A Walk to Remember: National Mall, Memorials and Arlington National Cemetery - Washington, DC

It's been years since I went site-seeing in Washington D.C. Does a seventh grade field trip really count if I don't remember where I went? Since it was only 1 hour away from Columbia, MD, the weekend was reserved for the famed District of Columbia, i.e. Washington D.C. My plan was to explore the National Mall area and take photos of monuments and memorials I found through google maps. A little after 7am, I paid for 3 hours of parking on Ohio Dr SW near Franklin Roosevelt Memorial.

I hustled over to the famous Lincoln Memorial for a look at Honest Abe, our 16th US president. Since it was still early, few people were in front of the building such as a grad student taking pics with their family. You can already see some harsh morning light shining through onto the statue.

A short distance away was the Korean War Vererans Memorial. These solder statues are bravely crossing the battlefield toward an unknown future.

The World War II Memorial was still quiet this morning as the waters pulsed into the slight breeze. So many countries were involved in this war and there's a pillar for each one.

I backtracked and headed north to see the Vietnam Women's Memorial. It is a sad scene to visualize the agony of loss from war.

Nearby is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The aftermath of this war affected the lives of my parents and I am lucky they were able to escape and provide me with life in the U.S.

I noticed the Albert Einstein Memorial on google maps so had to stop by. Knowledge is essential and I do love my logic puzzles and word games! Be a thinker! I also tried to make my way closer to the White House but of course, there were many blockades plus I had no reservations. I had to turn back. 

Apparently the George Washington University graduation ceremony was that day so the Washington Monument was crowded with students and their families. I walked farther away for a picture and noticed a line of food trucks in my view of the Washington Monument. I'm starting to get hungry at this point too!

I could see the United States Capitol in the distance but I was running low on meter time. I headed west and stopped by the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden. One of my favorite views there was this unique globe artwork!

Another side stop was the Kathrine Dulin Folger Rose Garden. I thought the fountain was super pretty!

Notice how the crowds have grown around the World War II Memorial later in the day!

I wasn't sure what this structure was on my earlier walk but took a closer look here. This D.C. War Memorial is to remember those from this area who gave their lives in the World War.

Another memorial I wanted to see was Martin Luther King Jr who did so much for people of color. It's important to remember those who paved the way for equality as racism and bias still exist to this day.

The Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial was my last stop before running to my car to feed the meter. I believe there are meters you can pay online which I'll have to look into for the next time!

I used the Strava app to map my walk once I reached Korean War Memorial. Accidentally forgot to start it after parking! Just this portion alone was 6.5 miles, plus ~0.8 miles starting from my car! All that in 3 hours!

Since I was so close to the Jefferson Memorial, I fed the meter for an additional hour. My phone battery was running on the low side so I stopped recording on Strava.

Hello Thomas Jefferson! Another forward thinking man who was the author of the Declaration of Independence.

Another view of the Washington Monument near Jefferson Memorial. I made my way back to the car and then took a lunch break. Food portion coming soon to the blog!

After relieving my hunger, I decided to add a visit to Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). I parked my car and entered through the visitors center. My first stop was the Women in Military Service for Amerial Memorial. This building includes a theater area for watching videos about our servicewomen as well as uniforms and flags on display.

Another popular stop for tourists is the gravesite for President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. I read online that one other president is buried here, William Howard Taft, but I didn't have time to visit.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier always draws a crowd. A soldier paces dutifully back and forth in clockwork fashion. Afterwards, I headed back to the car and paid for parking, which is priced per hour.

I ended up walking more than 12 miles in one day but I'll remember more than the ache in my feet. It was certainly a day of reflection on people who made a difference in our U.S. history and I am thankful for them all.

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Sharon Corrigan's picture
Submitted by Sharon Corrigan (not verified) on Sun, 11/24/2019 - 8:15am

Love the Hirschorn and Sackler and Freer galleries. The Native American Museum cafe is really interesting. Of all the monuments the Korean War Memorial is my favorite- after the Lincoln Memorial i first saw as a kid at 14 I think. Years ago we went with a group of ladies during a conference in DC to theWomen in Military Memorial where I discovered my dad had entered my mom in the database. One of the most graphic was the Holocaust Museum which totally freaked me out- but is a very powerful emotional journey. Surprisingly I loved the National PortraitGallery which is so much more than guys in wigs. Washington DC/ and the Smithsonian truly is a National Treasure!

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sat, 11/30/2019 - 11:33pm

those spots sound wonderful! i was limited on time but would love to check out more on a future trip! also, at the womens memorial, they were preparing for memorial day weekend coming up. i was given a yellow ribbon with the name of a service woman and tasked to simply remember her on that day... compelling stuff!

caninecologne's picture
Submitted by caninecologne (not verified) on Mon, 11/25/2019 - 8:09am

What a great post Lynn. At least you got to enjoy the sights in the daytime and in relative warmth. I was with educators for a US Naval Academy trip and our DC tour was a night and in the cold (snow flurries too). Your pictures are so very clear and show the beauty of the artwork. I especially liked your reflections about the different monuments especially the Vietnam War memorial. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sat, 11/30/2019 - 11:37pm

you're totally right about timing... i actually stayed in on saturday because it was expected to rain that day and sunday turned out to be quite lovely, even if a bit hot and sweaty! thank you for reading! :)

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