Episode 12

Movie Stars in Arlington National Cemetery (Part 2)

Arlington National Cemetery has so much history and so many stories to tell...we have visited multiple times, with two YouTube videos, and we still have only scratched the surface.

While there, we decided to visit the gravesites of presidents, movie stars, world famous athletes, and people who impacted Jenn's life and helped inspire her military service.

Video - Movies Stars in Arlington

Visit Arlington National Cemetery: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil

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Transcript
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greetings and welcome to the talk with

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History Podcast I am your host Scott

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here with my wife and historian Jen

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hello

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on this podcast we talk about history's

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continuing impact on us and our personal

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journey through YouTube as we continue

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to explore record and share our history

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walks with you

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now Jen

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normally we would be doing a five-star

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question or review of the week but we've

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taken a little bit of time off from the

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holidays and we're getting back into it

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so I want to give a quick shout out to

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one of our podcast listeners and he shot

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us an email said hey when are the when's

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the podcast coming back out so thank you

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to Doug mcliberty yes thank you and

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we're hoping we can sync up with him

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sometime in the future so quick shout

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out and thank you to Doug

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now we left off with what I'm going to

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call Arlington part one

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and we are moving on to Arlington part

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two

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and we left it with some follow-up yes

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so you and I bantered about the tomb and

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the unknown and the guard yes and I

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believe that I said I thought the guard

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changed every hour and you were saying

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every 20 minutes and we discovered it

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was actually we were both right yes so

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we discovered that actually in the

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summer

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um from April 1st to September 30th they

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actually do change every 30 minutes

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and then in the winter October 1st to

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March 31st they change every hour and

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that's during regular working hours

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after Arlington closes

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at 7 pm in the summer months and 5 p.m

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in the winter months they actually

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change every two hours

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so it is it is man 24 hours and it has

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been manned for 24 hours since 1937.

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I actually looked that up uh it they

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started guarding the Tomb in 1926

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so about 11 years later they started

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with 24 hours

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um guarding but we do the the 21 seconds

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is still 21 steps 21 seconds that all is

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still the same um and because it's the

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highest honor in the military the 21 gun

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salute right and I think that's

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something that Doug had actually

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mentioned us in his email too so

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um again we mentioned it briefly we'll

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cover it a little bit more right this

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was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is

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like a memorial to everybody who never

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made it home yes

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um so we just wanted to kind of finish

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up with a follow-up and

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there are a couple things that I saw as

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well the weapon will always be facing

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the crowd

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and they do that to signify it's guarded

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oh interesting and it's only unknown

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soldiers from World War One World War II

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and Korea

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they had an unknown soldier from Vietnam

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but they were actually able to identify

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him oh interesting and his family wanted

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him to come home oh I had no idea oh wow

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so just those conflicts what were One

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World War II in Korea oh how interesting

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well

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um so Jen you know now that we've kind

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of kind of uh done that follow-up

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once you tell us who we're going to

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start off talking about today well I

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really wanted to talk about Medgar Evers

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he's somebody who was very influential

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to me

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and I was very honored to visit him in

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Arlington he is part of the tour so when

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you take the tram tour they will

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point out Medgar Evers grave

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and it is right off the main path so

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it's easy to find he does have a lot of

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stones or people have left some kind of

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memorial marker that they visited yeah

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so who is remind me who makers so Medgar

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Evers was just so influential in the

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NAACP that's right it was so we do a

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very good three-part series on Emmett

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Till and Medgar Evers was so

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instrumental in getting some of those

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Witnesses during the Emmett Till trial

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that's right he came in with the NAACP

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and they

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went out into the fields and they just

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like sharecroppers and started to ask

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questions and they were able to get

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witnesses to come forward and

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basically tell the truth of what

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happened that night and without their

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work a lot of that story never would

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have been uncovered so Medgar Evers

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he was in World War II he

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does not graduate from high school he

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joins the war before he graduates oh wow

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and he's actually in Normandy uh until

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June of 1944 he comes home finishes high

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school goes to college and then he

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starts the NAACP chapters in 1954 right

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after Brown versus the Board of

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Education which is the desegregation of

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schools right and so he's very

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instrumental in in fighting for that he

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starts boycotting restrooms in

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Mississippi that have segregated

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restrooms they boycott and they don't

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boycott the restrooms they boycott the

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gas stations or any place of business

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that has segregated restrooms he starts

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to really fight for that unfortunately

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he is murdered in his driveway while his

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children are home June 12 1963 and

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he gets full military honors he's buried

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in Arlington his wife is still alive he

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actually has a Navy ship named after him

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I think I knew that they finally did

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convict his murderer in 1994.

