Arlington National Cemetery is an enduring tribute to those who have dedicated their lives to defending the ideals of our nation. With more than 600 acres of hallowed ground, this national shrine is a resting place for America’s heroes from every American conflict, from the Revolutionary War to the conflicts of the 21st century, and will continue to be for generations to come. We will learn about the cemetery’s history and the heroes who rest here on an interpretive bus tour with stops at the President John F. Kennedy gravesite, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial. Formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, this Greek revival style home was built by George Washington Parke Custis, grandson of Martha Washington and step-grandson of George Washington. When Custis died in 1857, he willed the property to his daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis, who was married to Robert E. Lee. The Arlington National Cemetery Historic District, which includes Arlington House, is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Our trip continues at Fort Meyer, which has a rich historic tradition. The Army post, originally named Fort Whipple, has been in existence since the Civil War. It has been a showcase for the U.S. Army cavalry, the site of a Wright Brothers flight test, and home to the U.S. Army’s elite ceremonial units—The U.S. Army Band and the U.S. Army’s 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). We will dine at the Officers’ Club, known as Patton Hall (named after General George S. Patton Jr. who commanded Fort Myer as a Colonel from 1938-1940) and we will tour the Caisson Barn to learn about the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard). The regiment’s mission is to conduct memorial affairs to honor fallen comrades, including standard and full honors funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, and ceremonies and special events to represent the U.S. Army, communicating its story to United States citizens and the world. The fort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1972, for its well-preserved concentration of cavalry facilities and officers’ quarters, and for its importance in military aviation history.