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Thread: Arlington National Cemetery Banning Bikes

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ginacico View Post
    #Lumberjack2016 !

    My Dad is an Army veteran and will end up at ANC next to Mom someday -- he's 87 and plans to live past 100.

    Mom didn't even know how to ride a bike. But both of them, presented with this "bike ban" nonsense, would tell the Department of the Army they're out of their ever-lovin' minds. I said as much, and more, in my comments. People can't pay their respects to the dead looking over a wall, and exclusion based on a mode of transportation is silly. It would be reasonable to keep a perimeter around the Tomb and other sacred spaces (better yet, install bike racks so cyclists can leave the bike and go participate), but otherwise cycling may be the perfect way to tour the cemetery and its sites. It wouldn't be hard to accomplish both and maintain the decorum.

    Despite telling us specifically not to, I copied dasgeh's first sentence (it just didn't seem to need improvement) and ad libbed the rest. However, the form still says only 2 comments have been received, and I'm worried it got passed over. Hopefully someone on that end is actually reading them.
    I think they don't update the number of comments until the next day. Although I can't remember the exact specifics of regulations.gov. But they're required to accept all of the comments during the comment period and review them (which they seem to take to mean very different things). So it's helpful when we all make our voices heard and the various walks of life we come from.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLizotte View Post
    I think there is a difference between a military cemetery and a "regular" one. The former has soldiers that have made the ultimate sacrifice, often at a very young age, in battle (sometimes controversial battles). Furthermore, viewing all of the gravestones is a reminder of the insanity and brutality of war. I suspect the soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier would not take too kindly to seeing people frolicking nearby. And let's not forget the frequency of burials that occur there. I think some places should remain solemn because their message needs to be heard and it is not a happy one. War should never be celebrated.
    I think the current trend toward distancing the american public from the reality of war is more counterproductive than not as far as hearing a message--shut it up behind a wall, make sure nobody has to see it, and we can all pretend it didn't happen. As a society we seem to be very long on ceremony and symbolism and slogans and very short on meaningful conversation and introspection. Anyway, I personally find people engaged in active remembrance of departed loved ones to be far more moving than an empty sterile cemetery presented as a museum with no connection to the present day. Reasonable people can disagree, but it's not fair to say that there's only one correct way to present a national cemetery and anything else is wrong and disrespectful. Again, this is a point on which people can disagree, but I think it's generally unreasonable to decide that someone else is being disrespectful without knowing what's actually going on in their head, just because they do things differently.

  3. #23
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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Quote Originally Posted by KLizotte View Post
    I think there is a difference between a military cemetery and a "regular" one. The former has soldiers that have made the ultimate sacrifice, often at a very young age, in battle (sometimes controversial battles). Furthermore, viewing all of the gravestones is a reminder of the insanity and brutality of war. I suspect the soldiers guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier would not take too kindly to seeing people frolicking nearby. And let's not forget the frequency of burials that occur there. I think some places should remain solemn because their message needs to be heard and it is not a happy one. War should never be celebrated.

    As a corollary, I visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe Memorial in Berlin last year for the first time. I was disturbed that so many tourists, especially teenagers, were treating the memorial like a playground. Not only did they refuse to take a mere five minutes out of their fun to reflect on why the memorial was there, they showed great disrespect to those that were murdered as was noted by some nearby Holocaust survivors that were also visiting.
    I hear you, but I think the real danger comes from excluding the military and the effects of war from our everyday lives. I was never more aware of the consequences of our military endeavors than when my daily commute was through ANC, and I could literally see when surges were happening, based on the earliest burials. If they ban bikes, then fewer people will interact with the cemetery, and as we all know, out of sight means out of mind.

    Everyone reflects and takes in information differently. I know I acted differently when I visited a concentration camp the first time, when I was 16, then when I was older. But that doesn't mean it didn't effect me. If someone would have banned the group of teenagers I was on that first trip from Dachau because we looked like we were enjoying ourselves, we all would have been the poorer for missing the experience. (And yes, I recognize there is a line that can be crossed. I just don't think people on bikes, or smiling teenagers, crosses it).

  4. #24
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    We are talking about riding through the cemetery, not around the outside, right? I thought that most roads inside the cemetery were already off-limits to bicycles, or that you could go one-way on certain routes during certain hours only.

