Friday, July 1, 2011

Freedom Is Not Free

One of the mandatory stops I had to make on my Washington, DC trip was to Arlington National Cemetery.  We saved it for Tuesday, our last day.  I didn't want to be rushed and wanted to be able to soak in the magnitude of the experience. 

I wanted Andrew to walk through our country's most famous cemetery and see with his own eyes that many, many people have given the ultimate sacrifice for his very freedom. 

Photobucket
One of the things I noted when walking on the hallowed ground was the fact that the graves included past Presidents, 5 star generals,  Astronauts, Supreme Court Justices.  As well as the unknown soldier.  The ones who fought in the trenches without the notoriety and decoration of others.  Yet here, they are all together.
It was an amazing and humbling experience. 
Photobucket
Photobucket
 
The Kennedy's are one the most visited graves (and well-known). 
President John F. Kennedy with wife Jackie Kennedy & the Eternal Flame

 
Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket
 





Around the grave site, there are some of JFK's famous quotes. 
 
Photobucket
Photobucket
 

 
Robert Kennedy's Grave, marked by a simple white cross near his brother's grave. 

Photobucket


The other MUST-SEE at Arlington is the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers  Hands down, one of the most reverent, bone-chilling sites I've ever seen. 

Photobucket


We happened to be there at the same time as a visiting foreign dignitary wanting to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.   We were lucky enough to be privy to an official Air Force Wreath Laying Ceremony.  The AF Band and Color Guard were there and played our National Anthem and also Taps. Both brought tears to my eyes.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket


Photobucket



Photobucket

Following that, we watched the Changing of the Guard.
A little history: Taken from Arlington Ceremonies
The Tomb of the Unknowns (also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in any weather by Tomb Guard sentinels. Sentinels, all volunteers, are considered to be the best of the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), headquartered at Fort Myer, Va.

Photobucket




The relief commander conducts a detailed white-glove inspection of the weapon, checking each part of the rifle once. Then, the relief commander and the relieving sentinel meet the retiring sentinel at the center of the matted path in front of the Tomb. All three salute the Unknowns who have been symbolically given the Medal of Honor. Then the relief commander orders the relieved sentinel, "Pass on your orders." The current sentinel commands, "Post and orders, remain as directed." The newly posted sentinel replies, "Orders acknowledged," and steps into position on the black mat. When the relief commander passes by, the new sentinel begins walking at a cadence of 90 steps per minute.

Photobucket



Photobucket


Photobucket


The Tomb Guard marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process. After the turn, the sentinel executes a sharp "shoulder-arms" movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors to signify that the sentinel stands between the Tomb and any possible threat. Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed -- the 21-gun salute.


Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

 
We ended the tour at Arlington House   Click the link to learn the long history of the house.  It's related to George Washington & then finally, General Robert Lee.  Upon joining the Confederate Army, Lee & his wife vacated the home only to have it land in the hands of the Union Army. 
After the Battle of Bull Run, an Union General appropriated the grounds as a burial site for Union Soldiers.  The first grave site was located in Mrs. Lee's rose garden in hopes to deter the Lee's from ever returning to their beloved home.

Photobucket
The view of Washington DC from the front steps of Arlington House

Photobucket
Although he didn't fully understand WHY he was being drug around a cemetery in the beginning, Arlington became his favorite part of the trip. 


Arlington was only one of MANY sites on our DC Tour. 
I began with it in honor of the upcoming birthday of our Nation.  
Happy Birthday America! 


15 comments:

Erin said...

Love this post!! Since we just moved to the DC area (Annapolis) I have really been craving to go see the sights. Thank you for sharing this.

I once attended the funeral of one of my husband's friends who was killed in action in Iraq. They had a 21 gun salute and I was a sobbing weepy mess. There are no words to properly thank those who have given everything for our freedom.

Shell said...

I would like to go back and see all this. I've been to DC a few times, but the last time that I went to Arlington, I think I was like 8 and didn't really get it.

By Word of Mouth Musings said...

We spend a lot of time in DC, love it there, and its the one place we could move back too.
Love the pics you took here, you really captured the whole experience!

Tonya W. said...

Freedom is definitely NOT free. What a wonderful (and by wonderful, I mean educational) place to take your son.

All those gravestones at Arlington make me so sad and proud.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous quest there. What occurred after? Thanks!

my web blog: psn code generator.exe password (beta.adityacargo.com)

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.

Look into my web site Countertop kitchen

Anonymous said...

Hello to every single one, it's truly a nice for me to visit this
website, it contains precious Information.

my web-site; seo

Anonymous said...

Fantastic goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you're just too magnificent.
I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you're stating and the way
in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart.
I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a terrific web
site.

Feel free to surf to my weblog: utilize media marketing

Anonymous said...

What's up to every body, it's my first pay a visit of this blog; this weblog carries amazing and in fact fine information designed for readers.


Feel free to surf to my homepage; Simply Green Coffee Review

Anonymous said...

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website.
I am hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts from
you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my
very own blog noww ;)

Anonymous said...

Concentrating upon the snore problems to a greater extent testament allow you number across worthful
results that you favor the most. Perfect tense agency of your personal requirements without experiencing any snoring problems in the future too is conceivable in an encompassing style in this affect as per your
increased preferences to the nitty-gritty. Getting approach to the in vogue of necessity overly
is something what you want to reckon on an additional fundament without any coordination compound issues
experient as easily. Ultimate snoring solutions excessively are uncommitted to you without whatsoever major issues that you might facial expression in the succeeding.


Stop by my blog ... how to stop snoring

Anonymous said...

Concentrating upon the snore problems to a greater extent volition rent you total crosswise worthful results that you opt the about.
Pure agency of your personal requirements without experiencing any stertor
problems in the future also is potential in an extensive fashion in this
respect as per your increased preferences
to the marrow. Getting access to the latest necessarily likewise is something what you require to count on an extra ground without whatsoever coordination compound issues experienced as comfortably.
Ultimate snoring solutions as well are uncommitted to you without whatever major
issues that you might front in the next.

Review my weblog; why do people snore

Anonymous said...

This website certainly has all the information and facts I needed concerning this subject and didn't know who to ask.

Here is my web page - revlon colorstay

Anonymous said...

I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your information. This article has really peaked my interest.
I am going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new
details about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.

Also visit my blog - ขายบ้าน

Zahra Adiba said...

This is my first time visit at here and i am in fact happy to read all at single place.
Obat Kutil Kelamin
Cara Mengobati Kutil Kelamin
Pengobatan Kutil Kelamin
Obat Menghilangkan Kutil Kelamin
Obat Kutil Kelamin Tradisional
Obat Kutil Kelamin De Nature
Obat Kutil Kelamin Herbal
Pengobatan Herbal Penyakit Kelamin
Obat Sipilis Kencing Nanah Wasir Kutil Kelamin
Ambeien Kutil Kelamin Sipilis Kencing Nanah
Sipilis Kencing Nanah Kutil Kelamin Wasir
Sipilis Apakah Menular
Apakah Sipilis Bisa Sembuh Sendiri
Apakah Sipilis Bisa Sembuh Total
Apakah Sipilis Bisa Kambuh
Sipilis Cure
Sipilis Dan Cara Penularannya
Sipilis Dan Pengobatannya
Sipilis Disebabkan Oleh Bakteri
Sipilis Dan Gonore
Sipilis Dan Hiv
Tanaman Obat Herbal
Hubungan Sipilis Dan Hiv
Obat Sipilis Herbal
Sipilis Itu Penyakit Apa Sih