Northern Virginia Driving Tour

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    The "Cradle of Victory" World War II Heritage Trail honors "America's Greatest Generation" with places that tell their stories of World War II.

    Alexandria

    Artist at the Torpedo Arts Factory

    Visit the U.S. Naval Torpedo Station, which is now the Torpedo Factory Art Center. During World War II, it employed 6,000 munitions workers who built the Mark XIV torpedo. Be sure to see an actual torpedo, mementos and a guidance gyroscope.

    See Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighy House, the only Wright-designed structure in the Washington area that is open to the public. Learn how this extraordinary house was built at an extraordinary time — 1940 — and take

    While still in Alexandria, visit Fort Hunt Park, a former World War II Prisoner of War interrogation camp. Situated along the Potomac River, it was once part of George Washington's estate. Next door is Mount Vernon, the beautiful estate and gardens of George and Martha Washington.

    Arlington

    Soldier at the Iwo Jima Memorial

    Travel north to Arlington and visit Arlington National Cemetery and Fort Meyer. Many Five-Star Generals and Admirals from World War II are buried at Arlington, and it is a special place to honor our nation's soldiers.

    The U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial — Iwo Jima Memorial is at Arlington, too. It was inspired by the Pulitzer Prize-winning photo of five Marines and one Navy hospital corpsman who raised the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima during the Battle for the Pacific.

    Next to the Marine Corps Memorial is the Netherlands Carillon, a gift to the United States from the Dutch in gratitude for American aid received during and after World War II.

    Court of Valor at the Women's Memorial

    While at Arlington, visit the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, which honors military women of the past, present and future. The heart of the memorial is a computerized register containing 250,000 women's stories.

    The Pentagon is currently closed to individual visitors, but group tours can be arranged. With the onset of World War II, construction of the Pentagon began on Sept. 11, 1941. Sadly, it was the target of terrorists 60 years later on Sept. 11, 2001.

    If you have time to go a bit further north, visit General George C. Marshall's Dodona Manor in Leesburg.

    Dulles

    At Dulles, visit the National Air & Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center. See 10 significant World War II aircraft. You'll want to spend plenty of time here. At the Herndon Dulles Visitors Center, see artifacts from the U.S.S. Herndon, a U.S. Navy Destroyer that participated in invasions of Sicily, Normandy and southern France.

    Quantico

    entrance of the National Museum of the Marine Corps

    Travel south on I-95 to Fort Belvoir, the training site for the U.S. Army's engineering soldiers. By the end of the war, more than 147,000 engineering troops had passed through the fort. They were trained in reconnaissance, demolition, and road and obstacle construction.

    Further south on I-95 is Quantico Marine Corps Base, which is open to the public with identification. Quantico has been the "frontline of innovation" and was the place where amphibious warfare was conceived and perfected in preparation for World War II. Visit Quantico National Cemetery on the base, too.

    In nearby Prince William County, see Prince William Forest National Park, Training Ground of the OSS during World War II. The OSS was the predecessor of the CIA and various military Special Forces units during World War II.

    Another highlight and not-to-be-missed site is the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Last Updated: 3/29/2011 3:03 PM
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