Monday, September 01, 2008
TRIP TO ARLINGTON AND BEYOND
Yesterday we visited Arlington National Cemetery. I have been there several times, but this time it a different feeling. This time unlike the others we went to locate and visit the grave of a specific person. The father of my sister-in-law. That give the trip a whole different feel. No longer are you just the tourist wanting the experience of visiting the Kennedy grave sights or the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. She took some flowers to the grave and we sat there for a while. I was somewhat amazed considering the size of the cemetery that there were several other groups visiting sites in the same general area.
After some time at the grave sight we did go and do a bit of the more touristy stuff by taking the Tourmobile trip around the cemetery. As part of this tour we visited the a fore mentioned Kennedy site and also the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We were therehad about 15 minutes before the changing of the guard ast the tomb and so also visited the memorials to the space shuttle Discovery and Challeger astronauts. Between the two of them was a memorial to the soldiers who gave their lives in the early 80's attemping a resucue of the Iranian hostages. We also saw the mast and anchor of the battleship The Maine as in "remember the Maine" of the War of 1812 fame.
The changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unkown Soldier is always a moving event. Not so much in what is done and how it is done, but the spirit and dedication with which this task is undertaken. These guards are not just a tourist attraction by any means. They are truly honoring the soldiers who have given their lives for their county. This tomb has been guarded 24/7 since the mid 1920's. Even when hurricane Isabel came through DC they did not take shelter though they were told they could. They continued 21 steps turn 21 seconds then start again 21 steps.......
After our tour of the cemetery we went to find some lunch, but on the way found the relativly new Air Force Memorial. We had seen it from a distance on our way to National Airport and also could see it from Chau's father's grave. It is quite impressive from a distance, but even more so up close. It is huge. And up close you really get the feel of jet plumbs soaring through the sky. It really is magnificant.
After leaving there we did find on the guards recommendation a little dinner about a mile down the road. Definat;ey one of those poverbial hole in the wall type places but the food was good and the prices were definitely right.
All in all it was a wonderful day. Even the weatrher though hot cooperated as the rain that was forcasted for the afternoon never materialized.
So much for another weekend in Washington.......