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but he's just somebody he just did a lot

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of anti-lynching work especially with

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Emmett Till and because that's the work

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that I did with my Master's Degree I

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just really always looked up to Medgar

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Evers and he lived in Jackson

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Mississippi

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so to be able to visit his grave in

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Arlington was just an honor for me yeah

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now was his one of the ones that was

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right next to someone else

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no he's kind of off to the right when

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you first get there and you first drive

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he's off to the right kind of by Taft I

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would say but in the President Taft area

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yes okay it's Taft is still across the

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main road

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Medgar Evers is right off like you could

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probably not even get off the tram you

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could probably see it from the tram okay

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and then uh so we did do a quick drive

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by of President Taft's we did so

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President Taft is the first president to

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be buried in Arlington he's the 27th

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president I didn't realize he was the

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very first very first because there's

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only two presidents in Arlington Taft

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and Trinity yeah and so Taft is

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in section 30 and he his wife is there

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too so Taft's wife is is instrumental in

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getting the cherry blossoms that's

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capacity she's the one who helps plant

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the cherry blossoms and not just like in

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Arlington but all around Washington DC

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yes with the Japanese Ambassador yeah

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they do it together yeah and and for

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folks if you've never been to Washington

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DC which uh there I I would I will posit

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that a lot of people have been if you're

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listening to this it's highly likely

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that you have been but if you've never

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been that's a great time of year to try

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and go

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um I was lucky enough to go to school in

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the in the greater DC area

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um not too far away anyways and uh

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the the cherry blossoms and actually our

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when we were out there it was cherry

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blossom season because we we did yeah

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you can see this cherry blossoms yeah

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there's cherry blossoms at Arlington and

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we also did like the Washington mall and

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all that stuff yeah the blossoms yes

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yeah so that the cherry blossoms was was

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pretty cool what's neat is Taft has a

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very unique memorial marker and his was

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made by a man named Frasier and Frasier

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is a pretty famous DC sculptor he's also

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he did Robert Todd Lincoln's sarcophagus

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he does the sculptor of

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Benjamin Franklin at the Franklin

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Institute is done by Frasier the the

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picture the statue of Theodore Roosevelt

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on the horse in front of the American

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History Museum that was just removed

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that was done by Frasier he did the two

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justices in front of the Supreme Court

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that was made by Frasier the Alexander

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Hamilton in front of the treasury so

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he's wow so he's he's done quite a bit

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he's pretty famous sculptor of DC so he

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has Taft and he has done Robert Todd

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Lincoln both in Arlington

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yeah so now Robert Todd Lincoln yes that

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that one was an interesting one because

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to kind of set the stage here

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right we had we had already done like

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the Washington Mall tour so obviously

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the Lincoln Memorial is a big thing and

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we had done we had recorded already

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recorded the Lincoln assassination video

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um we hadn't published it yet

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um

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but when we when you started telling me

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about Robert Todd Lincoln

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talk about someone who has was around

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like physically in locations for key

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points throughout American history so

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tell us a little bit about Robert I like

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it uh Robert Todd Lincoln is the oldest

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son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd

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Lincoln and actually it's the only son

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who survives because all three of their

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their children will meet an early end at

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different times one dies before he's in

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office one dies after he's during office

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one dies after office so did you talk

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about Abraham Abraham Lincoln yeah so

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Robert Todd

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he's just I think I learned more about

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him being in locations after I worked at

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the James Garfield house because I

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worked at the James Garfield house in

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Ohio James Garfield was the 20th

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president but also the second president

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to be assassinated and

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there's also there's four presidents

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who've been assassinated Abraham Lincoln

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James Garfield

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President William McKinley and John F

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Kennedy

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and Robert Todd Lincoln

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with has a presence in the first three

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yeah and literally physically either

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where it happens when it happened or

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obviously there was his father and he

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was at his father's side so when his

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father is shot he's actually home at the

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white house because he had just traveled

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back from Appomattox he was at the

