Saturday, July 9, 2011

Honoring the Fallen Heroes - Arlington Virginia

Each time I come to the District of Columbia area, I course through the seemingly endless rows of stark white stones of Arlington.  For any first time visitors, pay the respect to the Tomb of the Unknown for the expanse of the whole cemetery takes days to see.  Each time I return I go to an area of the 624 acres, I try to limit it to a specific section. 

Freedom does not come without a Price, and Arlington reminds me and should do so for the rest of the American population, of that sacrifice made by these men and women from the time of the American Civil War to today.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

George Washington Masonic Memorial - Alexandria, VA

Although I did not have the chance to go into the temple, I used the few minutes while I was waiting for the train to meander about the gardens.  Hopefully the next time I am in the Alexandria area I can get a tour of the tower!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lincoln Memorial - District of Columbia

Standing on the westernmost end of the National Mall, the memorial to the sixteenth President shares the Reflecting Pool with the obelisk of the Washington Memorial.

Vietnam Memorial - District of Columbia

World War II Memorial - District of Columbia

Centered at the eastern edge of the Reflecting Pool between the obelisk of the Washington Memorial and the doric temple of the Lincoln Memorial.  Opened to the public just before Memorial Day in 2004, this dedication to the lives of the men and women lost in the Second World War was completed nearly half a century following the end of the most tragic war the world had witnessed in my opinion.  Although the Memorial does not appear that large, I spent almost half a day amidst it's pillars.  I will say the most impacting part of this Memorial is the Freedom Wall (pictured below on the left).  At the first approach, I was taken aback by its beauty but when I read what the stars represented, I began to tear up.  This image is only a small portion of the wall of 4,048 stars of gold and each star represents 100 American lives that were lost in the War in the Atlantic and Pacific.  

Washington Monument - Washington DC

The Old Post Office - District of Columbia

The National Treasury - District of Columbia

Stepping out of the Metro Center station onto the boulevards of the District, this was the first of our nation's "treasured" buildings that I set my eyes on!  Little did I know at the time that I was just hundreds of feet away from the White House at the time... 

Prince William Forest - Dumfries, Virginia


Today, nearly 20,000 acres make up what is the Prince William Forest.  After making reclamation efforts following the Second World War, what once was a rural farm area with three small towns and a pyrite mine, is slowly being returned to the areas natural state prior to European settlement.  One factor I liked about the this park was the numerous paths throughout the area.  Serving as a sanctuary for the local wildlife or for people looking to get connected with nature to clear one's mind from the bustle of city life for a day or two.

National Museum of the Marine Corps - Quantico, VA

Making up part of the Crossroads of the Marine Corps, this museum was dedicated in the fall of 2006 and has made its way to the top of the most visited list of free admission attractions in the State of Virginia, and I can see why!  By a simple walk through, I learned of the past, present and the coming future of the Corps.  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quantico National Cemetery - Triangle, Virginia

Rest in Peace.

725 acres donated by the United States Marine Corps in 1977 is now the final resting place of brave Americans of the Navy and the Marine Corps.

Dedicated in 1983 as an official cemetery, it also holds memorials to important members of the Services such as Louis Lowery, combat photographer that shot the image of the flag raising on Iwo Jima.

Taking a Moment in Locust Shade Park - Quantico, VA

Turtles!   Locust Shade park is the perfect place to take your young children which are at the peak of their curiosity stage and are willing to discover new things aka want to get a little dirty!  From play areas to unpaved paths through the woods to this very fishing pond, the opportunities are endless for adventures!

The abundant plant life surrounding the fishing pond provides ample habitats from the various fish, turtles, and beavers that call Locust Shade their home.

Another sign that beavers are near by...

Walk of the Corps - Quantico, VA

The symbolism marked by the emblem of the Marine Corps:
Eagle represents the United States as for the eagle represents Nobility. The Globe marks the Marines involvement on a world wide spectra.The Anchor ties in the long standing history of service with the Department of the Navy.

Please note how the branch grows out, forks, then grows back into the trunk... Odd.  There is quite a system of sidewalks surrounding the Marine Corps Museum just outside of Quantico tying in natural beauty with the memorials to human sacrifices.  Although children might not grasp the full meaning of this place, I would highly recommend parents to make this journey with them to share this part of America's history with them.  These walks provide a great example of what sacrifices a few made for the many along with getting outside and enjoying the fresh air of Virginia.

As soon as I saw this come into my view as I was walking along with the morning sun on my back, it took all I had not to start choking up.  I knew what was before me... Okinawa was the largest water to land assault in the Pacific during World War II, also making it one of the bloodiest and the one that took the numerous lives - On both Sides.