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 plantation and made our way back to the hotel for the evening. Little did I suspect how closely tied to presidential burial sites I would be in the near future.