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surrender of the Civil War and Lincoln

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has killed just within days of that

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surrender and Robert Todd had just

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traveled home on a wagon he was tired

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his parents went to the theater his

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brother goes to the theater he stays

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home and when he hears that his father's

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been shot he makes sure his brother gets

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home and then he goes to the

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The Boarding House the Peterson boarding

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house and he's with his father when he

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passes

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then

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when James Garfield is President James

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Garfield makes him his Secretary of War

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and he's with him James Garfield is

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going to the train station to convalesce

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with his wife who is recovering from

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sickness and where was he again do you

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see okay it's in Washington DC so it's

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at the train station in DC it's now

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where the I think it's the National

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Portrait Gallery is there now that's

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right where the marker is and there's

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only two little markers on the mall that

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kind of tell you that Garfield was

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assassinated here there's no Mark yeah

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what actually happened would be on the

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road and so they they think it'd be

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dangerous for tourists to know exactly

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where it would be because they would run

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out into the road but in our Garfield

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video we cut to that yeah so we talk

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about that a little bit because there

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are people who are upset that Garfield

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has no recognition of that but Robert

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Todd Lincoln was with him at the train

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station he was taking him on the train

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like and someone jumped out and Yeah

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Charles Godot shoots him and Robert Todd

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Lincoln I think he's instrumental in

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getting the gun away and I think he

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testifies as well in gudo's trial but

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he's there so that's number two that's

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number two and then McKinley which who's

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in Buffalo New York for the Pan American

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Exposition he's greeting people in the

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Hall of music and he's standing outside

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the door he's there with him and he's

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standing outside the door when he's shot

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by shalgas and so Robert Lincoln just I

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think we we kind of make fun of it but

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he also refuses any formal invitation

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after the future yeah in the future he's

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basically like listen guys you don't

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want me around presidents because for

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some reason they tend to get shy

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he is seeing he does do he does come to

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another public event when the Lincoln

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Memorial is dedicated and actually it's

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Taft who dedicates it oh wow yeah that's

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right and he does he does

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um he is present for that so he

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yeah it comes out of hiding he risks it

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sure and everything seems goes okay but

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he's buried in Arlington with his wife

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and his son his son dies young as well

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and they're in a sarcophagus all

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together it's kind of that's another one

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that's kind of a path off to the side

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that's where I'm breathing heavy because

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it's hard to find it's off to the side

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and it's kind of guarded with a lot of

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trees and shrouds so you have to really

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know where it is

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and uh but it's it's it's beautiful the

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sarcophagus is beautiful and it has his

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name on one side and his wife and son

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yeah and learning the history around him

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was was super super interesting

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especially him being present for 75

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percent of the in assassinations of

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presidential assassinations in our

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history we also talk about that when

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Arlington has actually paid for in full

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and

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America has given the money to the Lee

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family to actually own it outright it's

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Robert Todd Lincoln that gets the actual

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Deed from them because at the time he's

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again the Secretary of War so he gets

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that deed so it's very interesting that

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he receives that deed for the cemetery

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that basically starts because of the

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Civil War that his father was President

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yeah I mean he had he had some pretty

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key roles he was he's a larger character

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in history in our history than I think a

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lot of people realize yes and he's

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depicted as a Joseph Gordon-Levitt oh

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that's right Lincoln yeah yeah and you

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love you love Joseph Gordon I do I think

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he's a great actor and I think he does a

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very good job of playing him and showing

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that kind of conflict where he wants to

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fights he wants to join the war he wants

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to be a help to his father but his

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father you know they've lost children

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his mother is very frail mentally and so

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Lincoln wants to also keep him safe and

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protect him as well so

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there's kind of that conflict that's

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going on in Robert Todd's life

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especially taking care of his mother he

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will take care of his mother until she

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dies so but if you ever see Lincoln I

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think it's a great depiction of the 16th

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president yeah yeah that's a good one so

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who's uh who who are we visiting after

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that

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so I definitely wanted to we'd go to

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Glenn Miller's grave that was a cool one

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so I am a huge Glenn Miller fan I used

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to listen to his music in college while

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I would study and it was just an honor

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to visit his grave now he has a memorial

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he doesn't actually have a grave there

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are a couple memorials since his body

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was never recovered his body was never

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recovered and they don't actually

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they they don't actually know quite what

