Jima Memorial nearby?


Get your mamogram & check up today... Early detection saved my life....


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