Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Arlington Cemetery

I just returned from an incredible trip to our nation's capitol, Washington DC, with my father. I had the opportunity to visit many memorials, museums and other sights while I was there.
Our first stop was Arlington Cemetery.

It was very humbling to see the great sacrifice made by so many for freedom. Row after row of simple white head stones made me want to weep. These men and women gave everything for the things we enjoy today and so many just take it for granted.

We had the honor of being able to watch the changing of the guard at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It sent chills up my spine watching them.
According to the Museum: "Initially, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was unguarded. In 1925, a civilian watchman was assigned to protect it. Congress established a military guard to secure the Tomb in 1926, but only during normal cemetery hours. Since 1937, the U.S. Army has maintained a 24-hour guard over the Tomb. Sentinels of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment "The Old Guard," assumed these duties in 1948 and have maintained a vigil at the Tomb year-round ever since, regardless of conditions. For example, Tomb Guards remained on duty throughout September 11, 2001 and during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
The Changing of the guard ceremony begins when the Relief Commander appears on the plaza, salutes the Tomb, announces Changing of the Guard, and instructs the spectators to remain silent and standing during the change. After the inspection of the relieving Sentinel, the Relief Commander and the relieving Sentinel meet the retiring Sentinel at the center of the plaza in front of the Tomb. All three salute the Tomb and the retiring Sentinel passes on his orders to his relief who then steps into passion top begin his tour of duty. The Relief Commander and the retired Sentinel march off the plaza, ending the ceremony.
The Sentinel's walk in based on the ritual of the military's highest honor - the 21-gun salute. The Sentinel takes 21 steps, and then pauses for 21 seconds between movements. After executing a facing movement and before walking to the next point, the Sentinel executes "shoulder-arms" to place the rifle on the shoulder farthest from the Tomb. This signifies that the Sentinel stands between the tomb and any possible threat."

The mast of the USS Maine that sunk in Havana Harbor during the Cuban revolt against Spain.

The graves of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, their unnamed baby daughter, and 2 day old son, Patrick. His brothers, Robert "Bobby" Kennedy, Edward "Ted" Kennedy, and Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., are also buried at Arlington.
Only one other president is buried at Arlington: President William Howard Taft.

Daddy and me at the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

posted by Sarah

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