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happened wasn't he like traveling by air

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and lost over they lost contact with

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their plane so more most more than

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likely most likely it crashed in the

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water yeah and you I think you do a

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pretty good job about talking in the

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video of like hey you know he was

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traveling around Europe yes he did 35

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bases in one month so Glenn Miller goes

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into the military as a musician because

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he's too old to fight he's 40. and so

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they come in for morale play for the

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troops in World War II more than happy

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to do that yes World War II and

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he loves that so he's going around and

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Glenn Miller at the time you have to

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realize he was like a best-selling

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recording artist from 1939 to 1942. in

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four years he had 16 number one hits

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holy cow so if you think in the mood

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Moonlight Serenade yeah well and there's

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it's funny you mentioned Glenn Miller

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because even for me I don't know if I've

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ever mentioned this to you before for me

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when my youngest Years A lot of people

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who know me personally I was a gymnast

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all growing up and actually in my very

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first gymnastics center in central

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California we would go around and

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perform for schools and that was one of

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the songs was a Glenn Miller song oh

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really it was a it was very like big

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band right you know very big band type

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style and there's a bunch of you know

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kids doing gymnastics and stuff like

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that so so we would do something like

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that

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um and also one of the things I think

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that attached you to Glenn Miller if I

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remember right was Jimmy Stewart yes

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played him in a movie it's fantastic if

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you've never seen The Glenn Miller Story

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1950 three Jimmy Stewart plays him and I

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think Jimmy Stewart even learned how to

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play some instruments to play him

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because Glenn Glenn Miller played a

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couple different instruments including

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the trombone and the piano and I just

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think he looks like him he kind of

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embodies the character very well and

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it's just a great story great depiction

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when we go to the when we went to the

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Jimmy Stewart Museum they had his

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costume yeah that's right from that

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movie so if you get a chance to check

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that out that was really neat but yeah

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it was a foggy day December 15 1944 he

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was this kind of came out later but he

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was trying to rush to get to a party for

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Eisenhower because Eisenhower just was

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getting promoted and it was cold and

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they think that they froze the fuel

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intakes and they think they crashed in

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the English Channel yeah so another

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interesting thing that unless you're you

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have been in the Navy you may not know

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this but even today to come into the

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Navy as a musician isn't incredibly

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Difficult by today's standards you have

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to unless you're a singer and you're an

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out of this world singer which we

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actually know some yes

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um

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you actually have to be able to play

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like two or three instruments oftentimes

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you need to be able to read music I mean

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you can't be just a high school hobbyist

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and come into the Navy as a musician so

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I think it's kind of neat to hear that

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you know I don't I'm pretty sure he

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probably didn't come into the Navy as a

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musician but he came into the service as

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a musician because all the services that

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you know they're musicians and the

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musicians across all services are

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incredibly talented so it was cool to

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see that the Glenn Miller one yeah and

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this music still stands to test the time

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and so I I listened to him in college I

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loved his CD at the time

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but um another one that's close is Joe

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Lewis

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[Music]

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so we had talked a little bit about Lee

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Marvin in the first podcast about

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Arlington and right beside Lee Marvin is

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Joe Lewis and you won't miss that marker

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I mean it's right next to it and it's

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big and it's pink and it has a depiction

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of him and bronze in his boxing with his

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fists up and and it says Joe Lewis on it

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so you won't miss it it's actually

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easier to spot the Joe Lewis one than

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the Lee Marvin one so if you go looking

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for either of those look for the Joe

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Lewis one and leave Marvin is is next to

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that and it's right by the Tomb of the

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Unknown and I think it's also pointed

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out on the tram but Joe Lewis uh was a

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heavyweight champion of the world 1937

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to 1949 and we we kind of joke about him

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because of coming to America yes I put a

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clip in there because that was my first

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uh introduction to Joe Lewis was coming

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to America and they're talking about

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boxers yeah the Eddie Murphy movie if

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nobody's ever seen it go look it up it's

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absolutely they're arguing boxes in the

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barbershop just like old men they're

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depicting old men like what would old

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men argue about they're arguing about

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who is the best boxer of all time right

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right and of course none of these men

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some of these men have faced each other

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but none of them have all faced each

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other so in time who was the best and

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Joe Lewis comes up and so his grave is

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in Arlington because he was in the army

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during World War II he served from 1942

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to 1945.

