Arlington, Virginia: A Nation’s Pride

Arlington, Virginia: A Nation's Pride

Arlington, Virginia conjures visions of things in today’s world. The most notably might be the Arlington National Cemetery, but there is a rich history in the forming of the city of Arlington. The city skyline is a blend of the past, present and future; greatly influenced by its proximity to the nation’s capital and the government itself. The many colleges and Marymount University contribute to the city’s intense love of education and sports; specifically football and baseball. However, the city’s past may surprise you to find out that it was actually formed to avoid a potential conflict on the topic of slavery.

The lands now known as Arlington, Virginia were originally part of the British territory. Named after the Duke of Arlington, the land held the plantations of the family and was passed down to successive generations. The controversies occurred when land was handed back and forth, due to the delicate topic of the abolition of slavery at the time. The confusion eventually was settled and it became home to many of our nation’s most well known founders.

The hope of the residents of the Arlington area was that the government interests would catapult their town into more prosperity. This was a long time in the making as many towns and cities were jockeying for the same success and competition was fierce. The political climate of their County towards the abolition of slavery also meant that as a major slave market area, the county would experience a decline. This political time of turmoil is known as the retrocession, and forever marked Alexandra County with a negative past.

As a state, Virginia became a member of the Confederate group. The residents were then required by the U.S. Government to pay their property taxes in person. This caused some of the land holders to lose their estates and they then fell under ownership of the U.S. Government. Later years resulted in the return of the land to the rightful owners, but some of the initial damage had already been done. During the war, the original estate of the founders was donated to become Arlington National Cemetery.

Post war times were better for Arlington, as the city began to grow. Again, the close proximity to the nation’s capital offered the addition of infrastructure to support the blossoming community. Electric trolley cars were seen in the town, along with a rapid building of schools, Marymount University, hospitals, museums and, of course, government institutions. While baseball was the top pre-war sport for entertainment, it gained increased popularity after the war and football also showed high attendance for games.

The Pentagon was built in 1943 in Arlington and is one of the most recognized structures in the world. This laid the grounds for continued government influence in the Arlington area and other branches of the U.S. Government in support of the national efforts.

The people of Arlington take great pride in the vast history and much of the area is dotted with notable museums and monuments. Many of the visitors to the nation’s capital often include a tour of the city of Arlington as part of the historic trail. Arlington has become a founding location for some of the best colleges and universities in the country. It is not surprising that the people of Arlington take such pride in their city and their sports teams. The games are always filled and scoreboards lit.

The Arlington National Cemetery has remained a place of beauty and peace for the burial of those members of the armed forces that have served their country. It is a place that reflects the balance of quiet of those that have passed blended with the enlivened attitude in every day life. From the cultural events to the battles of the sports teams; scoreboards light the way of life today in Arlington.


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