The days are flying by so fast here in D.C. I just can’t get enough of it. Yesterday afternoon Karlee and I hopped on the Metro and headed to the Arlington Cemetery.
You get a sense of peace as you walk through the Arlington Cemetery. It’s such a quite and beautiful cemetery. I feel honored to be among the men and women who have served our country. The cemetery, formed during the American Civil War on June 15, 1864, is full of so much history. It holds the history of the servicemen, slaves, and the civil war with over 250,000 (correct me if I’m wrong) grave sites throughout the 624 acre cemetery.
Karlee and I started at the visitor center and made our way up to the Tomb of the Unknown soldier. There are a lot of signs that help guide you through the cemetery. If you don’t want to get lost like we did, I recommend taking a walking tour or bus tour.
If you do plan on going to the Arlington National Cemetery, I recommend dedicating an entire day to it. There is so much to see learn, and witness. I wish I would have read up on it more before going because now I want to go back to see some things I researched. We walked around for five hours and I still didn’t get to see it all.
One of the most memorable events of the day was watching the Guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier swap. Everyone is to remain silent and stay standing. You couldn’t hear a pin drop it was so quiet. These men are more than inspiring, dedicated, and passionate about what they do. Those are all understatements. They are heroes and I felt honored to even be in their presence.
The tomb of the unknown soldier is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a week. During storms, hot heat, and snow…the guards still stand. They swap positions every 3o minutes and live a very strict lifestyle dedicated to the tomb. They must meet certain height and measurement requirements, they live under the tomb for two years, and spend their off time studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. They even spend 5 hours a day preparing their uniforms for duty. They must live an alcohol free life until death and honor the wreath pin.
Next to the Tomb of the Unknown soldier is the Memorial Amphitheater and it looks like something you’d see in Greece.
This is where they hold services and ceremonies.
Memorials Day, Easter, and Veterans Day bring in about 5,000 visitors for the official ceremonies.
The landscape is also very breathtaking. There are trees there that I’ve never seen in my life. A lot of the trees have been there longer than the gravesite. It’s majestic.
This is the view from the bottom of the Tomb of he Unknown Soldier and Memorial Amphitheater.
Karlee and I noticed a lot of infant graves. I read up on the graves and most of the infants died of accidents and disease. They all had military parents. Most of the gravestones were between the years 1947-1953, when the flu was an epidemic.
We saw an army burial service ending about two acres over and watched the army helicopters take off. On a normal weekday, there are about 25-30 burial services a day.
We walked up to the Custis-Lee Mansion. There is so much history on the house and the ownership that I would overflow this blogpost with if I added it all. The house was originally supposed to be a memorial to George Washington. It was build by his first adopted grandson.
Mary Anna Custis-Lee was given the house to live in for the rest of her life which was stated in her father’s will.
This was the view from the outside of their home.
There is a guided tour of the the inside of the house as well.
I’m excited to visit the Arlington Cemetery again because I missed so much and want to take it all in before I leave D.C.