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Everywhere around the Cemetery you will see posted signs reminding you that this is a cemetery and you are expected to conduct yourself respectfully.
When you are witnessing the Changing of the Guard, the commander addresses the crowd asking for silence and due respect during the ceremony. You are also reminded not to put any part of your body in front of the railing.
If this request is not respected the sentinel will turn to the crowd. His voice will be loud and not pleased. He will say something like "it is requested that silence be observed" and go back to walking his post. But it is done swiftly and certainly. They expect that their request will be honored.
I have never seen sentinel's request be ignored in the times I've visited the Cemetery. I would imagine that continued problems would cause a uniformed staff member to come and ask you to escort you away. They take these things very seriously, don't even think of messing with them!
Updated May 8, 2013
Headquarters of the Department of Defense, the Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings. It is twice the size of the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, and has three times the floor space of the Empire State Building in New York. The National Capitol could fit into any one of the five wedge-shaped sections. There are very few people throughout the United States who do not have some knowledge of the Pentagon. Many have followed news stories emanating from the defense establishment housed in this building. However, relatively few people have had the opportunity to visit.
The Pentagon is virtually a city in itself. Approximately 23,000 employees, both military and civilian, contribute to the planning and execution of the defense of the USA. These people arrive daily from Washington, D.C. and its suburbs over approximately 30 miles of access highways, including express bus lanes and one of the newest subway systems in our country. They ride past 200 acres of lawn to park approximately 8,770 cars in 16 parking lots; climb 131 stairways or ride 19 escalators to reach offices that occupy 3,705,793 square feet. While in the building, they tell time by 4,200 clocks, drink from 691 water fountains, utilize 284 rest rooms, consume 4,500 cups of coffee, 1,700 pints of milk and 6,800 soft drinks prepared or served by a restaurant staff of 230 persons and dispensed in 1 dining room, 2 cafeterias, 6 snack bars, and an outdoor snack bar. The restaurant service is a privately run civilian operation under contract to the Pentagon.
So there you have some facts about the Pentagon. I didn't actually get there because I wasn't able to figure out the tours, I beleive there were none at the time of my visit, someone recommended I could still visit and explore the grounds. I would encourage you to check out the tours ahead of time on their web site.
Updated Mar 24, 2007
No, you won't get e-Coli or anything like that if you do drink it, but if you are tempted by all that water and the ice bucket, don't mess with it. See, hotels like the Sheraton lay stuff like that out for you and some don't have a sign up warning of the price and they charge treble what you pay for similar bottled water at the nearest Wal-Mart. So, beware, they'll thoroughly pluck you if you fall for their little game.
Updated Jul 2, 2006
This is not unique to just Arlington, Alexandria, and the close-in suburbs. No matter how hard the highway department tries to build roads to accommodate newcomers, the roads almost straightaway become obsolete. This is true from Leesburg (Loudoun County) to Stafford County. Traffic was bad when I attended university near here 1987-1991, but, if anything, it's got worse. Even going a compatatively short distance, it's best to plan on double or treble the amount of time you think it would take under normal circumstances. Because I was caught up in this traffic jam, I missed my train (the last one) home. We basically were stopped or were moving at a Matchbox car's pace from Sully Road (Route 28 near Dulles) to Seven Corners at the Arlington County line (some of y'all might remember that's where the D.C. area sniper fatally struck in 2002).
Updated Jul 2, 2006
We took many different cabs from different companies and didn't have a big problem until the "sexy oriental taxi cab lady driver" drove us back to the airport. For all the cab drives we took, there were usually 3 of us and we were only ever charged one charge just say $10 to get from point A to point B even though there were three of us in the car. Well, upon leaving Arlington and heading to the airport we were picked up by this oriental taxi cab lady driver and she drove us to the airport flirting with my dad and his friend the whole way there. My dad and his friend were dropped off together at their airlines and she took me up a little further to drop me off at mine. She started mentioning that the ride would be $9 each. I said "that is not what you said from the beginning, nor is that what we have been charged (per person) the entire time we've been in D.C." When I got out of the cab she could see I was a bit aggrivated and I knew she was trying to rip me off, so she says "Oh don't be mad, be happy, I will let you only pay $18", I just said "Whatever lady" and gave her the money as I did not want to make a scene and did not care to deal with the woman anymore.
Just a word to the wise, when you get in the taxi, ask them what they charge and if it is PER PERSON or just for the ride itself.
Updated Jan 15, 2006
There was ban on jogging in huge, green space of the Arlington National Cemetery. Hmm... I saw some folks jogging along side street at Crystal City. Not the best area...
BICYCLE AT THE ARLINGTON CEMETERY
As for riding a bicycle, I saw a sign (no riding bicycle) at the entry to the cemetery from Memorial Drive. So, I was surprised when I notice someone riding a bicycle far from me at the cemetery. I got to know that bicyclists can only enter the Cemetery from Fort Meyer and must go through security check there. More: they are allowed to ride only specially designated for them route. And keep in mind that you must wear a helmet and have a picture ID to ride a bicycle in Arlington county!
Updated Feb 13, 2005
Phone: +1 (703) 607-8000
There is ban on smoking:
- in fenced, huge area of the Arlington National Cemetery,
- in all metro stations including those located outdoors,
- in all restaurants, I visited,
- inside all hotels I stayed except in designated areas (smoking rooms available in limited number)
- generally inside all public building unless otherwise stated.
It's not a paradise for smoking folks like me although I can easily understand it and not so easily follow the ban. At Arlington National Cemetery (a few hours needed) it was not that simple. Well, thanks to the ban I could talk to the other smokers, for example to one young lady in front of Jaleo restaurant. She had never talked to anyone from Poland before :-).
Updated Feb 13, 2005
This information on rates, on the picture, was hung on the door of my room in Days Inn Arlington motel. Do NOT take it seriously. It announced that our room for two cost $125 whereas I paid $82.69.
Did they put maximum prices allowed for this category of accommodation? I don't know, but I noticed similarily high prices announced in similar way in some other motels as well, and in some other countries, I visited, too.
From my friend Kristi (Dabs) from Chicago, Illinois:
American hotels (and probably other countries as well) have something called a rack rate which is what you saw posted on the door. It's very rare that anyone actually pays this rate although I suppose it's possible if it was a very busy time of the year.
Why do they do this? Not exactly sure but likely so that a) people think they are getting a great deal when they pay less than that or b) so they can charge that rate when demand is high.
Thank you Kristi.
Updated Feb 12, 2005
Phone: +1 (703) 525-0300
I enjoyed great views over Washington, DC from the top of Sheraton National hotel during two partly sunny, partly cloudy days in Arlington, in the middle of October.
I did expect great views from the hills of the Arlington National Cemetery which is closer to Washington, DC than the Sheraton hotel. Hmm... I was a little bit dissapointed at this matter. Morning, or better to say before midday fog covered Washington, DC. Well, my pictures were somewhat more secret that day :-). Follow the link below to check weather (10-day forecast) for Arlington.
Updated Feb 10, 2005
The Arlington National Cemetery is partly located on quiet steep hills. There are outstanding views over the Potomac River and Washington, DC from the top and the hillsides.
While walking down and amazing the views watch your steps not to fall down, especially when your path is wet/icy. The asphalted paths have stairs down from time to time. Well, these stairs on my pictures were very well signed. They were located at most popular itinerary to/from gravesites of Kennedy family. But keep in mind that more off the beaten path stairs are not so well signed.
Well, the emergency health services are of high quality but... very expensive. I bought quite good (= expensive) health insurance for any emergencies in the USA.
Written Feb 10, 2005
Phone: +1 (703) 607-8000
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