September 18, 2016

Our Day at Arlington National Cemetery

A hush of reverence overcame us. 
We were called to pay homage and show respect as we walked 
through the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
It was an honor to visit this great place that is dedicated
to those American men and women who served our country.

Some facts:

Arlington National Cemetery was officially made a
national burial place by the War Department in 1864.

The cemetery is 624 acres in size.

Over 400,000 active duty servicemen, veterans 
and their families have been buried here.

Each weekday, 27-30 funerals are held, with 6-8 on Saturdays.

Prominent figures among those buried here:
President William Howard Taft
President John F. Kennedy
Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Senator Ted Kennedy
Medgar Evers
General John J. Pershing
General Omar N. Bradley
General George C. Marshall
Oliver Wendell Holmes
William Jennings Bryan
Audie Murphy
Abner Doubleday

We took the official narrated tour, hopping off the tram at each stop.
My photos represent only a handful of the numerous 
memorials and monuments throughout the cemetery. 

A very popular place in the cemetery are the grave sites of assassinated
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.

The eternal flame.

Burial sites of explorers Robert Peary and Matthew Henson,
who, in 1909, discovered the North Pole.
The National Air Force Memorial is seen in the background on the left.

Part of the USS Maine Memorial is the actual main mast of the battleship. 
It commemorates the lives that were lost in the explosion 
of this ship in Havana Harbor, Cuba in 1898.
"Remember the Maine" became a rallying cry in the Spanish-American War.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is especially moving to witness. 
(You can read my post on this ceremony here.)

The Nurses Memorial is a serene marble sculpture that 
looks over the graves of hundreds of military nurses.
It "commemorates the devoted service to country and 
humanity by Army, Navy and Air Force nurses."

Arlington House was built by George Washington Parke Custis
as a living memorial to his grandfather, George Washington.
Custis' daughter Mary became the wife of Robert E. Lee.
The history of how the surrounding land came to be a
national cemetery is intriguing, and one worthy of researching.

The Civil War Unknowns Memorial - In 1866, the remains of 2,111 soldiers,
both Union and Confederate, were gathered and buried at this spot.

The US Coast Guard Memorial features the motto Semper Paratus (Always Ready),
and a bronze seagull with uplifted wings to symbolize the tireless vigil of the Guard.

Memorializing the crews of the Space Shuttles
Challenger (1986) and Columbia (2003).

With sincere appreciation for your service to our country,
rest in peace, American heroes, one and all.

For more information, see the Arlington National Cemetery website.

You may be interested in these posts I've written as well:
A Solemn Visit the the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial
The US Air Force Memorial: Honoring Airmen with Reverent Patriotism

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