Across the Potomac River in Arlington, Virginia, lies Arlington National Cemetery. This 624-acre expanse of land serves as a resting place for more than 400,000 of the dead of our nation’s conflicts since the Civil War. The cemetery was established during the Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, which had been the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s wife.
While visiting Arlington is a somber experience, the cemetery grounds offer guests a sense of beauty and peace with rolling green hills, hundred-year-old trees, and memorials dotted throughout. The cemetery and memorials honor events and members from all branches of the military, as well as pay respect to their families, astronauts, nurses, chaplains, and war correspondents.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is probably Arlington’s most well-known memorial. It includes the remains of unknown service members from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment keep a 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year vigil at the Tomb, with an elaborate changing of the guard ceremony performed every hour (or half-hour from April 1 through September 30). Other notable memorials at the cemetery include the Nurses memorial, USS Maine Mast Memorial, Battle of the Bulge Memorial, Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial, and the Memorial Amphitheater.
The grounds of Arlington are easy enough to navigate, but for a more in-depth experience, tours can also be arranged. From our host hotel, the easiest way to reach Arlington is via the metro. Take the Red line to Farragut North, exit the station and walk three minutes to the Farragut West station, and take the Blue line to the Arlington Cemetery metro stop.
For more information about Arlington, including tours, visit their website here.