Thomas Woodrow Wilson
Burial Location Visited President Grave #
Washington, D.C. June 12, 2004 8th Visited

Located in the northwest quadrant
of the capital city, the Washington
National Cathedral contains the
remains of select notables, such
as President Woodrow Wilson and
First Lady Edith Wilson.

The president's sarcophagus as seen from
within the Wilson Bay. His tenure as chief
executive was intertwined with women's
suffrage, World War I, Jim Crow Era
segregation, and failed American entry
into the League of Nations.

Here I am pictured standing
within the sanctuary beside
President Wilson's sarcophagus.
The day prior, President
Ronald Reagan's
funeral state
was held at the cathedral.

Woodrow and Edith Wilson are the only
president and first lady interred in D.C.,
and Elbridge Gerry remains the lone
vice president buried in Washington.

* Fast Facts * *

- First Lady: Ellen Louise Axson Wilson (1913-1914)
    Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (1915-1921)

  - Spouse: Ellen Louise Axson Wilson (m. 1885-1914)
Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (m. 1915-1924)

- Political Party: Democratic Party

- Term: 1913-1921

- Vice President: Thomas Riley Marshall

- Born: December 28, 1856

- Died: February 3, 1924

- Age: 67

- Cause of Death: Heart Failure

- Last Words: "The machinery is worn out. I am ready... Edith!"

 Cemetery: Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

- GPS Coordinates: 38°55'49.5"N 77°04'15.8"W

                                       *** Interesting Facts ***

* The son of a preacher, Woodrow Wilson came into this world on December 28, 1856. Born in Staunton, Virginia, the 28th president spent much of his youth farther south in Georgia and South Carolina. His father, who was a professor as well, greatly impacted Wilson's life. In spite of his son's trouble with dyslexia, he encouraged him to work hard academically, and eventually, he succeeded. Attending both Davidson College and the College of New Jersey, which was renamed Princeton University in 1896. Wilson also went to law school, but subsequently left in frail health. Nonetheless, he was able to pass the bar exam in Georgia, where he opened his own practice in 1882. Wanting more out of life, he enrolled at yet another college, Johns Hopkins University, where he was able to earn his Ph.D. He is the only president to have done so.

* Afterward, he was able to get jobs teaching at Bryn Mawr College and then Wesleyan College a few years later. In 1890, he returned to his alma mater, the College of New Jersey. This time though, he was not a student, but a teacher and an administrator. By 1902, he became the university's president and rubbed elbows with the school's dean, Andrew West, and former President Grover Cleveland, a trustee at Princeton (he later came into conflict with both, though). Wilson remained the president of Princeton University until 1910, the same year that he won the race for governor of New Jersey. This was the first time Wilson had entered a political race. In November of 1912, Wilson, who had not even been in politics for two years, was voted the president of the United States.

* Wilson came into office during peace time, and couldn't have had a more quiet first year as president. Meanwhile, tensions in Europe were rising and rising until one day, everything hit the fan. On June 28, 1914, a member of the Serbian terrorist group called the Black Hand assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. After a series of arguments between Serbia and Austria and what was known as the July Crisis, war erupted between the two countries. Due to various alliances and grudges held by nations across the globe, military forces in other countries mobilized and soon joined the conflict. Miraculously, President Wilson was able to keep the U.S. out of the war, and was even re-elected because he had done so. In due time, however, the United States was forced to enter World War I. The major justification was the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, a British ship that was carrying numerous American passengers. Germany, who was a member of the Central Powers, sunk the ship out of suspicion that the U.S. had provided Great Britain with weapons that were being stored in the liner. The United States refuted this, and after the Germans began to use unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917, America entered the war. Aligning themselves the Allied Powers, which included Great Britain, France, and Belgium, the United States fought valiantly and helped bring the First World War to an end in 1918.

* Yet another matter that defined Wilson's administration was his efforts to have the United States take part in the League of Nations, an organization created at the end of World War I that brought together many of the world's countries. Generally, the purpose of the League of Nations was to prevent future wars, something that was believed could be achieved through unity. Because of strong opposition from Washington Republicans, it seemed unlikely that the U.S. would become a member of the group. In September of 1919, trying to gain the support he needed, Wilson went across the country in an attempt to sway the public in his favor. But the trip was too much for Wilson. After a speech in Pueblo, Colorado, the president collapsed and was brought home to the capital. Within a few weeks, everything grew worse.

* On October 2, the sixty-two-year-old commander-in-chief suffered a debilitating stroke that paralyzed his entire left side and rendered him blind in one eye. Bedridden for weeks, almost no one was allowed to see the president. For the most part, Wilson's duties were taken over by his faithful wife, Edith. She controlled who the president met, which papers were important enough to require his signature, and other political matters for the rest of his second term. The public was not fully aware of what was going on inside the White House, which was all-too-common during the 20th century. Just like many Americans did not know of Franklin Roosevelt's wheelchair use until after his death, the country was largely shielded from the seriousness of Woodrow Wilson's condition. The president recovered slightly over the next year and a half, but never was the same person again. A broken man, Wilson retired to S Street in Washington in 1921.

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