Monday, September 7, 2009

My Summer Vacation, Part II

So here I am one month post vacation and I still have not finished these posts. As always, my life gets in the way of the fun stuff. Oh goes: (please excuse spelling, grammar and punctuation.....I just don't have the energy to edit too much!)

Our third day in DC just happend to be one of the hottest and most humid days on record. Of course this was the day we had planned to spend most of the day outside. Figures. I will say that while I hated the humidity, it still wasn't as bad as the 115 degrees we were having back home and I could have never done this type of sightseeing in that weather, so was gross but managable.

Arlington National Cemetary entrance: The house on the hill is the Robert E. Lee house. The cemetary was originally the plantation of General Robert E. Lee. His property was given up when he surrendured to Grant and the land was eventually turned into the cemetary.

We started out at Arlington National Cemetary where we bought tickets for the Tourmobile. For one fee you get a whole days worth of riding from monuments to memorials and everything in between. I highly recommend this because it's a great foot saver, especially if you're fifty and fat like me. But the best part is you get a whole lot of history while you're riding, and for me, that was worth the price of the ticket. There is a person on the tram that gives you a lot of interesting little tid bits of information as you ride to each destination. You are able to get off the tram at each stop and spend as much time as you want at each destination, then pick up the next tram when you're ready to move on. It's great. We boarded the tram in Arlington National Cemetary and it took us to all the important places. We stopped at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and watched the changing of the guard. A very impressive and moving tribute.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Weapon Inspection

Changing of the Guard

We also stopped at the graves of JFK and RFK. I have been here before but it always gets to me and there were a few tears shed. The contrast between the two grave sites is remarkable.

The Eternal Flame

JFK and Jackie's headstones

RFK gravesite

There were many small memorials to different groups around the cemetary. The following were a few that I found interesting:

Memorial to the crew of Challenger

Memorial to the crew of Columbia

Memorial to the sevicemen who lost their lives trying to resuce the Iran hostages in 1980

After our time in the cemetary we hopped on the tram and visited several of the monuments and memorials around DC. Two were new since I was in DC last: WWII and the Korean. I have to say the WWII Memorial was very impressive and really well thought out. There are so many elements and everything has a meaning. I highly recommend seeing this one. The Korean Memorial is reminiscent of the Viet Nam Memorial in that it has a granite wall but in the wall are etched pictures of soldiers. There is also a wall there with on of my favorite quotes; "Freedom is not Free". Both these memorials incorporate water and for very different but impressive results. I have to say I enjoyed both very much. We also saw the Lincoln, Washington, and Viet Nam which are always impressive and moving.

The Atlantic entrance to the memorial. On the opposite side there is a Pacific entrance. They signify the two theaters of engagement in the war

The Rainbow pool in the center of the memorial The Freedom Wall’s 4,048 Gold Stars represent the 405,399 Americans who paid the ultimate price for that ultimate victory

The Clem Kids in front of the Arizona column. The memorial columns are arranged in the order of State admission into the Union, alternating back and forth (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, etc.) around the Rainbow Pool. After listing the 48 States, the six territories that comprised the nation at the time of the war are included. The Washington Monument from the WWII Memorial

View of the White House walking from the WWII Memorial to the Washington Monument.

Korean War Memorial :

There are 19 statues which represent a squad on patrol. Drawn from each branch of the armed forces, they are dressed in full combat gear and when reflected in the pool, there appears to be 38 soldiers, representing the 38th parallel.

This says it all!

Mom, Dad and the DC daughter 24 years after our first DC trip! Oh yeah, and that's the Lincoln Memorial in the backround.

The Washington Monument looking across the reflecting pool from the Lincoln Memorial. You can see part of the Capitol peeking out from behind the monument.

So there you have the memorial/monument day of our trip. It was hot, sweaty, tiring and totally worth the blisters on my feet. I was going to do the next day in the post also but this got to be pretty lengthly so I'll save that for tomorrow. I promise. Tomorrow I'll finally get to two places we visted that were my personal favorites.

Hope you are all having a wonderful Labor Day!


  1. I think I would spend so much time at each memorial or monument. I would probably need over a week to fully see everything. Thank you so much Gerri for sharing your photos and impressions. I think a DC trip is in my future, for sure!

  2. Are a lot of those Beth's pictures? If so...she did a really good job! If did a really good job!

  3. Kelly, You could spend two weeks and still not see it all. I am still thinking about things I wished we would have done.

    Sarah, They are a combo of both. And I do think we did a good job but I'm still kicking myself for things I forgot to take. Oh well.....