Solemn places to visit on Veterans Day in Washington, D.C.
A visit to Arlington National Cemetery is an absolute must when in the nation’s capital. However, the visit is not a mere sightseeing. As Americans, our lives are too intimately attached to the 200,000 men and women buried here.
Among the iconic sites located in the cemetery’s 612 rolling acres is the Tomb of the Unknowns. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day. Make sure to witness the changing of the guard every half hour from March through September and on the hour the rest of the year. Stop at the memorial to the crew of the space shuttle Challenger; the Iran Rescue Mission Memorial and Arlington House, built in 1802. For driving instructions, opening hours, and special ceremonies contact Arlington National Cemetery.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the west end of the Mall near the Lincoln Memorial: “The Wall,” as it is known, is a black, V-shaped rift in the earth, nearly 494 feet long and ranging from 8 inches tall at its outer edges to 10 feet tall at its center. The Wall was dedicated on Veterans Day, November 13, 1982. At both ends of the Wall, visitors will find books that list the inscribed names and panel numbers to help them locate an inscription. More information on the memorial HERE.
The Korean Veterans Memorial between the Lincoln Memorial and the Tidal Basin: This three-dimensional freeze-frame of troops crossing a battlefield consists of several distinct parts. The most obvious elements are larger-than-life statues representing 14 Army troops, three Marines, one Navy recruit, and on Air Force serviceman. All are heavily laden with packs and weapons and covered in ponchos, their attire suggest it is winter, an impression that is even stronger at night, when the statues are individually illuminated and seem to move.
The Iwo Jima Memorial and the Netherlands Carillon are about a 20-minute walk from Arlington National Cemetery. The US Marine Corps War Memorial is dedicated to the Marine dead of all wars. The monument is a moving rendition of the iconic image of the second flag-raising on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. The Netherlands Carillon is a gift of Dutch for their aid during and after World War II. A computer plays automated concerts on the carillon each day at noon and 6 pm. A guest artist plays a live concert on the carillon each Saturday in June, July, and August from 6 pm to 8 pm. Special holiday concerts take place on Memorial Day and Labor Day from 2 pm to 4 pm.
National World War II Memorial: The monument is dedicated to the ‘greatest generation’ – the 16 million Americans who served in uniform during World War II. Two 43-foot arches, a 17-foot pillar for each state and territory, and 4,000 gold stars honor the more than 400,000 soldiers who died in the conflict. The assemblies of white granite surround a large pool, fountains and a piazza located in a spectacular setting. The memorial is at 17th Street N.W. on the Mall, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
The names of the men and women from the District of Columbia who gave their lives in the World War I are engraved in the DC War Memorial. Built almost entirely of Vermont marble, the memorial was dedicated by President Herbert Hoover on the national observance of Armistice Day, November 11, 1931. The memorial is located slightly off of Independence Avenue.
There is no national memorial to honor those who served in World War I. In December 2014, one hundred years after the start of the war that was to end all wars, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to redress this omission. Congress authorized the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission to establish a new memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block from the White House and with a commanding view of the Capitol. Check for updates on the status of the national World War I memorial HERE.
Arlington National Cemetery, courtesy Liliane Opsomer
Tomb of the Unknowns by Jim CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Vietnam Veterans Memorial by Cherie A. Thurlby/Department of Defense [Public Domain] Korean War Memorial by Aileenw97 (Own work) – CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Iwo Jima Memorial by Sage Ross (Own work) – CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons
World War II Memorial, courtesy Renee Sklarew
DC World War I Memorial by By Tim Evanson CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons