I was so thankful for this tour, because the guide put life to things that just can't be found in a self-guided tour. For instance, Robert E. Lee's home is in the middle of Arlington cemetery. Why? Because during the civil war, the government would only accept property taxes from homeowners. General Lee was off fighting the war, and it wouldn't have been appropriate for Mrs. Lee to pay the taxes in the midst of the Union army. Although they had made many (rejected) attempts to pay via couriers, the house was repossessed by the Union government.
The decision was made to turn the land into a cemetery, and the man who was in charge was rather spiteful... He resented Lee for joining the Confederates, and took a little revenge by burying the first people in Mrs. Lee's rose garden. Eventually it was given back to the Lee family... But the property was already a cemetery. There are some confederates buried there, and their graves are marked by a pointed gravestone... Reportedly, because no rebel would want a Yankee to sit on his grave!
We saw many graves to note, and we were overwhelmed by the number of servicemen who have sacrificed for our country. We saw the Kennedy graves, and I realized that I know almost nothing about JFK, other than his assassination. (We are only up to WW2 in history!). I really liked this quote near his grave.
I also really liked this inspiring quote from Robert Kennedy's grave, just a few feet away from his brother's:
Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation ... It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
We also got to witness the changing of the guard and a wreath laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier. The soldier guarding the tomb strides in groups of 21, with 21 second pauses between turns. This is to represent the honor of a 21 gun salute.
As the soldier played taps during the wreath laying ceremony, I was moved to tears. I was so thankful to have grandparents make it home safely from wars, and it struck me just how special it was that Pepa was buried with taps and a 21 gun salute.
On the metro back to DC, we once again were reminded that trains run less frequently on the weekends...we camped out and watched the digital board countdown about 30 minutes until our train arrived!
We went back to Chinatown, this time to have Chinese food!
After lunch, we decided it would probably be faster to walk across downtown rather than take the metro! This gave us a good excuse to enjoy a cup of coffee as we walked (since there is no drink on the metro!!). This afternoon was the Museum of American History...
Absolutely our favorite so far!
Hannah enjoyed the exhibit with antique instruments. Sarah's favorite part was seeing the original Kermit and Dorothy's ruby slippers. If it hadn't been a little crowded, Will would have stayed and continued to be President indefinitely.
My two favorite parts were the president exhibit and the exhibit about all of the American wars. Here are Sarah and Will wrestling their belongings away from a pillaging redcoat!
We only had 2 hours, and so we only got to see one out of 3 floors! I could have stayed 2 days in there, so we are going back on Monday to continue exploring the other floors!
Tomorrow, it's church at Capitol Hill Baptist and Mt. Vernon!