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Old Sep 28, 2010, 2:54 PM   #1
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Default They died so we could be free

Those of us who are vets recognize this - a view of one of the oldest parts of the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC (actually it's across the Potomac in Virginia, ironically - see below), the most well known of the US National Cemeteries.





But a lesson here is: don't get the Secretary of War pissed off at you (the modern equivalent is the Secretary of Defense).

Near the top is the Custis-Lee Mansion - the centerpiece of the estate of Robert E. Lee's wife's (Custis) family. At the beginning of the US Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln offered Lee the command of the federal army. Lee demurred, wanting to see if his native Virginia would decide to secede. When Virginia announced its decision, Lee resigned his commission and took command of the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Virginia, later becoming commander of the Army of Northern Virginia (i.e the Confederate army). Because of this decision and subsequent performance, Lee was regarded as disloyal by most Union officers as well as the US government.

The decision was made (approved by, and probably motivated by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton) to appropriate the Lee-Custis Estate as a graveyard for Union soldiers, who were buried there starting in 1864 (a year before the end of the war). In some accounts Stanton's motivation was that no member of the Lee family would ever be able to come back to their estate.

As I said, not good to piss off the Secretary of War...

Ted
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 3:20 PM   #2
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Another photo you might find interesting.



A panorama of Washington DC, taken from the Arlington National Cemetery. From left to right: the Lincoln Memorial, the tower of the Old Post Office, the Washington Monument (which Bill Maher says should be named the Bill Clinton monument - not sure I want to get into that here ), and at the very right, the dome of the US Capitol. One reason you may find this interesting is that the zoning laws in DC prohibit building any building taller than the dome of the US Capitol. That law has been enforced well, so in that way DC is a very special city. Of course, the law does not apply to jet aircraft...
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:17 PM   #3
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One note about these images: they were taken with my grab-and-go camera, the E-500 with the Zuiko D 17.5-45mm lens. That's the only rig I'm willing to leave in my DC summer mobile oven (the Volvo XC-70).

The E-3 with the SHG lenses would have done a better job but I do think the E-500 does OK.

Ted
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:58 PM   #4
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Thank you for those images Ted. I used to work in DC a lot, and your shots brought back some memories, and the E-500 did fine.

A little history sideline to your comments on the Lee property. The way the government confiscated the property was to pass an ordinance requiring that property taxes be paid only by the owner in person. And since Lee could not show up in person (and of be arrested) the property tax was not paid.
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 4:59 PM   #5
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Hi Ted

I like teh composition on the first shot and thanks for the history lesson, I hadn;t realised that Gen. Lee could have been the head of the federal Army just before the start of the war. You got me reading up on the General shortlyt after posting!

From the pics.. I'd say the E500 and kit lens is doing a fine job!

Harj
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 5:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven R View Post
Thank you for those images Ted. I used to work in DC a lot, and your shots brought back some memories, and the E-500 did fine.

A little history sideline to your comments on the Lee property. The way the government confiscated the property was to pass an ordinance requiring that property taxes be paid only by the owner in person. And since Lee could not show up in person (and of be arrested) the property tax was not paid.
Steven, you're right. The anger in the folks in the US government really was enormous - watching all those young men killed...
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 5:09 PM   #7
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Hi Ted

I like teh composition on the first shot and thanks for the history lesson, I hadn;t realised that Gen. Lee could have been the head of the federal Army just before the start of the war. You got me reading up on the General shortlyt after posting!

From the pics.. I'd say the E500 and kit lens is doing a fine job!

Harj
Hi, Harj,

Thanks. I had a hard time out there today - I had a lot of friends who didn't make it back from 'Nam - what a fucking (sorry) senseless war. Damn.

Ted
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 7:48 PM   #8
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If I remember correctly, Secretary Stanton's son was one of the first soldiers buried there, and he decided to bury him where Mrs. Lee had a garden of some sort....

Damned Yankees....
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Old Sep 28, 2010, 9:44 PM   #9
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Hi, Harj,

Thanks. I had a hard time out there today - I had a lot of friends who didn't make it back from 'Nam - what a fucking (sorry) senseless war. Damn.

Ted
Yeh! I came over here in the late 60's and lost a lot of friends from So Cal. Nam was the pits. Nobody learnt anything, we're still losing young men in GW Bush's and Dick Cheney's private war in Iraq.

Nice pics, don't be talking that E500 down now..
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Old Sep 29, 2010, 11:11 AM   #10
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If I remember correctly, Secretary Stanton's son was one of the first soldiers buried there, and he decided to bury him where Mrs. Lee had a garden of some sort....

Damned Yankees....
I didn't know that, Greg. Losing a son would explain his deep anger.

Ted
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