Monuments, Memorials and more
It may sound odd, but Arlington Cemetery is one of my favorite places in DC. This is my third time there and every time I'm overcome by the sense of reverence and respect. It is such a powerful and peaceful place. Seeing those white headstones covering the rolling hills for as far as you can see (275,000 graves, 612 acers and growing, thanks google) is such a solemn reminder of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our sake. I'm so glad the kids were able to experience this, it really opened their eyes and I hope they left with a greater sense of appreciation. It is beautiful (if you can call a cemetery beautiful) the way they have been so precise in the layout, the headstones make a perfectly straight line in every direction.
In third grade they do an extensive unit on the US symbols and Jayden recently learned about the monuments leading up to President's day, so it was so cool to see them spilling over with excitement to see them up close and in person. They kept spouting out facts like the symbolism of the way Lincoln is holding his hands (the fist means strength and determination, the open hand means compassion), or the reason why the Washington Monument has two different colors of stones (it sat unfinished for about 30 years due to the war and lack of funds and when they finished it they couldn't find a match) and even that the red room of the white house is haunted by Lincoln's ghost. Of course I had to act like I knew exactly what they were talking about, even though once again they schooled me.
Once again each of those 58,267 names represents the cost of war. The kids were shocked by the sheer number of names and couldn't believe this was the result of only one war. Frankly, it's hard for me to believe too.