Arlington National Cemetery Tour, Washington D.C.

Arlington National Cemetery Tour (Self Guided), Washington D.C.

The largest military cemetery in the U.S., Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 veterans from the fronts of Iraq and Afghanistan, World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, the Cold War and America’s Civil War. Open 365 days a year with free admission, it is visited by more than four million people each year, and conducts between 27 and 30 funerals every weekday. Among the dignitaries buried here are Presidents John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, world champion boxer Joe Louis, the seven Space Shuttle Challenger astronauts and the Tuskegee Airmen. If you wish to tour this site and pay respect to some of America's greats, follow this self-guided walk.
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Arlington National Cemetery Tour Map

Guide Name: Arlington National Cemetery Tour
Guide Location: USA » Washington D.C. (See other walking tours in Washington D.C.)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Author: irene
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Women in Military Service for America Memorial
  • John F. Kennedy Gravesite Eternal Flame
  • Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
  • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Arlington)
  • Arlington Memorial Amphitheater
  • Pentagon Memorial
Women in Military Service for America Memorial

1) Women in Military Service for America Memorial

The Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA), or Women’s Memorial for short, is the only major national memorial established by the U.S. federal government to honor women who have served in and with the United States Armed Forces from the time of the American Revolution to the present.

The memorial is located at the western end of Memorial Avenue, at the main (ceremonial) entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, also known as the Memorial Gate. Originally called the Hemicycle, this structure was built in 1932. In 1988 the Hemicycle was approved as the site for WIMSA which was dedicated in 1997. A successful blend of Neoclassical and Modern styles, the memorial largely retained the Hemicycle itself, while adding a widely praised skylight on its terrace which incorporates not only memorials to servicewomen but also acts as a transition to the memorial below. It also houses a visitors center featuring special exhibits that change periodically.

Although women did not officially serve in the U.S. military until the 20th century, WIMSA pays tribute to all females whose devoted patriotism and bravery has become an integral part of America's national heritage, and ensures that their service to the country is never forgotten. For this goal, the on-site Education Center provides historic look at the women who have defended America throughout history including ladies in the 20th and 21st centuries who served both in and with the military in ever-expanding roles, as well as their forerunners in the earlier times of crisis. Photos of female veterans "then and now" show what they looked like while in service, as well as what they are doing today. Quite inspirational, this memorial is a symbol of gratitude from the nation.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
John F. Kennedy Gravesite Eternal Flame

2) John F. Kennedy Gravesite Eternal Flame

The grave site of John F. Kennedy (JFK), the 35th president of the United States, is probably one of, if not the, most visited place in Arlington National Cemetery. The site is marked by the Eternal Flame that was lit by the president's widow, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, and his brother, Robert Kennedy, at his funeral on November 25, 1963, three days after JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The site was designed by architect John Carl Warnecke, who was a long-time friend of JFK's, and was consecrated and opened to the public on March 15, 1967.

Kennedy’s two sons, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, as well as Jacqueline herself, are also buried in the same plot alongside the president.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

3) Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial

Arlington House, formerly known as the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival house that once served as a pre-Civil War residence of legendary Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee. Over the years, the house had been used as a plantation estate and home to 63 slaves, a military headquarters and a community for emancipated slaves, before it was taken over by the federal government in 1864 to serve as a burial site for Civil War soldiers, now known as Arlington National Cemetery. In part, this was done to ensure that Lee would never be able to return to his home again.

Set on a hill overlooking the cemetery, Arlington House had later been restored and designated as a national memorial to General Lee. Although the United States Department of the Army controls Arlington National Cemetery as such, Arlington House is administered by the National Park Service, which is a component of the United States Department of the Interior.

The Robert E. Lee Memorial is open for public tours every day. Other than the stunning views of the Potomac River and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. down below, which are absolutely stunning on a clear day, especially in April when cherry trees are in full blossom, there are many more reasons to visit this historic location at the Arlington National Cemetery. This house honors Lee for specific reasons, including his role in promoting peace and reunion after the Civil War. In a larger sense it is a place of study and contemplation of the meaning of some of the most difficult aspects of American History, such as military service, sacrifice, citizenship, duty, loyalty, slavery and freedom.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Arlington)

4) Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (Arlington)

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, otherwise called the Tomb of the Unknowns, is a tribute to all the U.S. service members who fought and fell for the United States in two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, and whose remains have never been identified.

Dedicated in 1921, the tomb represents a large white sarcophagus, containing the soldiers' remains, set on a hill overlooking Washington, DC. The World War I "Unknown" is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the Victoria Cross, and several other foreign nations' highest service awards. The U.S. Unknowns who were interred here are also recipients of the Medal of Honor, presented by U.S. Presidents who attended their funerals.

