July 21st & 22nd, 2012 – Arlington Cemetery, Metro Station & Union Station – Washington, DC

Ok we are doing multiple posts for the same days again.  Too many good pictures to share.   Also, can you tell that we were too busy to post while we were in Washington?  (Thus the many, many posts you are getting now.)

Arlington National Cemetery is a military cemetery, established during the Civil War on the grounds of the estate of the family of Robert E. Lee and Mary Anna (Custis) Lee, a great grand-daughter of Martha Washington.   The cemetery is situated directly across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial.  Veterans and military casualties from each of the nation’s wars are interred in the cemetery, ranging from the Civil War through to the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Pre-Civil War dead were reinterred after 1900.  Arlington is also famous for the changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which is really something to see.

When we were in Harpers Ferry, we found out something about Arlington Cemetery that was interesting and a bit sad.  President Lincoln offered Robert E. Lee the command of the federal army.  He demurred waiting to see whether or not Virginia was going to secede from the union.  When it did, he resigned his commission from the federal army and took command of the armed forces of the commonwealth of Virginia.   Former Army comrades who had admired Lee turned against him. None was more  outspoken than Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, a fellow West Point graduate who  had served amicably under Lee in the engineer corps but now considered him an  insurgent.  The federal government confiscated the property in 1862, because Mrs. Lee did not pay the taxes in person.  BG Meigs was responsible for the garrison at Arlington and recommended the establishment of the cemetery at the Arlington estate.  He hoped to make the house uninhabitable if the Lees were to return.  Obviously he succeeded.  Robert E. Lee and his wife spent the post war years trying to get the land back, but were unsuccessful.  The point of the story?  Robert E. Lee, lost his country, his friends and his home when he made the decision to side with his home state of Virginia when they seceded.  That was quite a sacrifice.  On the positive side – Eventually, his grandson was able to get the land back after the Supreme Court decided that the land was confiscated without due process.  The next year he sold it back to the government.

 

     

We purposely walked to Union Station to take the subway so we could see it.  Union Station is one of Washington’s busiest and best-known places, visited by 32 million people each year and has many shops, cafes and restaurants.  Passenger services include Amtrack’s high-speed trains, and several of Amtrak’s long-distance sleeper trains, as well as Metro trains and buses.

 

The Washington Metro, commonly called Metro, is the rapid transit system.  Metro is the second-busiest rapid transit system in the United States in number of passenger trips, after the New York City Subway.

 

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