Washington DC – There will come soft rains…

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

– Sara Teasdale, Flame and Shadow (1920)

One of the many striking and poignant features within inner Washington DC are the size and stature of War Memorials. Dedicated to armed conflicts past, recent and present. Within the National Mall and a short walk away from The Lincoln Memorial, Pookaverse visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the National World War II Memorial.

Just South of the Mall and a Metro ride under the Potomac River is Arlington National Cemetery – where the Tomb of the Unknowns that holds three unidentified bodies from all three conflicts guarded 24 hours per day by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (“The Old Guard”) since April 6, 1948. The changing of the guard at 12:00 on Sunday 24 November was witnessed by Pookaverse.

The Atlantic Tower of the WWII Memorial

The Atlantic Tower of the WWII Memorial facing South on the National Mall

The Pacific Tower of the WWII Memorial on the National Mall wreathed by individual markers for the  50 States...

The Pacific Tower of the WWII Memorial on The National Mall wreathed by individual markers for the 50 States…

There are many apocryphal tales about the Sentinels who perform this honorable duty and this website attempts to confirm or dispel the most compelling.

The Three Soldiers Memorial - part of the National Vietnam Memorial

The Three Soldiers Memorial – part of the National Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC

It is also the resting place of John Basilone, a Marine Gunnery Seargeant who received a Congressional Medal of Honour for his actions in the Battle of Guadalcanal.

One section of the 246 feet Memorial Wall detailing each od the 58,195 US service personnel killed or MIA in Vietnam - in chronological order

One section of the 246 feet Memorial Wall detailing each od the 58,195 US service personnel killed or MIA in Vietnam – in chronological order

As well as the surprisingly humble site of the Eternal Flame and the resting place of US President John F Kennedy, his brothers Robert  and Edward and is where his former wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis rests alongside.

One of the 19 stainless steel figures peers out into the gathering gloom of the Korean War Veterans Memorial...

One of the 19 stainless steel figures peers out into the gathering gloom of the Korean War Veterans Memorial…

Their son Patrick and stillborn daughter Arabella.  From Commanders-in-Chief to the men and women sent to the four corners of the earth, finally returned home, in the execution of foreign policy.

Just one of the many grave sites within 624 acres. Filled with the dead of all conflicts dating back to the American Civil War and includes more recent interments from Afghanistan.

War never changes. And one thing is for sure. Arlington National Cemetery has plenty of free space available for the inevitable conflicts to come.

The main grave site of John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis flanked by their children and surmounted by the eternal flame...that hisses a lot

The main grave site of John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis flanked by their children and surmounted by the eternal flame…that hisses a lot…Arlington National Cemetery

The marker stone for Robert F. Kennedy assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles on June 5 1968

The marker stone for Robert F. Kennedy assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles on June 5 1968…Arlington National Cemetery

Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns…Arlington National Cemetery

“The Sentinel stops on the 21st step, then turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds. Then he turns to face back down the mat, changes his weapon to the outside shoulder, counts 21 seconds, then steps off for another 21 step walk down the mat. He faces the Tomb at each end of the 21 step walk for 21 seconds. The Sentinel then repeats this over and over until he is relieved at the Guard Change.”

The grave of John Basilone, 'Manila John' at 12/338. From the evidence of the USMC 8-sided utility cover and the miniature empty bottle of  whisky still visited to this day.

The grave of John Basilone, ‘Manila John’ at 12/338. From the evidence of the USMC 8-sided utility cover and the miniature empty bottle of whisky still visited to this day.

Amidst the endless sea of headstones stands this one lone white tree...

Amidst the endless sea of headstones stands this one lone white tree…

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3 Responses to “Washington DC – There will come soft rains…”

  1. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Hi Ali and Rohan,
    many thanks for your updates this moving glad your time in the USA has been an adventure of adventures!! We have just returned from our favourite Pub the Bulls head with its open fire we thought of you both and how time has flown since we where all there together in Aug!! Hope your coughs are clearing up and you have chance to rest before your next adventure?
    With lots of love and hugs,
    Terri and Andrew xx

  2. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Ps Correction should read moving tribute to the many fallen.
    Terri

  3. jose Says:

    What a beautiful opening to the blog (There will come soft rains) so true. keep safe, have a good flight xx

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