the travel geek

"Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form."

Arlington Cemetery, Part 1

This is a harder post to write than all the others because our trip to the Arlington Cemetery was more than a “here’s JFK’s grave” and “here’s the tomb of the unknown soldier” kind of ordeal.

I wanted to see the Arlington Cemetery because it is something that you hear so much about in the news and in history books. The cemetery is the place where Americans bury their war dead; and, it’s also the place where many pivotal characters in American history were buried.

Our trip started out simple enough: take the train to the Arlington Cemetery stop, get out and walk to the memorial gate, follow the signs to JFK’s grave and continue following the signs.

I remember at some point along the way saying to Katherine: “Oh look. It’s a horse and buggy.” Then a long silence because I immediately realized that I was looking at a caisson carrying one of the American soldiers brought back from Iraq. This was further confirmed as we walked past Mary Harlan Lincoln’s grave and heard the military rifle salute.

(Note: After a bit of research later I found out that we briefly witnessed the burial of Michael A. Jordan who was killed in Bahrain and not Iraq.)

After this we quickly went to see JFK’s grave and then went no further. I didn’t feel like I wanted to stick around much longer because now instead of looking at history I felt as though we were intruding upon the grief of a family and other soldiers who were there for the funeral. That and the constant sea of little white stones and their lack of individuality was overwhelming; like they were symbols of so many lost lives and lost history.

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