Friday, June 8, 2012

Arlington Cemetery

It was Memorial Day Weekend when I made it to Arlington Cemetery so, needless to say, it was a busy place.  I had just spent two days in bed with a king-sized sinus infection so I thought I best drive instead of taking the Metro and perhaps infecting someone.  Besides, if I started to feel too bad I could just pull over to the side and take a nap.

When I reached the entry gates I pleaded old age (and believe me I felt really old that day) so they let me drive in.  
Once again I was stunned by the vast array of tombstones.   Acre upon acre, row upon row of plain white markers.
The land that Arlington is on was once inhabited by Native Americans.  It became farmland for a while for European settlers then it was purchased by George Washington Parke Curtis, the step-son of George Washington.  He built a home here named Arlington House and the family lived here for 30 years.  Robert E. Lee married one of the Washington grand daughters and the couple lived in Arlington house until the Civil War when Lee resigned from the US Army and joined the Confederate Army.  During the Civil War the site became a Freedman's Village, a refuge from slavery, and the first burials at Arlington were residents of this village and ex-slaves.

I encountered hundreds of motorcyclists and I thought of you, Bob Sherman.  Rolling Thunder was out in full force for the weekend, paying their tribute to the veterans of the Vietnam War.

I had a long list of grave sites I wanted to visit and JFK was one of the first. 

The view from the site is spectacular with the Washington Memorial in the distance.
Lest we forget how inspiring he could be.

Robert Kennedy, John's brother.  I saw Jacqueline Kennedy's and Ted Kennedy's graves...

 The earliest burials of soldiers came during the Civil War when many bodies could not be identified, or the families were too poor to have the bodies returned to their homes.

There are many memorials throughout the grounds...

This one is for PanAm flight 103,  the plane that was bombed, over Lockerby Scotland. 

I couldn't find out what this one was for but it was impressive.

I wondered if this was his name or a statement about his character.  I looked for, but never found, Audie Murphy, Medger Evers, William Taft, General McArthur, Virgil Gus Grissom, and Abner Doubleday. The cemetery is just too vast.

But it was good to remember those I did find.

This is the Coast Guard Memorial.

I have no idea.

Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders.

And then I pulled over under a shade tree and took a nap.  I had just dozed off when someone knocked on the window. (to be continued below....)

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