November 11th, 2008 – by: Andy99
Quantico National Cemetery
November 11 is the Veterans Day holiday in the USA. Susan and I decided to use this beautiful fall day to make a visit to her parent’s gravesite at the national cemetery in Quantico, Virginia. Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, a commemoration of the end of World War I, and is related to Remembrance Day observed in many countries.
The county schools did not have a holiday (they were off last week), but school opening was delayed. So, after we dropped Julia off at her high school at 10:00 a.m., we bought a bouquet of flowers and headed on the road for Quantico, about 20 miles (33 km) south of Springfield. We were up for a leisurely fall drive, and so eschewed Interstate Highway I-95. Instead, we followed Richmond Road (US Highway 1) to Prince William County and through the communities of Woodbridge, Dale City, Dumfries, and Triangle.
The route is suburban corridor traffic much of the way, but we were not pressed for time.
Veterans Day at Quantico National Cemetery
Quantico, Virginia, is probably best known as home to a large Marine Corps base and the site of the FBI Academy. Quantico National Cemetery is located on former base land. Most national cemeteries in the region date to the Civil War. But Quantico National Cemetery opened in 1983 as a burial place for veterans of 20th century conflicts. It’s a pretty site, forested, and adjacent to Prince William Forest Park.
We arrived at the cemetery a little before 11:00 a.m. A formal observance ceremony with speakers and a Marine Band and color guard was about to start at the 11th hour.
We did not attend, but instead drove around the loop roads to the grave site. Commemorative flags lined the roadways. Susan’s father passed in 1989 and her mother in 2006. Her father had served in World War II and landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. (I wish I had had the opportunity to know him longer than I did.) We left the flowers and spent a few minutes at the site. The fall colors were already past their peak, but the remaining colors and branches stood out against the bright blue sky and strong sunlight.
Drive at Quantico National Cemetery
On the return, we again followed Richmond Road. I made a stop in town of Dumfries, just up the road from Quantico, to investigate Williams Ordinary. Williams Ordinary was a tavern built in the 1760s when Dumfries was an important tobacco port on the Potomac River. The large brick structure is impressive--it’s larger than the contemporary 18th century taverns one encounters in Colonial Williamsburg. The building remained in use as a hotel until modern times. It’s now closed, but preserved, and interpretive historical markers are nearby. Almost back in Fairfax County, we stopped for a late lunch at Madigan’s Waterfront Restaurant in Occoquan and stopped in at the Mill House Museum. (I wrote reviews of our visits there in February.)