When you drive through the gates of Fort Myer and see the historic brick buildings and Victorian style mansions on Generals Row you realize that this post may be a bit different than any others where you may have visited before. From the civil war when the post, then called Fort Whipple defended Washington DC from the Confederate Army to today the traditions of the Army stand strong.
Fort Myer is home to the US Army School of Music and The Old Guard the Army's premier ceremonial unit. Driving through Fort Myer you will find stables for the horses and the caisson used for both military and Presidential funerals. The most famous horse remembered from the Old Guard in Black Jack the riderless horse seen in the funerals of presidents John F. Kennedy, Herbert Hoover and Lyndon Johnson.
How the land that makes up the Army post as well as surrounding Arlington Cemetery came into the possession of the US Government is an interesting piece of US history. Originally owned by Mary Ann Randolph who married Robert E. Lee, the land was confiscated by the government when the Lee's were unable to pay the property taxes. When the government took the land they created Arlington Cemetery and Fort Myer. The Custis-Lee Mansion still stands on the Arlington Cemetery portion of the land.
If the information that the land that comprises the Fort Myer came to the US by tax confiscation isn't enough history it is also the site of the first military aircraft flight by Orville Wright and the site of the first military aircraft fatality. On the second flight attempt Orville Wright was injured and Lt. Selfridge was killed. So much for the fame of Kitty Hawk!
Fort Myer offers breathtaking views of the Air Force Memorial, Washington Monument and Arlington Cemetery at various locations throughout the post. If you find yourself with orders to Fort Myer then be ready for a treat. It may be small but the history and tradition connected with the post are some of the oldest in the US.
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