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Anna Marie

Why a freezing cold visit to Arlington National Cemetery is worth every minute

A woman sipping coffee outside
Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

A wind chill of sixteen degrees – that’s cold. Thank goodness the sun was popping out in fits and spurts from behind the clouds. However, complaining about the cold seemed ludicrous in the context of our location – Arlington National Cemetery.

a lady with a green suitcase

Visiting Arlington National Cemetery

The sign in front of the visitors center reminds guests to be respectful while visiting this working cemetery. With multiple funerals taking place each week, tourists are mindful of the solemnity and show respect.

We visited on a Sunday morning in February. I’m glad my son and I had the good fortune to spend some time at this historic location.

We invested the modest sum to take the trolley tour of Arlington. In addition to being a nice warm vehicle we were enthralled by the tour guide’s narration and learned facts about the cemetery and those interred we wouldn’t have on a self-guided tour.

white fluffy clouds over the graves at Arlington National Cemetery PullOverAndLetMeOut
White fluffy clouds cover the skies over Arlington
A sign at the visotors center at Arlington National Cemetery
A reminder this is a working cemetery
a small boy walking to a trolley at Arlington National Cemetery
The trolley makes multiple stops in the cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery Tour

The trolley made 3 stops. Each stop we were allotted sufficient time for exploring.

Our first stop was at the eternal flame and the Kennedy graves. My son was intrigued by the story of the flame and how Jackie Kennedy had come up with the idea to keep it burning at the gravesite of her husband, the assassinated President.

I impressed him with my knowledge of the time shortly after the President was buried when a group of Catholic school children accidentally extinguished the flame with holy water.

He utilized his reading skills to read me the inscriptions on the low marble wall near the gravesite. The Kennedy graves were a peaceful stop on our tour and I was touched by his genuine interest despite his tender age.

Grave with eternal flame for JFK at Arlington National Cemetery
The eteranal flame at the grave of President John F. Kennedy

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

white marble columns at the amphitheater at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The amphitheater at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A soldier blowing taps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A memorable moment in our visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The next stop we made was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Amphitheater made of bright white marble with its columns is impressive. The tomb itself is a sobering sight.

Although we weren’t there in time to watch the guard changing, we did get to see a wreath-laying ceremony. On such a bitterly cold day the seriousness of the ceremony was palpable. Not a sound came from the crowd of onlookers – just the wind and crisp notes from the bugler’s horn as he played taps.  Simply amazing.

White marble tomb at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Finding Graves at Arlington National Cemetery

Moving from the tomb we strolled the grounds surrounding the amphitheater and discovered the grave of Audie Murphy. I took a moment to explain to my son that Audie Murphy was one of the most decorated and famous soldiers of WWII. I also made a mental note to find the movie of his life when we got home.

Tombstone for Audie Murphy
Audie Murphy was one of the most-decorated in WWII
rows of marble head stones at Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington is the final resting place of over 400, 000 men and women.
PullOver Pro Tip picture

Looking for a specific grave of a loved one or friend? Arlington National Cemetery has an app called ANC Explorer which enables visitors to locate gravesites and other points of interest. You can visit their website to learn more or find it in the Apple App Store or on Google Play

Arlington House

Finally, our sojourn took us to Arlington House. The majestic home perched high on a hill gazing down on the Potomac River and the city of Washington, D.C. The view is spectacular.

The home that Robert E. Lee and his wife Mary Anna Custis Lee loved so dearly is open to tourists. It was during the Civil War the grounds of the home became a military cemetery. The Confederate General who could not take up his sword against his beloved Virginia never returned to Arlington House after the war.

Established in 1864, veterans and casualties from every American war are interred in Arlington National Cemetery.  The national landmark is a stark reminder of the sacrifice so many brave men and women have made for our freedom.

Arlington House
Arlington House

Parting Thoughts

Experiencing the dignified surroundings, viewing the rows of white marble headstones is something I recommend for every American. It was a blustery day and when we returned to the car our noses were red and cold but we didn’t complain. The weighty importance of Arlington National Cemetery served to keep things in perspective.

As we crossed Memorial Bridge on our way home, I looked in the rearview mirror with gratitude in my heart and thought to myself,  A little wind chill is nothing in comparison.

view of the Lincoln Memorial from Arlington National Cemetery
Looking over Washington, DC from Arlington National Cemetery

 Arlington National Cemetery

1 Memorial Ave, Arlington, VA 22211

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4 thoughts on “Why a freezing cold visit to Arlington National Cemetery is worth every minute”

  1. A wonderful story and complemented with some great photos… I capture the final honors at ANC and produce a book for the families… you may enjoy exploring my website, especially the slide show under the tab entitled “FINAL HONORS”

    The GALLERY Tab also contains some more of my work…


    John Michael
    “Preserving the memories so others will remember…” ™

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words John. I’m delighted you enjoyed the story and photographs. I hadn’t been to Arlington in years so it was neat to experience again with my son. I look forward to checking out your site, it sounds fascinating.
      Thanks again and best wishes,
      Anna Marie

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading about our visit to Arlington and I appreciate your feedback. It was a great day.
      All the best,
      Anna Marie

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