    Who owns/maintains the trail by Rt 110 between Memorial Bride and Netherlands Carrilion / Iwo Jima?

  5. #25
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    As a military retiree who has ridden his commuter bicycle in Arlington National Cemetery along the authorized route, I'd like to comment.

    Someone must certainly have shown disrespect, somewhere, for the Army to need to change their existing decades-long bicycle policy. I certainly hope that Congress can petition for more information on who exactly is showing disrespect in riding a bicycle according to existing policies. At present, the only individuals permitted to ride on Arlington Cemetery are those who are authorized to enter from Fort Myer/Henderson Hall, and who can then proceed along a long-designated and marked route downhill to the entrance.

    So who are the bicycle riders who were disruptive or who showed disrespect, and what are the statistics? Since Fort Myer requires some form of official U.S. Government ID to enter, these would be the main categories:
    Active Duty --
    Retired --
    Military dependents --
    Other U.S. government personnel --
    Guests of the above --

    How do those statistics compare to the rest of the population visiting the cemetery?

    If the answer is an awkward silence, then that will speak volumes.

    I certainly hope our comments can help Representative Don Beyer fight this change. Thanks again to his staff for bringing this effort to light of day.


    In fact, I would hope we could propose this change

    Specifically, no person shall:

    (8) Ride a bicycle or similar conveyance in an Army National Military Cemetery, except on a road or path, at all times yielding right of way to pedestrians.

    instead of:

    (8) Ride a bicycle or similar conveyance in an Army National Military Cemetery, except with a proper pass issued by the Executive Director to visit a gravesite or niche. An individual visiting a relative's gravesite or niche may be issued a temporary pass by the Executive Director to proceed directly to and from the gravesite or niche on a bicycle or similar vehicle or conveyance.

    and

    (10) Drive any vehicle within an Army National Military Cemetery in excess of 15 miles per hour or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower.

    instead of:

    (10) Drive any motor vehicle within an Army National Military Cemetery in excess of the posted speed limit.

  6. #26
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    I've been yelled at several times by the guards out front for even approaching the anc gates on my bike (while I was heading in towards the museum to get some water).

    I've personally driven forklifts and trucks and trailers with abandon in and around the place, seen how grave stones there were realigned for aesthetic purposes, etc. during a project for a former employer, and just don't tend to agree with the bullshit you get out of organizations in charge of places like this in general, so this whole thing really rubs me the wrong way.

    What do bikes bring to the situation that they can't deal with? ANC should be easily accessible by the public and it and the military base around it should be fully integrated into the fabric of the community, any other situation is ridiculous. If a whole area intended to honor our nation's history isn't accessible to the public as a whole, especially if it is inserted in the middle of thriving interactive communities like a giant blobby impenetrable roadblock like it currently is, what good is it?

  7. #27
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    Steve O is offline 5000+ Posts? The first step to beating addiction is admitting you have one.
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    Of course, one can always just choose to break the law--particularly if one is in the middle of a crazy Freezing Saddles side bet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve O View Post
    Taft
    Attachment 4603

    (May I point out that I had to BREAK THE LAW in order to get this photo--at least according to the Cemetery security guard I chatted with on the way out)

  8. #28
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    I've got three relatives buried at ANC, and I don't think that riding a bike through somehow disrespects them. I bike through all the time. No idea why someone would think that those silly tour buses are more "respectful" than bikers.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mello yello View Post
    We are talking about riding through the cemetery, not around the outside, right? I thought that most roads inside the cemetery were already off-limits to bicycles, or that you could go one-way on certain routes during certain hours only.

    Who owns/maintains the trail by Rt 110 between Memorial Bride and Netherlands Carrilion / Iwo Jima?
    Yes, we're talking about being able to bike through the cemetery. The 110 Trail is maintained by Arlington County (though I believe owned by VDOT). The trails along 50 are owned and "maintained" by VDOT. While those may help you get around the cemetery to the north, if you're starting on the other side, there aren't good options. Not to mention that any going around adds significant distance.


    Quote Originally Posted by napes View Post
    As a military retiree who has ridden his commuter bicycle in Arlington National Cemetery along the authorized route, I'd like to comment.
    Just making sure you added your comments on regulations.gov. Posting on this forum doesn't do much.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Not to mention that any going around adds significant distance.
    Im always looking for an excuse to ride more. I'm pro more large cemeteries in Arlington.


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