In 1908, Orville Wright, one of the famous “Wright Brothers”, had his first flight in Virginia and his first public passenger flight within the county of Arlington, Virginia.
On May 13, 1938, Veterans Day was established by an act of the United States Congress to honor the veterans of World War I, also known as, “The Great War”. The official end of the First World War was on June 28, 1919, but the Veterans Day holiday honors the date of the armistice which began on November 11, 1918.
At the end of my tour of the Arlington National Cemetery, I got to see the burial site of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and of U.S. Senator Robert Francis Kennedy.
The Pentagon Memorial, also known as the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, was constructed after the Pentagon was rebuilt from the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In 2015, author Philip Andrew Hamilton toured the Pentagon Memorial with his older brother John Hamilton.
In the 1940s, when the construction of the Pentagon was complete, it became the largest low rise building in the world. When Al-Quedea crashed a plane into the Pentagon, it created substantial damage from the blast and the fires, but only part of the building was destroyed, unlike the World Trade Center buildings which were completely destroyed.
U.S. Air Force photo taken by Tech. Sergeant Cedric H. Rudisill.
Due to the the attacks on the World Trade Center In 1993, Murray Building in 1995, and the Pentagon and the World Trade Center In 2001, architects have established ways to reinforce buildings with ultra-high-performance fiber-reinforced concrete. The Pentagon was redone with reinforcements, in the event an enemy of the United States plans to execute a plane, missile or other type of attack against the building in the future.
Author Philip Andrew Hamilton, was in English class at James Madison High School, when he first witnessed the footage of the World Trade Towers struck by two airplanes. The administration of James Madison High School, and several other schools within Fairfax County, Virginia, decided to end the school day early due to their proximity to the Pentagon in bordering Arlington County.
On May 27, 1941, three weeks after Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, President Franklin Roosevelt declared a “State of Emergency” and began plans to develop a new central building for the United Stated War Department, which at the time was scattered among 17 buildings. President Franklin Roosevelt personally approved construction of the new War Department building at 21st Street within Washington D.C.’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood. However, it was decided to have the War Department building in Arlington County, Virginia so that it would be outside of the city of Washington D.C. which was a target for the Axis government.
Construction of “The Pentagon” began on September 11, 2001, exactly sixty years before the day of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In the last week of June 1861, Union forces occupied Arlington, Virginia after the state voted to separate from the United States and to join the southern Confederacy. On June 1, 1861, at about 11:00PM, a few hours after the Battle of Fairfax Courthouse, the Battle of Arlington Mills occurred. This was one of the first military engagements of the American Civil War, and became an early part of the First Manassas campaign.
The Custis Lee Mansion is the former home of former Confederate General Robert Edward Lee and his wife Mary Lee.
Robert Edward Lee resigned his U.S. Army Commission on April 20, 1861. Robert Edward Lee and his wife left the home, due to its proximity to Washington, D.C. and it’s likelihood of invasion.
Soon after the Lees left the Union did occupy the house, since the home was on a hill overlooking Washington, D.C.
On June 1862, the 37th Congress mandated that all property taxes within insurrectionary areas be paid in person. Mary Lee has arthritis and was unable to pay the taxes in person, hence the house was auctioned and purchased by the U.S. Government.
As punishment for joining the Confederacy, the Union military decided to bury hundreds of war dead in the grounds of the Lee home, to make it unsightly if they were to buy the mansion from the government and return to their former property. This decision by the Union military laid the foundation for the present day Arlington National Cemetery.
The Custis Lee Mansion has been renamed to the Arlington House and is currently owned by the U.S. National Park Service.
In 1695, the Abingdon Plantation was constructed by Abingdon and John Alexander, in an area that would eventually become Arlington County in 1801. In the late 1700s, President George Washington’s adopted stepson, John, bought the Abington Plantation so that he could live closer to Mount Vernon.
Today, the Abington Plantation is a set of ruins by the Reagan National Airport.
A historical marker, commemorates this Alexander family who built the plantation and for whom the City and the former County of Alexandria are named after.
On Febuary 27, 1801, Alexandria County, which was land from the State of Virginia that was utilized to form part of the federal District of Columbia, was founded. However, local residents disagreed with the northern states views of abolition of slavery, hence in 1847, Arlington County retroceded from Washington, D.C. and became Alexandria County, Virginia.
In 1920, Alexandria County was renamed to Arlington County. A U.S. Supreme ruling dictated that Arlington County cannot be subdivided so currently the County Government also takes on municipal government functions.
The Arlington Historical Society has more information on the history of the county.
Captain John Smith was one of the first Englishmen to record life in what would eventually become Fairfax and Arlington Counties, During his travels through the Potomac River. In 1649, King Charles II of England granted all of the land between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers to a group of seven Englishmen.
Eventually, in 1719, this land came into the possession of Thomas Fairfax, sixth Lord Fairfax. In 1742, Fairfax County, which was named after Thomas Fairfax was established by the Virginia House of Burgesses. The Sixth Lord of Fairfax has a family whose land grant included all of Northern Virginia. Therefore, in the future parts of Loudon County would be formed form Fairfax, County.