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he had 25 title fights and like I said

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he was the heavyweight champion of the

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world

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he retires and then tries to make a

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comeback but he's not successful he

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retires at 51 and then you know just

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trying to make a comeback after 51. he's

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understandably not successful but yeah

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he's buried in Arlington he was from

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Alabama

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yeah I mean and part of the cool thing

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for me is someone who doesn't

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follow a lot of this stuff is is when

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I'm researching

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folks like Joe Lewis or Glenn Miller and

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I'm seeing kind of their their resume

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right their life in a snapshot I mean

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guys like Joe Lewis I mean absolutely

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incredible absolutely and just tough

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yeah just one of those people who just

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all around is an overachiever if you can

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imagine it's like a really tough person

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but he has

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we had talked about not all markers in

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Arlington are the same and it's

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interesting that how different some are

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and his is one that is it's it's a pink

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marble so it is it's just yeah it stands

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very different yeah no it definitely

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stands out but when you talk about the

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differences you know we talk about the

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two presidents that are there and of

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course Kennedy's

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Kennedy's is a big one right the Eternal

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Flame this is the most visited grave in

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Arlington and he had visited Arlington a

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couple months before he died and because

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you yeah that's right you told me he had

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he didn't want to be buried there

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initially well he he just never thought

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about it he was visiting I mean he was

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young so he's not thinking about his

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mortality and he said this I could see

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myself spending eternity here he says

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that that's crazy so then when he is

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assassinated his his wife wants him

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buried at Arlington and she wants

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something unique and she had remembered

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a flame an eternal flame in Greece on

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one of their visits so she had thought

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this would be a great way to honor him

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to give him an eternal flame so Robert I

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John F Kennedy has an eternal flame

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right by his grave and he's been moved a

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couple times because as family have

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passed they have kind of moved his grave

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and there are pictures Robert

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um Robert was Gerald Kennedy yeah I I

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honestly it's hard for me to keep track

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of okay I think it's Robert Fitzgerald

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Kennedy he would be there when they

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would move his grave at night oh okay so

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there's pictures you can find of him

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standing there when they would move his

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brother's grave and then when Robert is

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assassinated he's buried there Ted is

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there of course Jackie O was there

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um his

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his children that were that died very

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young are there but his son JFK Jr is

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actually

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um he was cremated and bear and spread

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over the ocean okay yeah and the setting

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of that one right and again I hadn't

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really known much about it other than he

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was there

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um the setting is just it's beautiful

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it's beautiful it's a beautiful spot to

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visit it's it's large right it's it's a

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it's a large space

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um and especially with when we were

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there with the uh the cherry blossoms it

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was it was a cool one to do that's

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that's a kind of a must visit if you're

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there it's an honor he's the 35th

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president and I always you know I always

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look up to John F Kennedy because he

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served in the Navy and he has that great

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line I can always look back on my life

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with pride and say I served in the

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United States Navy so I I love that

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about him

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we've got more Arlington videos that

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we've done we we do and we'll do some

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more videos because we've we went back

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and we spent more time with more

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connection to

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literature and media and other

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influencers and we've done another video

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so we'll we'll do another part we'll do

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some more Arlington podcast but we

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appreciate everybody uh for sticking

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with us for this this two-part podcast

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series on Arlington National Cemetery

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um and as I said on the last podcast as

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you can tell by the stories that we've

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covered and how much we've is there's a

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talk about we've only scratched the

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surface and we just mentioned another

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video that we did with more Larger than

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Life characters

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um so thank you again for listening to

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the talk with History Podcast and please

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reach out to us at our website talk with

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history.com but more importantly if you

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know someone else that might enjoy this

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podcast please share this share this

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with them especially if you think that

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today's topic would interest a friend

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shoot him a text and tell them to look

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up talk with History Podcast because we

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rely on you our community to grow and we

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appreciate you all every day we'll talk

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to you next time thank you

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[Music]

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About the Podcast

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Talk With History
A Historian and Navy Veteran talk about history inspired travels, their YouTube channel journey, and examine history through conversations with the curious, the explorers, and the history lovers out there

About your host

Profile picture for Scott Bennie

Scott Bennie

Host of the Talk With History podcast, Producer over at Walk with History on YouTube, Editor of the Hashtag Historic newsletter.