The Kennedy's are one the most visited graves (and well-known).
President John F. Kennedy with wife Jackie Kennedy & the Eternal Flame
Around the grave site, there are some of JFK's famous quotes.
Robert Kennedy's Grave, marked by a simple white cross near his brother's grave.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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!