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    Arlington Cemetery: visit to the symbol of American patriotism

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    Joel Fulleda

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    When it comes to the Arlington Cemetery we are certainly not referring to any cemetery, but to a symbol, which in effect represents the sacred place par excellence of American patriotism. The cemetery looks like a vast and evocative expanse of white tombstones, immortalized in many American films , which extends on the opposite bank of the Potomac from Washington DC.


    • Where it is, how to reach it and useful information
    • To see
      • Kennedy's grave
      • he Marine Corps Memorial
      • Memorial Amphitheater
      • The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (La Tomba del Milite Ignoto)
    • Arlington Cemetery: What else?

    Where it is, how to reach it and useful information

    Technically we are in Virginia, but a stone's throw from the American capital. Just cross the beautiful Arlington Memorial Bridge built just behind the Lincoln Memorial to go from DC (the District of Columbia) to Arlington Hill.

    If you are tired and don't feel like walking too much after a long walk on the National Mall, or the Washington weather has put you to the test, don't be discouraged as you can use the subway. The stop is called Arlington Cemetery Metro Station and is served by the line Blue.

    You want to reach it in machine? If you cannot use public transport, Arlington Cemetery is also easily accessible by rental car. The parcheggio it is easily reached along Memorial Avenue. The operation is very simple, in fact you will have to collect a ticket at the entrance and then pay at the Welcome Center before collecting the machine. Once paid, you will have 20 minutes to exit the car park. The price is 2$ for each hour.

    THEopening hours varies according to the time of year:

    • from April to September from 8:00 to 19:00
    • from October to March from 8:00 to 17:00

    To see

    Well ... first of all, being a cemetery, it is certainly not an attraction to visit whistling. As soon as you arrive it will come spontaneously keep silence, both out of respect for those buried there, and because in its own way the endless expanse of white tombstones will not leave you indifferent. As you know, the cliché that everything in America is huge (or at least bigger) is true, and this is it military cemetery is no exception, as over 350.000 American soldiers are buried there.

    But in Arlington there are not only the white tombstones of the buried soldiers, but also a series of monuments and tombs dedicated to the great personalities of American history. Let's see which stages to favor.

    Kennedy's grave

    On the grave of one of the most beloved American presidents one burns everlasting flame, a work created by the architect John Carl Warnecke, a friend of Kennedy. Next to it rests his wife, Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis and not far away his brother Robert (whose tomb cross was stolen in 1981).

    La Kennedy's grave had a major impact on the American collective imagination. The president's funeral was in fact broadcast on television and in the years following his death millions of visitors flocked to pay homage to his funeral monument. In 1964 Kennedy's grave also inspired a postage stamp that placed the image of the eternal flame next to JFK's face.

    he Marine Corps Memorial

    Il Marine Corps Memorial, perhaps one of the most famous monuments in American history, immortalizes six soldiers planting the American flag during the battle of Iwo Jima, a battle in which 6800 men lost their lives. The monument however, it is dedicated to all Americans who fell to defend their country and was inspired by a famous photograph by Joe Rosenthal, used as a model by the architect Felix de Weldon.

    According to some, there is one hand too many on the sculpture (13 instead of 12), a rumor that has given voice to allegations and speculations probably without any foundation. If you want you can check for yourself: find the Marine Corps Memorial on Arlington Boulevard at Meade Street.

    Memorial Amphitheater

    It is the place used for the official ceremonies held inside the cemetery on Easter days for Memorial Day and Veterans Day. In the frieze that runs above the colonnade are inscribed the names of the 44 battles fought by the United States from the Revolution to the Spanish-American War of 1898. At the west entrance of the Amphitheater there is a maxim from the Odes of Horace: it is sweet and dignified to die for the homeland. Behind the stage is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

    The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (La Tomba del Milite Ignoto)

    The tomb of the The Unknown Soldier it is a must for anyone visiting the military cemetery; it is here in fact that every half an hour from April to September (every hour from October to March) the solemn ceremony of the changing of the guard. If you want to know what it is you can take a look at the video below, even if, to tell the truth, I don't recommend it. As it often happens, seeing things live is another matter entirely.

    The tomb is however worthy of a visit beyond the ceremony, since it is located at the top of a long staircase, in an excellent observation point that allows you to admire the valley, a position embellished by an elegant temple and an amphitheater in neoclassical style (yes I know ... Washington is crazy about these things!).

    Are you headed to Washington? You discover...
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    • How to get around the city
    • I National Mall
    • How to outline an itinerary based on the days available
    • The Best Time to Visit Washington
    • Where to eat in Washington

    Arlington Cemetery: What else?

    There is much more to visit at Arlington Cemetery, but talking about everything in detail would require a book! (if you are really interested you can look here). Interesting milestones that evoke important, and often tragic, moments in American history are the tomb of Edward Kennedy, the Arlington House (the neoclassical house that was the home of General Lee) and the monuments dedicated to the astronauts of the Challenger and Columbia shuttles, to the passengers of Pan Am flight 103 and to the victims of the Pentagon during 11/XNUMX.

    As already mentioned, Arlington National Cemetery is quite large, you can visit it on foot, but it can be tiring, so an alternative solution is to take the Tourmobile, a shuttle service that leaves from the visitor center at the entrance.

    As for accommodation options, you can look for where to sleep in Washington. If, on the other hand, you want to sleep right in Arlington, Virginia you can search for hotels and compare the best prices at this link.

    One last one curiosity: the land historically belonged to the Confederate general Robert E. Lee. Don't you know him? It is so famous that it gave its name to the famous one Hazzard machine to which the great Johnny Cash dedicated the following song:

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