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3 October, 2010

Washington DC September 2010: Arlington National Cemetery

Posted in : Travel Guide for Washington - DC on by : The Gourmez

After seeing all the Tidal Basin sites and looking wistfully at the paddle boats, I headed back to the Metro, passing the Bureau of Printing and Engraving

and the Holocaust Museum on the way.

Then I took the metro out to Arlington National Cemetery, our hallowed and very picturesque, large-scale memorial to all who have served in the US armed forces.

Yep, it really does look just like that except for in the older sections close to the top of the hill and the Arlington House. The headstones are more irregular in that area, and there are also a few pillars that mimic the Washington Monument on a much, much smaller scale.

First stop while walking around? John F. Kennedy’s memorial and the eternal flame at his grave.

Bobby Kennedy and Teddy Kennedy are both buried nearby in much simpler graves, though Bobby’s also had a small memorial.

The tomb of the Unknown Civil War Dead was the next main site I reached, and it was surrounded by gorgeous flowers.

I then stumbled upon my favorite part of the cemetery, the Old Amphitheater.

Gorgeous. Next up was the Arlington House, which Robert E. Lee’s wife inherited and they lived in until federal forces claimed the estate to bury their war dead on. The building in the foreground was the slave quarters, likely for their household slaves.

The building itself was very intriguing, with an impressive entrance.

Right in front of it is the grave of Peter Charles L’Enfant, Washington DC’s city planner. Appropriately, it has a great view of the city just across the Potomoc.

The house is presently being renovated, but it’s still open to walk through, though the rooms are bare. I did get a little thrill whenever a fixture was marked as having been purchased by Lee. Being there really helped to bring home how closely tied he was to the Union, even though he eventually chose to lead the Confederacy in the war.

The next, and last, notable sights at the cemetery I made it to were the Amphitheater and the grave of the Unknown Soldier right behind it.

A soldier is stationed at the tomb twenty-four hours a day to guard and honor it. It’s impressive just to see them walk back and forth in silent, measured steps. The hourly change must be quite the sight to witness.

A few more shots of those beautiful, touching rows of graves.

After the cemetery, I met up for dinner with two high school friends in the area, Anh and Rebecca, and their significant others. I had a great pizza and cheese plate at Piola, which is an international chain that just opened a new American branch in Chapel Hill, so I didn’t take pictures to reserve my thoughts for when I review it here. I did take a picture of the view right out of the Rosslyn metro stop, though.

And thus, Day 2 in DC ended. The next day brought the Supreme Court, the Museum of the American Indian, the US Botanical Garden, Foggy Bottom, and dinner in Dupont Circle. Will it be one post or two? I know, the suspense is killing you. If you want more pictures before then, head to our photo website.

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