Washington, DC Military Attractions

As the nation's capital city, and located in the heart of important battle sites and event locations that shaped the United States, Washington DC, has much to offer visitors in terms of history. Washington, DC, is full of patriotic symbols, famous sights, must-see museums and free attractions for the whole family. With lots of history, and especially military history, within the city and nearby, visitors with a concise background of military history will be better able to appreciate the importance of the monuments and notable sites in Washington, DC.

The Military History of Washington, DC

  • Since our nation was born out of the expansion of Europe (and specifically, England) into the New World, the American military is a blend of European traditions and American ingenuity. As the goals of the mother country no longer matched those of her New World colonies an ocean away, and as Britain's victory in the Seven Years' War suppressed French advances, the colonists began to see themselves as a distinct and independent body, separate from England. They formed into militias, and fought bravely at the first battles of Lexington and Concord; the momentum carried, and the colonists won their nation's independence. Through this process, the nation's leaders saw the need for an always-ready, ever-protective and multi-faceted military.

Significant Eras in American Military History

  • Throughout our nation's history, the leaders of the United States have been able to call on the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces to serve, protect and defend its citizens and homefront. According to Samuel P. Huntington, of the U.S. Naval Institute, there have been three basic periods in our military perspective and history. The first, between 1775 and the 1890s, was based on a narrow scope of interest, mostly dealing only with conflicts that originated in North America. The second period of military history, between the 1890s and 1945, saw a slight growth in interests but operations were largely centered on the ocean as the U.S. began to prevent threats from ever reaching the U.S. (or even the Western Hemisphere). The third phase, beginning in 1945 and continuing to the present day, has the broadest scope yet, as our nation confronts threats all the way to the edge of Eurasia.

To recall the major battles and wars in our nation's history means taking a trip back to the 1700s and continuing up to the present day:

  • War of Independence: 1777-1785
  • The Mexican War: mid-1830s
  • The Civil War: 1861-1865
  • Indian Wars: 1865-1890
  • World War I: 1914-1918
  • World War II: 1939-1945
  • The Cold War: 1945-1950
  • The Korean War: 1950-1953
  • The Vietnam War: 1954-1956
  • Present operations all over the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan

Such a rich history is waiting to be discovered in the nation's capital city. Famous historical sites and museums include:

  • African American Civil War Museum
  • DAR Museum
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • National Museum of American History
  • Navy Museum
  • U.S. Military District of Washington Public Affairs
  • Vietnam Veteran's Memorial 
  • National Mall

Combining a basic understanding of our nation's military history with the firsthand opportunity to visit these national landmarks, visitors of all ages will come to a new appreciation for our country, for democracy and for the selfless sacrifice made by our nation's military to protect the American way of life and ideals. Get your Washington, DC vacation started today! Take a look at our top Washington DC hotels.

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