Detour on the Way to the Airport

[Guest post by Doc.] One of the few benefits of all of my work travels is that, on occasion, I actually end up somewhere pretty neat.  This year, I have been lucky to go to some very beautiful places with magnificent views.

For example, in March I was in Jacksonville and had this view from my room.

Then in April I was on the opposite coast and could see the palm trees and the Pacific Ocean in Hermosa Beach, CA.

In May, I was smack dab in the middle of the country but still managed this impressive view from my hotel window in St. Louis.

I even found an appealing view in the middle of South Dakota...

But today, today was incredibly special.  Not only was the weather perfect and the scenery spectacular, but today I visited one of the most impressive places in our wonderful country.  Situated just across the Potomac from Washington, DC (and right on the Blue Metro Line) is Arlington National Cemetery.  I spent the night in Arlington, VA last night, so I decided to jump on the Metro and make my way to this historic landmark.

Walking down the immaculate drive, you can see the circle entrance to the Cemetery.  One of the things that continues to amaze me about our country is the vision of those that came before us - the vision to set aside several hundred acres of prime real estate and to spare no expense in creating an inspiring entrance.

As I began to walk the grounds, I was enthralled with the clear blue sky that created a warm 80 degree morning.  The Cemetery was not yet bustling with activity, and while most of the patrons worked their way towards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier or JFK's final resting place, I was on a mission to find a specific spot.  You see, I am fortunate to have a special connection with these sacred grounds - my grandmother is buried here.  Eventually (but hopefully not soon) my grandfather will be buried here as well.

As a Marine Officer, with a distinguished career in both wartime and in peace, my grandfather has been honored by our country to have his earthly remains laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.  My grandmother, his wife of over 50 years - a woman who watched him go off to war, welcomed him back after he was wounded in the South Pacific, moved with him from Virginia to California to Hawaii to Indiana and all places in between, shared in raising their children, and ultimately settled down with him in the area where he grew up - also earned that right.

She was laid to rest in June of 2004, and while I have been back to the DC area many times since then, this was my first trip back to see her tombstone.  Much has changed since I was there 7 years ago and so I took a few pictures to share.

Situated along the east side of Cemetery, very near the Visitor's Center, is this spot.

While I had broken a sweat walking over to this area, I was pleased to see  that there was a little shade.  My grandmother did not like being hot, so having this tree provide her shade along with a breeze off the Potomoc, I knew it was cooler here than many places in the Cemetery.

If you have not been to Arlington, you cannot fully appreciate the immaculate grounds and the attention to detail.  While it looks like all of the tombstones are lined up, it is incredibly impressive when you see not only the straight lines but also how they form perfect diagonal lines as well.  These two pictures, one to the left and one to the right exhibit the precision with which the stones are laid.

After I had spent some time in quiet reflection and was getting ready to leave, I noticed one more impressive site.  Standing behind the tombstone, I took this picture.  Look closely back between the trees...

Can you tell what historic landmark it is?  It's the Washington Monument.

All in all, it was an emotional day for me, but I am very glad that I took the time in my schedule to visit this place and remember my grandmother.