Washington D.C has available for you the ability to experience all of your emotions. Sadness is one of them. One of the must see sights is the tomb of the thirty-fifth President of the United States of America, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1961-1963. It is a fitting tribute to all mankind to see the eternal flame that his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis wanted to have displayed, patterned after the one at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Paris, France, so that we all remember this period in time.
The site itself was chosen by JFK's widow, when many thought he would be buried in Boston, Massachusetts, but she replied "He belongs to the people", so he was buried on the slope below the Arlington House. JFK made mistakes, as all leaders do, but he was always optimistic about the future. Perhaps that is why those few moments in time were called "Camelot ". It ended on November 22, 1963, in Dallas,Texas, by an assassin's bullet.
I enjoy visiting cemeteries. I find them peaceful and meaningful. On this particular day that I visited the Arlington Cemetery it was very chilly and I didn't get to experience what all the cemetery has to offer. I opted to take the warm bus tour which cost US$7.00 and we visited John F. Kennedy's final resting place and the eternal flame. We also stopped off to see the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witnessed the changing of the guards. The bus also stopped off at Robert E. Lee's home but I was too cold by then to exit the bus so I passed on that.
Other tours can be combined and paid for here at the cemetery to see the other monuments and museums.
Arlington National Cemetery has been a proud burial place of our nations heroes since 1864, late in the Civil War. There are countless soldiers, sailors and airmen buried alongside 2 Presidents, 3 Supreme Court Chief Justices, 16 Astronauts, 55 foreign nationals and 372 Medal of Honor Recipients.
According to a National Park Service handout, Arlington House was built by George Washington Park Custis from 1802 to 1818 as a museum for his step-grandfather, George Washington. Custis married Molly Lee Fitzhugh in 1804, and their only daughter eventually married Robert E. Lee. Lee lived here much of his life and considered this his home, but when the Civil War started, he left never to return. Throughout the Civil War, Union troops occupied the estate, and in 1864 it was confiscated by the government for the owner's failure to pay taxes.
In 1882 Custis Lee won a lawsuit against the government over the property, and was awarded $150,000...a hefty sum of money in those days, but not nearly covering the loss. Finally, in 1925 the mansion was proclaimed as a memorial for Robert E. Lee in recognition of his efforts to reunite the people of the country after the war. The official name of the memorial is "Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial."
A tour of the house begins at the pillared front portico with its amazing view of the cemetery and the city. As you walk through the house, you will see the family parlor, the dining room, and the "white parlor." Up the stairs and you'll see the bedrooms, including Col Lee's chamber. Back downstairs and you'll pass through the white parlor, the morning room parlor, the store room where rosewater was kept, the conservatory for gardening, and finally the office where the Lee's managed their estate. Out around the back of the house you'll reenter the north wing pantry where slaves prepared food, a bath and water closet, the school and sewing room, Mr. and Mrs. Custis' chamber, and the guest chamber. In the basement you can see the winter kitchen and the wine cellar. Also located nearby are two slave quarters.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), WWII hero and President of the United States, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery just below Arlington House. This is probably the most visited part of the cemetery as it is just a quick 10 minute walk from the parking garage and visitors center. From JFK's grave, there is a spectacular view of the city across the Potomac. With JFK are the graves of his wife and two children. Beside the JFK grave site is a solitary white cross marking the grave of his brother Robert F. Kennedy (January 3, 1965 – June 6, 1968). Both graves are located just below the Custis-Lee Mansion known as Arlington House.
The Tomb of the Unknowns is another very popular site in Arlington National Cemetery. The tomb was established in 1921, and is now the final resting place for unknown soldiers from WWI, WWII, and Korea. In the 1930s, the block of granite that marks the tomb was placed to mark the grave site. Many people just sit and watch the Tomb sentry from the 3rd US Infantry Honor Guard march smartly back and forth. These guards are here 24 hours per day, 365 days per year, no matter what the weather. What better way to honor America's heroes.
We visited the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is the most crowded location within the Arlington National Cemetery at any time during the day.
In this Tomb lie the remains of an unidentified soldier slain in World War I. Crypts at the head of the Tomb contain the remains of unknown military personnel who died in World War II and the Korean War. The Tomb is guarded by a single soldier from the 3rd US Infantry, who has to be 6 feet tall with a waist of 28 inches. He uses almost all of his day preparing his uniform and rifle for the guard and in reading. The watch is changed in a simple yet impressive ceremony every half hour from April to September.
