Monday, 10 November 2014

Long road to Washington we made it.

September 23rd to 30th 2014
Its a long way to Washington I forget how many miles roughly 740, we did stop along the way. The roads in some places are pretty and some pretty monotonous, Don did a splendid job, remember I lost my glasses in Savanna and I didn't have my prescription sunglasses either.

One of the rest breaks we took here.

Pretty little thing

Just think of all the work that was done to carve out these roads it must have taken years.
Well the road into Washington DC was very busy and even with GPS its so easy to be in the wrong lane or miss a turning. Eventually we managed to find the hotel which was in Ballston just outside the city. Its a 15 - 20 minute walk to the subway which we took to the city.

The day after we arrived in Washington we made a beeline for Arlington Cemetery, it was a very moving day seeing all those war graves of past and recently buried servicemen and US presidents.

As far as the eye can see, so many graves
Almost every day are new burials at least 4 or 5, the flag flies at half mast and you can hear "taps" being played.

This Lockerbie memorial was donated by Scotland.
The Lockerbie disaster was my earliest memory of terrorism in the UK, needless to say I wish it was the only one not the countless ones since no matter where.

Monuments are countless, the list goes on, notable grave sites we saw so many
touching notes from families its a real tear jerker to see them all.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Every hour on the hour is the changing of the guard, we watched it, you could hear a pin drop.

Here is a copy of the description from the website.

The guard is changed every hour on the hour October 1 to March 31 in an elaborate ritual. From April 1 through September 30, there are more than double the opportunities to view the change because another change is added on the half hour and the cemetery closing time moves from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
An impeccably uniformed relief commander appears on the plaza to announce the Changing of the Guard. Soon the new sentinel leaves the Quarters and unlocks the bolt of his or her M-14 rifle to signal to the relief commander to start the ceremony. The relief commander walks out to the Tomb and salutes, then faces the spectators and asks them to stand and stay silent during the ceremony.
The relief commander conducts a detailed white-glove inspection of the weapon, checking each part of the rifle once. Then, the relief commander and the relieving sentinel meet the retiring sentinel at the centre of the matted path in front of the Tomb. All three salute the Unknown who have been symbolically given the Medal of Honor. Then the relief commander orders the relieved sentinel, "Pass on your orders." The current sentinel commands, "Post and orders, remain as directed." The newly posted sentinel replies, "Orders acknowledged," and steps into position on the black mat. When the relief commander passes by, the new sentinel begins walking at a cadence of 90 steps per minute.
The Tomb Guard marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process. After the turn, the sentinel executes a sharp "shoulder-arms" movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors to signify that the sentinel stands between the Tomb and any possible threat. Twenty-one was chosen because it symbolises the highest military honour that can be bestowed -- the 21-gun salute.
Well it is a lot to write so I'm cheating.

What a view overlooking Washington from the hill in the cemetery 
I have more to say about this place on the next blog so yet again until the next blog.

Don and Glenys (on the land trip in the USA)

Agua Therapy tucked up in Grenada.

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