TAM Goes to Washington Part III: Arlington National Cemetery

by Heidi Obermeyer

A few things I have been thinking about recently:

1. How dangerous is it to drive under the influence of marijuana? Colorado just passed a bill approving the sale of marijuana for recreational use, and the implications aren’t very well known since it’s one of the first states to do so. However… it’s still against federal law. My bet is that this one won’t stand against the Fed, but we’ll see how things play out.

2. How can I fit in knitting time with schoolwork? It’s finally getting cold here and all my winter stuff is hidden away in some other state. Hence, I actually need to finish knitting a scarf that I started in like… March. Okay, early March. It’s going to be awesome when I’m done, but for some reason whenever I get about 6/7 of the way done with a knitting project (read: a scarf, because I never knit anything else) I experience a major lose in motivation.

3. What am I going to do without gebrannte Mandeln this Christmas season?

4. Why isn’t there a decent coffee shop in the main UNC library? This is really cramping my style.

5. What should I wear for the wedding that I’m going to in December? So exciting! I really like this dress at Anthro, but I think I’ll wait and see if it goes on extreme sale or something.

6. I’m going to need more wax for my seal soon. I have just been letter writing up a storm!

7. Departure for Berlin! It’s coming up! I’m out of class on December 5th and heading to Germany January 11th.

8. What else can I use this ripe avocado for besides guacamole?

Anyway. that’s the latest in my brain. Now for one of the last chunks of my D.C. pictures!

These ones aren’t as carefree and exciting as the others, but still captured an important part of our trip- a stop on our way home at Arlington National Cemetery.

The leaves were so pretty during our entire trip. There’s still a few clinging to life in Chapel Hill now, but quite a few are totally gone. Sandy’s slight winds that came our way did quite a number on the only orange leaves I could see from my balcony. Darn it!

Anyway, back to Arlington. I had never been before and was very surprised at how huge the place is. I did not realize that it was that big- from media pictures I always thought it was a really large field, but it’s actually a very hilly area and has headstones dating wayyy back. As you can see in the picture above, not all of the headstones are the matching white ones; some are towering masses of stone, especially in the older parts of the cemetery.

JFK is buried at Arlington, and his memorial/gravesite is really well-decorated with huge slabs in a semi-circle covered in some of his most famous quotes. One of my all-time favorites- “And so my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” So inspirational.

We also stopped by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but I didn’t take any pictures. I’m not really sure it’s the kind of thing that needs to be photographed. The memorial building/seating area next to it is gorgeous.

It was quite a blustery day and the first time we’d really needed jackets over the course of the trip, but the sun was shining and the views of Washington were really nice.

And that’s our visit to the cemetery. It was a very humbling experience, especially after talking so broadly about security policy in class. I think it’s important to remember that lots of those numbers represent actual people and political science isn’t just theory- it’s actually applicable and political decisions have major impacts on people’s lives. Nowhere is that more evident than in the vast stretches of white tombstones at Arlington.