52 States in 8 Months

A small trip back to Virginia

Posted in East coast trip by Ulf on February 5, 2009

December 28th started as our first real day in Washington, DC. But you know what we did? We got up, had a quick breakfast and then left Washington on the shortest possible way:

We saw a Banana Republic, we went past the White House and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Pingu has a more detailed description of this one), saw some more statues of US soldiers and finally made it to the Arlington Memorial Bridge. This bridge has hideous sculptures at its entrance, which (if I remember correctly) the city of Rome had donated (the very right-hand side picture).

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I can understand that Rome wanted to get rid of those sculptures ;-).

Anyway, on the other side of the bridge, there is the Arlington National Cemetery. Never heard of this one? Ok, so this is how it looks like on Google Maps. In fact, this is only a tiny little section of the whole cemetery:

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This place is the hugest cemetery I’ve ever seen. There are so many dead people in this place, it’s unbelievable. Wikipedia says it’s about 290,000 buried soldiers (and their wives). That is beyond what can be counted.

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On this graveyard there are three classes of people:

  • Non-famous people,
  • famous people,
  • unknown people.

You’ve already seen some graves of non-famous people, so let’s go over to the famous ones. Here is one:

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Do you recognize the grave?

If you have no idea who was buried here, let me give you a little hint. They engraved some of his sayings in the stones nearby. They even included my favorite statement from this person:

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But this is not the most famous of his sayings. Especially Germans know another one much better which is about Bearleeners. Do you have a clue?

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This is the grave of John F. Kennedy who was shot on my birthday, just many years before. My former English teacher Richard (who also comes from Boston) told us about that day a couple of times. It was a real shock for the United States.

This is how his brother’s grave (which nobody seems to care about) looks like:

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Next on our route was the grave of some unknown people: The “Tomb of the Unknowns“. Once again, Pingu has written more about this one. There are basically four graves next to each other: One for WW1, another one for WW2, one for the Korean war and finally a grave of a soldier from the Vietnam war. In fact, the last grave is empty as they were able to identify the unknown soldier from the Vietnam war as Michael Blassie.

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After we left the cemetery we went to the Ivo Jima memorial. As Ivo Jima is a small island in the Pacific, that’s just the right name for the “Marine Corps War Memorial” which was built in 1954.

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Next to this memorial, there were some people playing disc golf. I also did this once with a fellow student called Markus. It was great fun, I should do this again once I’m back in Germany. Disc golf is basically like normal golf. You just throw a disc with your hand instead of driving off a golf ball.
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You might have wondered why the title of this blog post mentions Virginia. Well, when we crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge in the morning, we actually left the District of Columbia and Washington at the same time. That means that Arlington is already in Virginia! DC is really small!

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  1. […] such as the Kennedy graves and the Tomb of the Unknowns. You’ve read about both places on this blog before, about a month ago. The only difference was that we attended a ceremony today. Young […]


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