Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Eternal Flame

On this last trip to DC, I found myself with almost an entire free day. On almost every trip, someone will ask me 'what did you do fun and interesting this time?'. My answer is always the same: 'worked and hotel'. There just isn't a lot of time built-in to see the sites.

It is not like I haven't been to DC multiple times. And it is not like there are tons of attractions to take in after the work-day is complete. But until I took this job, almost, if not every trip, I would make the trek out to Arlington National Cemetery.

Morbid? I do not actually think so. I find it to possibly be the most serene place in the capital. And even though I have this love/hate thing with tradition and ceremony, it definitely appeals to my OCD. The changing of the guard with their precision and the 21 steps and 21 second pauses still captivate me. I cannot say there is ever anything really new to see there, but the place always has a calming effect for me. If you're ever there and happen upon an honor guard funeral, it still is quite something to see. The horses, the caisson, the 21 gun salute, Taps and the folding of the flag - again, all steeped in tradition.

For as many times as I've been, I have never been the only visitor at Kennedy's grave site. It was only odd in that there is always someone there. Not this time. It was between the hour so it's not like everyone was at the Tomb of the Unknown....or at that hideous memorial to the Challenger (seriously, what were they thinking?).

But for all the hoopla the JFK site gets, it is almost easy to overlook, just to stage right, his brother Robert's burial site. You could say it was slightly more understated.

The uniformity of the grounds is amazing. Not just the amount of space, but how they utilize it, its history (if the PBS special on Arlington ever comes on - you should really watch it) and the view is something to be seen and admired.

Anyhoo....if or when you ever get to DC, I recommend the visit. Take the TourMobile if you must, but I think walking the grounds is a better and more highly therapeutic way to see the grounds.

Song by: the Bangles

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