D.C. Day 3 – Arlington National Cemetery & Memory Lane & Night Time Tour

On Day 3 we drove the RV to Arlington National Cemetery. It was nice to take a break from the public transportation and Arlington had lots of oversized vehicle parking. πŸ‘πŸ»

We strolled the grounds and talked to the kids about the price of freedom, military history, differing views on war, and most importantly the hope of resurrection and the gift of eternal life and how we as Christians view physical death.

We saw the Kennedy graves, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Arlington House.

I didn’t realize all the history of the Arlington House and this land! Walking around the inside of Arlington House we learned: This estate was George Washington Parke Custis’s who was the adopted grandson of George Washington. This land was to be a memorial for George Washington, who he idolized. Upon his death, Custis left the estate to his daughter Mary who married Robert E Lee (did you know Lee married Washington’s adopted great granddaughter?) . The Lees made a very difficult choice and abandoned the estate at the start of the Civil War. There’s a good museum on the property solely about Lee and I think it did a good job showing his successes and failures and how he wrestled through his decision to never betray or bear arms against his beloved state of Virginia.

Some sections in the cemetery were once where Freedman’s village was established for freed and escaped slaves starting in 1864. The park service is in the process of making more displays and exhibits about the estate slaves and freedman’s village. So this land has a lot of history before it became the national cemetery.

It really was astounding to the girls how many graves there were, how hard they work to take care of the property, and how much care goes into a military escorting funerals. There are still many, many funerals held every day and then between 6 and 8 funerals every Saturday. There’s a really good National Geographic documentary on Arlington that we watched on our night time tour that we all got a lot out of (https://www.amazon.com/Arlington-Field-Honor-John-Bredar/dp/B0007QS31U)

The changing of the guards at the Tomb was as mesmerizing as I remember. These guards look as young as babies to me though 🀭😲. It’s such a sacred duty and they are truly amazing – and they are so young! 😁

Being in DC and Arlington had us thinking of so many family members – particular our Dads and Grandfathers. But on this day my mom and my Grandma Evelyn and PopPop were on my mind so much. So after Arlington we headed for a trip down memory lane…

Tourist tip: If you’re reading this in the year 2023 and are thinking of driving your RV to Arlington, do not take the parkway that goes west out of Arlington around DC! They are doing construction and it was a super tight road with concrete barriers on each side. I could barely watch B navigate that for 10 miles. 🫣

Finally we got to Parker Avenue πŸ₯²πŸ₯²πŸ₯² and I got to show the kids and B a most special place from my childhood. My great – grandfather designed and built this sweet house with his own hands – for my Grandma Evelyn and PopPop in 1951. This is the house my mom was born into and grew up in. My grandma Evelyn lived here until I was 12.

I have so many memories here. I still remember every detail of how it used to look inside, out front with the huge trees (now gone) and bushes, and that amazing garden out back. My grandparents were master gardeners and it was truly amazing what they were able to grow. This was the best built house: Built-in bookshelves and closets and window seats and little accesses to the attic in the attic to store your suitcases and off winter clothes. Screen porch on the side. Huge cellar and canning area. I wish they still made houses like this. I had to work hard to not idolize the past and long for simpler more quality days.

It’s so funny what the mind keeps as memories. At the end of the road you can take a little path to a community park and I wanted to see if the big scary sewer grate was still there and yeap – it’s only cosmetically changed a little but its still there.

I still remember the feeling of skipping faster when I saw that because I was afraid of falling into it and excited because getting to the end of the road means we were getting so close to the park!!! And then look at this park! I was cheesing SO big to see they still had the carousel and train! So grateful the kids humored me and loved this with me πŸ₯²πŸ₯²πŸ₯².

This was such an amazing place for my mom to grow up and then for us to visit . It’s changed SO much and now there’s a metro station right there in her town. Soo different. But I could still picture what this must have been like for my mom to grow up here and my grandparents to live here and take Georgia Avenue to work in DC each day.

I also saw the building right near the White House that used to be Garfinkels where my PopPop managed the fur storage for the White House residents and Washington’s finest. I couldn’t find the National Bureau of Standards where grandma worked but I will research that for next time.

With my heart full and memories flooding through – we headed back to the RV park to rest and have dinner before our night time tour.

The hop on and off night tour started by taking us through the Capitol Hill neighborhood. It was such a nice area of the city. Way wealthier and cleaner and more trees and beauty than what we’ve been seeing as we drove from the north.

Isn’t Union Station gorgeous??

The White House was great to see even though we don’t approve of its residents or their corrupt, drug -carrying, think they’re above all laws, immoral relations. SMH!

We moved on to the Jefferson Memorial, FDR memorial (the only that also has a statue to honor the First Lady) and MLK Jr where we saw Marine One pass us:

Then we went to the Korean and Vietnam Memorials. We made sure to stop here for a picture of the statue honoring our Peapa and all the Vietnam soldiers who survived and were able to come home:

Hanging at the Lincoln Memorial and reflecting pool at night was a fave memory – minus the rat that crossed our path haha. (Construction was being done at this memorial too!):

Finally, we ended the night at the WW2 memorial. We really loved this tour and we were grateful to take the bus at night and not have to deal with the metro night time crowd. 😁

It was another FULL, educational, and happy day together!!! πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ’•

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