Stories are always finding us at DC Like a Local.
We get guiding and tour directing jobs through networking and referrals. Recently a guide job fell in my lap when I saw it advertised on The Guild of Professional Tour Guides’ web group. You have to act fast when the job goes up if you want it. Immediate rapport with the people was created when the woman mentioned that she had read a recent book on Arlington Cemetery, and I knew immediately the book she meant because I had read it too.
I am the last of the great readers and it is not uncommon for me to read over 100 books in a year. You read that correctly. I read very fast. I read unusually fast. I put up so many book reviews on my facebook page that I stopped publishing them. I thought it might annoy people. When it rains on a vacation (and people are always telling me “You should have been here last week.”), I curl up with a book and am perfectly content. You know that snowstorm we had recently? I knocked off a 700+ page book on Richard Nixon. A day spent reading is never a wasted day in my opinion.
Neither is a day spent doing research.
The couple wanted a specialized tour of Arlington focused on sites not usually visited in the average tour. Normally people go to Arlington and do pretty much the same tour—the Kennedy graves and the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb. Some might stop in Arlington House (currently empty of furniture as it is being renovated); the view there is nice. Then it’s on to somewhere else.
Tim, who founded DCLikeaLocal.com, is a fan of Arlington and so am I. To find stories there, you just have to do a little research. It developed that the couple wanting the tour was Jewish and so am I. So the reservation for the tour was made and I began to research Jewish people buried at Arlington because I wanted to do something special for the couple. Those of you who read this blog, will recall, I researched Finns for a Finnish tour and got a story out of it on DCLikeaLocal.com.
Well, one doesn’t normally think of Jews when one thinks of Arlington, does one? They are not supposed to be “big” on serving in the military. Well, my Dad fought in the Battle of the Bulge and I always point out the name of that battle when I visit the World War II Memorial in his honor; no, he is not buried at Arlington. My ex husband served in Vietnam—not out of any enthusiasm for the war, by the way, but because he was drafted. It was what you did. Plenty of other Jews served as well. After World War II, my Dad was very active in the Jewish War Veterans. I remember going to the conventions in the Catskill Mountains north of New York City as being an annual event. There is even a National Museum of American Jewish Military History in Washington, DC.
So I decided to take a leaf from my Finnish research and find out some information about Jewish graves at Arlington. Accofding to the Arlington Cemetery website, there are almost 2,000. Tomorrow I will tell you about some of them.