On 612 acres of serene landscaping, the Arlington National
Cemetery was originally the land of General Robert E. Lee. His familys
mansion, the Arlington House still stands today and displays memorabilia from the Lee
family. It is also the gravesite of Pierre LEnfant, one of the original designers of
It is possible to trace the war history of America through the memorials and 250,000
soldiers buried at Arlington. Memorials include the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial and The
Tomb of the Unknowns. The Marine Corps War Memorial, known as the Iwo Jima Memorial,
depicts the raising of the American Flag on Mount Suribachi during WWII.
The Tomb of the Unknowns is where the unknown soldiers of both World Wars, Korea
and Vietnam are interred. It is guarded 24-hours a day by the Amys U.S. 3rd
Infantry. Each guard marches 21 steps and then faces the memorial for 21 seconds to
symbolize a 21-gun salute. April 1 Sept. 30 the guard is changed every half-hour in
a precise ceremony that is worth seeing. Other times of the year the guard is changed
Arlington is also the site of the Kennedy Graves. JFK is buried here under an eternal
flame. Near him are two of his children who died in infancy, wife Jacqueline
Kennedy-Onassis and brother Robert Kennedy.
Arlington is also home to the newest memorial in Washington. Just off the main
ceremonial entrance is the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. This modern
memorial has a 196-seat amphitheater and a computerized registry of anecdotes,
photos and records compiled from military women.
Visiting Arlington is a nice diversion from the city but even if you drive, touring the
grounds involves lots of walking. Wear a comfortable pair of shoes and sunscreen if you
plan on spending lots of time there.