In the early 1940s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to consolidate the 17 buildings that compared the Department of War into one building. Designed by army engineers, and built of gravel dredged from the Potomac River and molded into concrete, started on September 11 1941 and was completed on January 15, 1943, at a cost of $83 million. As the world’s largest office building.

A headquarters of the Department of Defense, a Cabinet-level origination consisting of three military departments, the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as well as 14 defense agencies. Leading personal are the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

On September 11, 2001, the building was damaged in a terrorist attack. A memorial to 184 people who died in the Pentagon and on Flight 77 was dedicated on September 11, 2008.

Air Force Memorial

Located on a promontory overlooking the Pentagon, this memorial honors the service and sacrifices of the men and women of the US Air Force and its predecessor organizations. Dedicated in 2006.

Arlington National Cemetery

One of the largest most famous national cemeteries in the United States. It covers about 612 acres (248 hectares) in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington DC. The Cemetery surrounds Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, which was the home of General Robert E. Lee of the Confederate Army. It occupies land that was once part of the estate of Lee’s wife, Mary Custis Lee. The United States government made Arlington a national cemetery in 1864. The Department of the Army and ministers it.

Honor discharged winners of the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Purple Heart, or Silver Star, members of the armed services who die on duty, certain disabled veterans, members of the armed forces who have served long enough to be officially retired, and honorably discharged veterans who have held a federal elective office or a Cabinet-level position, or who have served on the Supreme Court. Their wives or husbands and their minor children are also eligible. Until 1967, all honorary discharged veterans could be buried in the cemetery. Different members and veterans from different wars buried in Arlington, like the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and others, and memorials of the USS Maine, the Coast Guard Memorial, and others.

Lots of famous people buried are John J. Pershing, Audie Murphy, Lee Marvin, Joe Louis, William H. Taft, Jimmy Doolittle, Medgar Evers, Thurgood Marshall, Gus Grissom, Pierre L’Enfant, George Marshall, Robert Todd Lincoln, George Washington Parke Custis, Omar Bradley, Earl Warren, and others. Also includes a grave of President John F. Kennedy, marked by an eternal flame, lies on a hillside near Arlington House, along with his wife Jackie and his two brothers Bobby and Ted Kennedy.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers

After World War I, officials of the Allied countries found that the bodies of many soldiers killed in battle could not be identified. The governments of Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy and the US decided to honor in some special way the memory of these soldiers. Each government chose a symbolic unknown soldier, buried the remains near the national capital, and built a monument in honor of the soldier. Belgium placed its unknown soldier in a tomb at the base of the colonnade of the Congress in Brussels. France buried its unknown soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe in the center of Paris, and keeps the flame always burning over the grave. Great Britain buried is Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey in London. Italy’s Unknown Soldier lies in front of the monument to Victor Emmanuel in Rome.

On November 11, 1921, on Armistice Day, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia across the Potomac River from Washington DC. The tomb was completed in 1931, has a white marble sarcophagus over the grave bearing the inscription: “Here rets in honored glory an American soldier known but to God”. Congress later directed that an Unknown American from each three wars World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War be buried beside the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Memorial Amphitheater, funded by the Grand Army of the Republic in honor of members of the armed forces killed in battle, stands near the tomb. On Memorial Day services are held there for each year.

United States Marine Corp Memorial

Washington’s most famous monument, a Dramatic Bronze sculpture shows five marines and a Navy medical corpsman raising the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. Captured by photographer of the Associated Press Joe Rosenthal. Dedicated in 1954.

Mount Vernon

The country estate on the Potomac River was George Washington’s home for 45 years. Built as a farmhouse by his father Augustine Washington.

It was the plantation house of George Washington, the first President of the United States, and his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. The estate is situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, near Alexandria, across from Prince George’s County, Maryland. The Washington family had owned land in the area since the time of Washington’s great-grandfather in 1674. In 1739 they embarked on an expansion of the estate that continued under George Washington, who came into possession of the estate in 1754, but did not become its sole owner until 1761.

The mansion is built of wood in a loose Palladian style, and was constructed by George Washington in stages between 1758 and 1778. It occupies the site of an earlier, smaller house built by George Washington’s father Augustine, some time between 1726 and 1735. It remained Washington’s country home for the rest of his life. Following his death in 1799, under the ownership of several successive generations of the family, the estate progressively declined as revenues were insufficient to maintain it adequately. In 1858, the house’s historical importance was recognized and it was saved from ruin by The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association; this philanthropic organization acquired it together with part of the Washington property estate. Escaping the damage suffered by many plantation houses during the American Civil War, Mount Vernon was restored.

Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is today listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is still owned and maintained in trust by The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, and is open every day of the year. Allowing the public to see the estate is not an innovation, but part of a 200-year-old tradition started by George Washington himself. In 1794 he wrote: “I have no objection to any sober or orderly person’s gratifying their curiosity in viewing the buildings, Gardens, &ca. about Mount Vernon.”[3]