The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by Tomb Guard sentinels from the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment. The Changing of the Guard ritual is quite elaborate and somber a ceremony during which a sentinel seamlessly takes over guard duty from the previous sentinel, and it also implies a special march and salute. The ceremony is held every hour during October-March or each half-hour during April-September.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

5) Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

Memorial Amphitheater is an outdoor amphitheater, exhibit hall, and nonsectarian chapel located in Arlington National Cemetery. It replaces the older, wooden amphitheater near Arlington House, which by the early 1900s had grown far too small for the large ceremonies held there. It was designed in 1913 to be the center of a biaxial grouping of landscape features and monuments that included the USS Maine Mast Memorial in the west, the Spanish–American War Memorial to the south, and a formal Italianate garden to the east.

The cornerstone for the new amphitheater was laid on October 13, 1915 by President Woodrow Wilson. In a hollowed out section of the cornerstone was placed a copper box containing 15 items including a copy of the United States Constitution, the United States Declaration of Independence, the Bible, the United States flag, one each of every coin and postage stamp then in circulation, a Congressional directory, a telephone directory of the District of Columbia, an autographed photograph of President Wilson, and several items connected with Arlington National Cemetery.

The amphitheater is built mostly of Imperial Danby marble from Vermont and Botticino stone, imported from Italy. Dedicated on May 15, 1920, over the years it underwent several renovations, including those in 1956, 1974, 1995–1996 and 2012.

Remembrance services, such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day, are quite common here. Sponsored by the U.S. Army Military District of Washington, these services are often attended by the President or Vice President of the United States. The annual Easter sunrise service has been held in the amphitheater since 1931, and is also very popular. The very first such service was organized by the Knights Templar, a group of Freemasons, and was attended by President Herbert Hoover. Many military organizations conduct other annual memorial services in the amphitheater, attended yearly by almost 5,000 people.

Alongside memorial services, the amphitheater also hosts state funerals of prominent Americans. Among them have been the likes of General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, Secretary of Defense James Forrestal, and Antarctic explorer and Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd. The unknown member of the armed forces representing Vietnam War dead was interred here in 1984, and the unidentified remains of 30 victims of the September 11 attacks on The Pentagon were buried here in 2002. The last American veteran of World War I, lay in state in the Amphitheater Chapel in 2011.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Pentagon Memorial

6) Pentagon Memorial

The Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial commemorates the 184 lives lost on American Airlines Flight 77 and in the Pentagon building struck by al-Qaeda terrorists during the attacks on September 11, 2001.

The memorial marks a group burial site at Arlington National Cemetery and features a pentagonal granite marker 4.5 feet (1.4 m) high. On the five sides of the memorial, along the top, are inscribed the words "Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon September 11, 2001". Aluminum plaques, painted black, are inscribed with the names of the 184 victims of the terrorist attack. There are five plaques, one for each side of the marker. The names of those aboard Flight 77 are marked with a diamond in front of their name. The names of those for whom no remains could be identified are marked with a star in front of their name. A pentagonal base extends approximately 5 inches (13 cm) out and 5 inches (13 cm) down from the main body of the memorial.

The memorial covers an area of 1.93 acres (0.78 ha) and was designed by Arlington National Cemetery Superintendent John C. Metzler, Jr. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs commissioned the memorial on September 12, 2002.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

Walking Tours in Washington D.C., USA

Create Your Own Walk in Washington D.C.

Create Your Own Walk in Washington D.C.

Creating your own self-guided walk in Washington D.C. is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
DC Museums Tour

DC Museums Tour

Washington D.C. is well-known for its world-class museums. The Smithsonian Institution, the largest museum complex in the world, maintains most of the official museums in Washington, D.C. and the entrance is free of charge. Explore some the outstanding museums in D.C. by taking this self guided walking tour.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
DC Monuments and Memorials Walking Tour

DC Monuments and Memorials Walking Tour

Washington D.C. is a city of historic memorials and monuments that commemorate key chapters in American history. They are dedicated to all the noteworthy generals, politicians, statesmen and artists who played a major role in shaping the American nation. This walking tour will offer you a glimpse into the history of the U.S.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Washington D.C. Introduction Walking Tour

Washington D.C. Introduction Walking Tour

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia or simply The District, is the capital of the United States and, in many senses, America’s front yard. After the American Revolution, the need for the newly independent nation's federal government to have authority over a capital city and not rely on any state for its maintenance and safety, came in the wake of the Pennsylvania Mutiny of...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
Georgetown Walking Tour

Georgetown Walking Tour

Georgetown is an area located in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., along the Potomac River waterfront. Despite its proximity to downtown Washington, this former port has preserved its own distinct character. Many of the buildings along the tree-lined streets here are over 200 years old. Take this walking tour to reveal some of the cute secrets of this part of the U.S. capital.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Federal Buildings Walking Tour

Federal Buildings Walking Tour

Washington D.C. is a federal district and serves as the permanent capital of the United States. As such, it is filled with numerous buildings of federal importance, most of which are the nation's historic monuments too. This self-guided walk will tour you around the most vital federal buildings found in the downtown of Washington D.C.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.9 Km or 3 Miles

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