April 21, 2021

The White House and Arlington Cemetery

Being an American History buff, I got to check off two biggies from my personal wish list last week.

Arlington Cemetery

A family member was interred in Arlington Cemetery so I got to see a full military funeral replete with a marching band, a caisson pulled by majestic black horses, a 21-gun salute and cadets with crisp uniforms and precise movements. A bugler playing “Taps” and a folded flag presented to my aunt were the emotional cappers.

The history geek in me was fascinated by the origins of Arlington Cemetery. The property had belonged to Confederate General Robert E. Lee who was married to the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington. Lee’s home is still on a hill overlooking the cemetery, but the bulk of the property has been used for military burials since the Civil War.

I also had the great privilege to tour the White House.

White House Entrance

It was smaller than I expected, but I was delighted to see the East Room, the Red Room, the Blue Room, the Green Room and the lovely paintings and antiques that adorn the public rooms. The view from the windows wasn’t bad either!

Since 9/11, getting to tour the White House has become a complicated proposition. Visitors need to contact their congress person weeks before their D. C. trip and submit their social security numbers to facilitate background checks.

In planning your visit, plan to arrive with your I. D. (drivers’s license, military IDs, green cards or passports), cell phone and billfold only. Note that purses and bags are not allowed in The White House and there is no place to check personal items. Visitors are only allowed to enter with cell phones and billfolds.

The tours are self-guided but Secret Service Officers are there to answer any historical questions. And these people know their stuff!

White House view of the Washington Monument

White House piano with gilded eagle legs


  1. Hi Elizabeth
    We’re heading to DC Dec 2 & applied months ago for the WH tour. Expect to get the tickets. Love reading your book reviews and music reviews. Most always check the books out at our library.
    By the way, my sister & I (Elizabeth (Betty) Doyle Sweet came to the Palmer house to meet & hear you about 10 years ago.
    Check our website. My hubby & I published our second children’s picture book. Kids love it! Lots of engaging illustrations and repetitive phrases, plus a little dragon song they can learn.

    Hope you have wonderful holidays.

    Katie Frederick

    • Elizabeth Doyle says

      Would love to hear about your trip to D. C. including your White House visit. As for your children’s books, let me know if you do a Chicago promo visit. Women and Children First is a reputable bookstore in Andersonville.
      All best. Elizabeth D.

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