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Arlington National Cemetary

  Photo Credits: Mine
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetary
A lone sentry guards the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Memorial Day Weekend 2003
The Eternal Flame burns at the graves of President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie
The eternal flame burns at the graves of President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline
The grave of World War II hero Audie Murphy
The grave of World War II hero Audie Murphy
The Challenger Memorial at Arlington National Cemetary
The grave of Challenger Astronaut Dick Scobee
The Challenger Memorial at Arlington
The grave of Challenger Astronaut Dick Scobee
The graves of Columbia Astronauts Anderson, Clark, and Brown
The graves of Columbia Astronauts Michael Anderson, Laurel Clark, and David Brown
The grave of Columbia Astronaut Laurel Clark
The grave of Columbia Astronaut David Brown
Columbia Astronaut Laurel Clark's grave
Columbia Astronaut David Brown's grave
Astronaut Charles Conrad's grave at Arlington National Cemetary
Astronaut Charles Conrad's grave
Astronaut Charles Conrad's grave
The back of Conrad's head stone
The grave of Jim Irwin at Arlington National Cemetary
The grave of Donn Eisele at Arlington National Cemetary
Jim Irwin's grave near CC Williams' grave
Astronaut Donn Eisele's grave

The next morning, which was Sunday, the autograph show continued.  The long lines of people waiting for signatures were gone.  That would have been the day to try and get signatures.  You truly could have one on one time with the astronauts on that second day.  It would serve as a lesson learned.

Since it was Memorial Day weekend, Mary and I decided to go out to Arlington National Cemetery and pay our respects.  Mary had never been there.  We used the Metro to get out to Arlington.  The Metro certainly does simplify traveling around the Washington, DC area.

I wasn't sure how crowded the cemetery would be with it being Memorial Day weekend.  It was kind of a wet rainy day though and while there were plenty of people; it wasn't as crowded as I had imagined it might be.

One of the first grave sites that we visited was the graves of John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline.  The eternal flame provided warmth against the stark surroundings and damp day.  On their graves someone had placed a single red rose.

With it being Memorial Day all of the graves in the cemetery appeared to be decorated with a small American flag.  The grass at the cemetery was lush and green.  From the Kennedy's grave site we walked over to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  There was a large crowd their watching the changing of the guard.  Placed in front of the tomb was a single wreath of flowers.  The lone guard, the overcast sky, and the damp air made it a very solemn setting.

Close to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier you can find the grave of World War II hero Audie Murphy.  Mary is a distant cousin of Murphy; we wanted to make sure we paid our respects.  His grave had a lot of decorations.  There were more flowers on his grave than almost on any other.  There were also a considerable number of tokens on his headstone which was indicative of many visitors. We didn't know who left these flowers, but someone still cares for him after all these years.

Near to Murphy's grave was the Challenger Memorial and Dick Scobee’s grave.  I had seen these before, but Memorial Day seemed to bring that space tragedy closer to home.  Speaking of close to home, we saw the fresh graves of Michael Anderson, Laurel Clark, and David Brown.  These were three of the astronauts who died on Columbia.  This hit close to home for us, because Mary and I witnessed the Columbia breakup over the Texas sky from our front yard. 
The tragedy had just occurred a few short months before.

Another grave that I wanted to make sure we visited that day was the grave of Astronaut Pete Conrad.  This was the first time that I had been back to Arlington National Cemetery since Conrad's fatal motorcycle accident.

It took us a while to walk out to the section where Conrad was buried but we finally found it.  It was an uphill walk and we didn't have the most comfortable shoes for walking. Conrad's head stone certainly stood out among all the rest.  It was a huge polished black granite monolith that stood out in stark contrast with the uniformity of the white head stones that the covered the rest of the landscape.

In that same are we paid are respects to the graves of Astronauts, Irwin, Eisele, Grissom, Chaffee, and C.C. Williams.  One Apollo astronaut who was not buried in that area was Apollo 14 Astronaut Stuart Roosa.  It surprised me that Roosa was not buried in close proximity to his comrades.

As we walked back towards the Arlington National Cemetery Visitors Center, we took a different path.  We walked down below the Tomb of the Unknown solider this time instead of above it.

We happened upon a small section of graves that included Challenger pilot Michael Smith.  Also in that section was the grave of Boxer Joe Lewis.  I had seen their graves before, but didn't remember exactly where they were located.

Then, much to my surprise we found the grave of Stuart Roosa!  I was glad that we found it before we left.  Roosa’s headstone was similar to Conrad's.  It was larger than the standard headstone and also made of black granite.  The ground was too wet for me to get a reasonable photo of Roosa’s headstone.  We paid our respects and moved on.

By this time, Mary and I were getting tired of walking.  Mary in particular was having problems.  Her shoes had given her blisters.  Since she is shorter than me, she also winds up walking more, to keep up with my longer stride.

We took the Metro back to our hotel.  After resting for a while, we called up my friend Tom again and made arrangements for meeting up for dinner.   This time we tried out another seafood restaurant that was in walking distance of the hotel.  The name of this restaurant was McCormick and Schmicks Seafood Restaurant.

Our dining experience there was anything but pleasant.  The service was horrible.  They did not pay attention to Mary's dietary need of no milk products on her plate.   They brought her food drenched in butter.  When we called this to the attention of the waitress, she feigned not knowing that butter was a milk product.

The food was overpriced and really not all that good.  Needless to say, that is the very last time that Mary and I have eaten at a McCormick and Schmicks Seafood Restaurant.  After dinner we said our good byes to Tom and prepared for our flight out the next morning.


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UPDATED : January 31, 2007
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