A visit to Arlington Cemetery is on the tour list for most every visitor to Washington DC. Everyone knows that they want to see the Changing of the Guard and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but most people don’t really understand the powerful feelings that this visit brings until you actually walk through the massive Cemetery. If you are planning a visit to Washington DC, here are some things to know about Arlington National Cemetery to help you plan your visit.
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Things to Know about Arlington Cemetery
The Cemetery is Massive!
Arlington National Cemetery is a large cemetery and is situated on a hill. This means that to get to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and John F Kennedy’s grave, you will have quite a walk. So wear proper shoes and take some water if you go during the summer months.
It’s best to take a look at a map of the cemetery before you begin your walk so you will know where to go.
Arlington National Cemetery is a United States military cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., in whose 624 acres the dead of the nation’s conflicts have been buried, beginning with the Civil War, as well as reinterred dead from earlier wars.
The Changing of the Guard
During peak tourist season the Changing of the Guard occurs on every half hour. It will take you about 30 minutes to walk to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and there is typically quite a crowd that gathers to observe this somber act of patriotism. Allow yourself time to hike to the top of the hill and then be prepared to wait a few minutes.
It is a surreal experience as you stand in the crowd and watch the solitary soldier pace back and forth in guard of this symbolic tomb. You can look across the city and see the Pentagon from the vantage point of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of watching the guards change, hearing Taps being played or watching the wreath ceremony to stir you to patriotism and make you proud to be an American. When you think of the responsiblity that our military take on themselves every day in their fight to defend and protect our great nation, you find this ceremony to be especially moving.
John F Kennedy’s Grave
Another highlight of a visit to Arlington Cemetery is the opportunity to pay respects to President John F Kennedy and see the eternal flame that marks his gravesite.
Other Highlights of Arlington Cemetery
We love exposing our children to the heroes of our American history and just recently took a trip to visit the homeplace of Sgt. Alvin C. York in Tennessee. As the most decorated soldier in World War I, that was an important place to visit.
But on our trip to Arlington, we took the time to visit the gravesite of the most decorated soldier from World War II, Audie Murphy. You may have seen the movie of his life or read his book “To Hell and Back”. If not, this is something that should be seen and read by every American.
Find Arlington Cemetary
Arlington National Cemetery is located across the Memorial Bridge from Washington, D.C., on the Virginia side of the Potomac River.
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, VA 22211
Heading to Washington DC so you can enjoy a visit to Arlington Cemetery? Make sure you check out how much your trip is going to cost!