The guard is more than formal. One must note that no one is allowed to approach the Tomb from front side. One is to enter the steps from the sides of the Memorial and stay there in total respect. We saw one woman approach the Memorial from the front side after climbing the stairs. She was asked by the Guard to immediately leave the area.
We paid a visit to this place, which in all honesty made us offer prayers at numerous locations for the fallen heroes of this great nation.
Arlington National Cemetery is located on 420 acres of land, about half of which was once part of the state of Mrs. Robert E. Lee. The land was acquired by the federal government during the Civil War for use as a burial ground for Union dead. Among the more than 60,000 American war dead buried here are soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, The Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII, the Korean War, and the War in Vietnam.
Burial in the cemetry is reserved for those who have served the military, Medal of Honor recipients, high-level government officials and their dependants. New graves are added to the rows of the markers at the rate of 75 a week.
When we were on the premises, a burial of a Navy personnel took place (see picture # 5). The guard fired in the air as a salute to the dead after the coffin was lowered in the grave. We offered our prayers for the soul departed.
We visited the World War 2 Memorial during our visited to Arlington Cemetery. It is a very impressive monument located at the Rosslyn end of the cemetery. This memorial is not located with the Korean War or Vietnam memorials which are located on the other side of the Potomac River.
This is the house of Robert E Lee who resigned from the Union Army and joined the Confederate Army. His parents lived here and it was his home at the time he joined the Confederate army.
The Union army took control of the house and land to use as a burial ground for their soldiers. This was the beginning of the Arlington Cemetery.
At the Visitors Center we took a trolley to the graves of John & Jackie Kennedy. We walked to Robert Kennedy's grave. We got on the trolley to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in time for the changing of the guard and walked to the Amphitheater.
If you visit Arlington National Cemetery, you MUST stop to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is solemn, somber, and spectacular in every way. The guard is changed every hour on the hour from Oct. 1 - March 1, and every half hour from April 1 - Sept. 30, so you will have plenty of opportunities to get in on the action. Since the guard changes so often, the crowd is usually not too bad, and it is fairly easy to get a good view of the ceremony. Visit the website I've provided below for more details about the ritual. It really is something to behold and remains my favorite site to see in DC.
Yes, Arlington National Cemetery is often packed with tourists, but I maintain that it is the most beautiful cemetery in the United States and well worth braving the crowds. You can see the grave sites of people like John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Thurgood Marshall, and Oliver Wendell Holmes, not to mention thousands upon thousands of civilians and soldiers who lost their lives in the throes of battle. Arlington National Cemetery is not a place that glorifies war, but rather a place that brings to mind the harsh reality of war -- that is, it always ends in death.
Another well known site. This is a massive area with a lot to see.
Other than the endless white tombstones, there is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, JF Kennedy & Jacky O’s burial site, Arlington House etc
Entrance is free.
During the lead up to my visit to D.C. this became an interest of mine....someone had told me about it a long time ago....and the list of some of the people that were laid to rest here over the years was pretty impressive...so I wanted to check it out...
I thought it was pretty neat to be able to visit and pay respects to the likes of the Kennedy brothers...the Challenger Shuttle Crew and Audy Murphy...and many more that I didnt make the time to see...
There is a wealth of information about Arlington available out there....I wont add to it here....suffice to say it is a beautiful place to spend eternity!
Another recommended site in DC is the Arlington National Cemetery. It's not just any cemetery, it's where we bury our soldiers, our heroes. Some of the things to see here is the burial site of JFK, the tomb of the unknown soldier, and memorial to the Challenger/Columbia disasters. To see the highlights, you need about an hour or two on foot. You can see a bit more in 3. Any more and you're paying extra for parking. It's a bit of a schlep from the DC side across the Arlington Memorial bridge from the Lincoln memorial, but a lot of tourists do it. Also near the cemetery is the Marince Corps War Memorial, aka Iwo Jima statue.
probably the most visited grave at arlington national cemetery is the grave of president john f. kennedy. kennedy was a WWII hero, a US senator, and the 35th president of the united states. on nov 22nd 1963 he was assassinated by lee harvey oswald in dallas texas. he is buried with his wife, jacqueline and two infant children.
arlington national cemetery is the final resting place for over 290,000 service members and their families from every war that has involved the nation. the plain white head stones mark the graves of privates and generals. all are considered american heroes here. a beautiful and moving place to visit when in the d.c. area.