In late July of 2003, my family and I headed down to Washington D.C. for some fun and relaxation. We saw most of the major memorials, went to the Museum of American History, and took a thrilling tour of the U. S. Capitol. Our family even took a trip to the zoo! However, no trip to D.C. is complete without taking a stroll in Arlington Cemetery. So, we proceeded to hop the border from D.C. to Virginia and made our way over to the visitors center to grab a map. We quickly found one of the cemetery’s biggest attractions, the grave of President Kennedy. When we reached his grave, everyone became silent. There were about a dozen other people there as well, and everyone did the same thing. Everyone was staring at the eternal flame that makes Arlington so famous, wondering how someone could destroy a man who brought the nation so much hope. We gazed a few moments longer, and moved on to the president’s brother, Robert. About twenty minutes later, we took a tour of General Lee’s majestic home on top of a nearby hill. The tour finished just in time to make it over to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witness the changing of the guard.
Soon after, we left the military cemetery (camera-less of course), not realizing that President Taft was in the same cemetery. Maybe we should have actually read the map.
One of the last things we did on our trip was travel to President
Washington’s beloved Virginia home, Mount Vernon. I very rarely care about
scenery and nature, but I must admit that Mount Vernon has a beautiful view of
the Potomac River. It was unbelievable that George Washington had the luck of
living so close to such a wonderful site. It wasn’t long after touring the incredibly
large house that I found myself on the river itself, taking a very long, boring ferry
ride. That’s not what I cared about. I wanted to see what huge, glorious grave
America’s most famous resident was interred in. After coming across and being
fooled by the old family vault, I then saw President Washington’s final resting
place. Apparently, Washington wanted it to be a modest tomb, and fairly modest
it was. There was nothing super unique about Washington’s tomb, and I was
slightly disappointed. However, when I turned around, I noticed something my
parents had brought: a camera!
After taking a couple of photos, we left the 18th century farm and made our
way back to the hotel for the evening. I still thought little of presidential graves,
and figured it would stay that way. Or at least I did until the next February...