Arlington National Cemetery is a car ride or a subway ride from Washington DC. It is across the Potomac River from DC. A National Cemetery since 1864, its original purpose was to provide a decent burial for soldiers whose families could not afford it. Throughout the years, it has become a burial option for those who have distinguished themselves in the military.
Here is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (where the remains of a WWI casualty was buried in 1921). It is the burial place of United States Presidents John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft. Now that I’ve read the 1619 Project, I would be amiss if I did not mention: (1) it was a cemetery where graves were segregated by race until 1948; (2) it is on the grounds of a former plantation where enslaved people lived and worked; and (3) in 1900, Congress reserved a burial section for the traitors of the Confederacy. Its history is teaming with contradictions, like the USA’s history.
I prefer to think of Arlington National Cemetery as the place where fallen heroes lie, a place in memoriam to those who gave their lives for life, liberty and justice for all. I highly recommend the pilgrimage on a clear spring day via the metro system (public transit). You can walk forever along the straight rows of small gravestones.
This week’s post was prompted by the podcast series ULTRA by Rachel Maddow. I’ve fact-checked the characters and I’m flabbergasted to have heretofore missed this angle to WWII history in the USA.
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