Where it all ends

June 13, 2007 at 10:46 am | Posted in Over There, Sightseeing | Leave a comment

Many of highly decorated US soldiers find their last home on Arlington cemetery being one of the most frequented touristy places in the DC area. The cemetery already holds graves of 260,000 soldiers increasing steadily by around 20 dead bodies every week. Even the day I visited there were several funerals. If you want to have a look at all the monuments and memorials on the cemetery, you should take into account walking about ten kilometers. Alternatively, you can use one of the Tourmobiles, buses with costs. I preferred to walk and enjoy the sunny day.

Don’t forget to stop by at the Visitors Center to pick up a cemetery map. I made this mistake and wasn’t pleased accidentally getting lost on the wide areal. Located beside the Visitors Center you’ll find a building honoring the women serving in the American army since 1776. Inside you’ll find an exhibition showing the history, uniforms and equipment of female military staff as well as hundreds of pictures of dead American soldiers. Walk up the hills to find the gravesite of John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert F. Kennedy. A bit of a hike is needed to climb up to the Arlington House and the grave of city planner Pierre Charles L’Enfant. You won’t regret it. From there you have a beautiful view on Washington DC. Try to get to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers to a full hour to watch the ritual changing of the guard. I must say that the ritual looked very military but strange to me.

If you still feel in the mood of walking, you might also want to stop by the Marine Corps War Memorial also known as Iwo Jima Memorial located north to the cemetery. It shows five U.S. Marines flying the American flag on top of a mountain after fighting for superior control of the pacific island Iwo Jima in WWII. In fact the three surviving soldiers were used as propaganda tools by the US government to lift the morale of the American people to spend more money on war loans. Interested in learning more about that? Watch the movie Flag of our Fathers produced and directed by Clint Eastwood in 2006. It was nominated for two Academy Awards.

“The movie script for Flags of Our Fathers will try to show the difference between truth and myth, the meaning of being a hero, and the essence of the human experience of war.”

Map of Arlington Cemetery Women in Military Service for America Memorial Arlington Cemetery Memorial Drive Graveyard Kennedy Gravesite Arlington House View over Wasginton DC Tomb of the Unknowns Tomb Theater Graveyard View over Washington DC USMC Memorial

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