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(Updated at 3:50 p.m.) A new exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery honors the contributions of servicewomen of color to the United States.

The exhibit, called “The Color of Freedom: Honoring the Diversity of America’s Servicewomen,” opened over the weekend at the Military Women’s Memorial, located at the end of Memorial Avenue near the cemetery’s main entrance.

Arlington resident Rita Paul, who joined the military as a single mother and spent nine years in the U.S. Army, welcomed the news of the exhibit.

“Right now, it is hard to see what is going on in our country surrounding people of color, specifically women,” Paul said. “As a servicewoman, there has always been a sense of honor and pride, and I think now, more than ever, if we can highlight the importance of positive representation, it will help make a difference.”

After retiring from the military, she started working for Comcast, which is sponsoring the exhibit.

“Women veterans of color have and will continue to play an integral role in our nation’s military and service institutions,” said Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Carol Eggert, Senior Vice President of Military & Veteran Affairs at Comcast NBCUniversal, in a statement. “We’re proud to elevate their voices and stories of service to our nation’s defense.”

Visitors to The Color of Freedom will also have access to an educational program for students, a speaker forum and a digital exhibit.

“This exhibit is a perfect example of the extraordinary, yet untold story of the thousands of women of color who for decades upon decades have made remarkable contributions to our military and to America,” said Phyllis Wilson, President at the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation.

The Military Women’s Memorial recently announced the National Registration campaign to preserve the stories of the three million women who have served in the military.

Those planning a visit can reserve timed tickets for free.

Photo via Military Women’s Memorial/Facebook

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(Updated 4:30 p.m. 3/11/21) Although it might not be a normal St. Patrick’s Day, local restaurants and bars are finding a way to celebrate.

The pandemic was not kind to Arlington restaurants. At least 26 places have closed since last March, including the Pentagon City Irish pub Siné (though a replacement is trying to open soon).

The lockdown started right before St. Patrick’s Day last year, canceling the festivities at Ireland’s Four Courts in Courthouse and other popular mid-March gathering spots.

This year, local restaurants are finding ways to safely celebrate. Rather than packing in shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, as might happen during the before times, most places are requiring or highly recommending reservations due to limited capacity. Some have expanded their outdoor seating and some are spreading out their celebration over a few days to avoid crowding.

Below is a list of some local restaurants that are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in Arlington this year.

Celtic House (2500 Columbia Pike) The Celtic House will be celebrating its Irish roots with an extended St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The festivities will kick off on Friday, March 12 and conclude on Wednesday, March 17. A full Irish menu and specials will be available. Reservations are highly advised due to limited capacity. For information call (703) 746-9644.

Ireland’s Four Courts (2051 Wilson Blvd) Celebrating its 26th St. Patrick’s Day, Four Courts is ready to pick up where it left off last year. The pub will be celebrating March 13-15 and on March 17. There will be Irish dancers on the patio in the afternoon. Due to the pandemic, bar seating will be closed and there will be no live music inside. Making reservations is highly encouraged due to limited seating. For information call (703) 525-3600.

McNamara’s Pub & Restaurant (567 23rd Street S.) — The festivities start early at McNamara’s this year with doors opening at 9 a.m. on March 17. Because of the pandemic, there is a two-hour limit at tables, and reservations are highly recommended. The patio will be open, weather permitting. For information call (703) 302-3760.

O’Sullivan’s Irish Pub (3207 Washington Blvd) O’Sullivan’s has three days of live music and Irish celebrations lined up. On Friday, March 12, Britton James will be performing at 8 p.m. On Saturday, March 13, Uncle Jesse will be performing at 8 p.m. On March 17, Irish dancers will perform at 2 p.m, Pete Baker will perform at 3 p.m. and Willem Dicke will perform at 6 p.m. Their traditional Irish menu will feature dishes such as their homemade Irish bread topped with smoked salmon, corned beef, beef and Guinness stew, and fish & chips. First come, first serve. For information call (703) 812-0939.

Samuel Beckett’s Irish Gastro Pub (2800 S. Randolph Street) – Samuel Beckett’s will open its doors from 10 a.m. to midnight on March 17. There will be Irish dancers at 5 p.m., as well as live music from Eddie Pasa at 5:30 p.m. If you are not comfortable eating in the pub, Samuel Beckett’s is offering “Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Home” kits. Family-style meals (serving six people) will be offered as well as a limited supply of Jameson cocktail kits. Orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance. For information or to order the at-home St. Patrick’s Day kit call (703) 379-0122.

Whitlow’s On Wilson (2854 Wilson Blvd) — Whitlow’s will kick off the St. Patrick’s Day festivities with a live music performance from DjKillabeats24 on Saturday, March 13. On March 17, Irish food will be available along with live music from Timmie Metz featuring Tambo starting at 6 p.m. The rooftop will also be open for patrons, weather permitting. For information call (703) 276-9693.

File photo

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Arlington’s Ellie McGinn and her family recently raised nearly half a million dollars to fund research into Ellie’s rare degenerative brain and spinal cord disease.

Ellie, 12, has lived with LBSL (leukoencephalopathy with brain stem and spinal cord involvement and lactate elevation) for the last 10 years. It affects fewer than 100 people worldwide and currently has no cure. Her family has been actively fundraising for a cure since 2013.

This year’s all-virtual efforts in honor of Rare Disease Day on Feb. 28 drew a total of $400,000 in donations from around the world. Last Wednesday, the McGinn family awarded the money to the Moser Center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, which is currently developing and testing new drug therapies that could lead to a cure for LBSL.

“We know they want to find answers as badly as we do,” said Ellie’s mother, Beth, about the team at the Moser Center. “We are just so incredibly grateful to have this brilliant team of researchers working toward a cure for Ellie and others like her.”

Her parents, Beth and Mike, have raised nearly $2 million for LBSL research through their family foundation, A Cure for Ellie.

The McGinn family took its annual 5K through Fairlington online this year, and leaned into other online fundraising opportunities, including a Giving Tuesday campaign and social media outreach. Ellie and her sister Vivian even ran a Facebook live fundraiser in which they poked fun of their parents — throwing eggs at them or forcing them to eat hot peppers — when certain fundraising goals were reached.

“It was great fun and the audience stayed engaged,” Beth said.

But the family yearns for a return to in-person activities and is awaiting news on Ellie’s disease.

“We miss parties, and we miss the annual Fairlington 5K and Silent Auction,” her parents said in a Facebook post. “We miss all of you.”

Sometime this month, the family will receive a formal update on the ongoing research, the post said.

“We haven’t had one since last fall when the team was able to go back into the lab and safely resume work,” the parents wrote. “We are told there is good news and bad news. Not sure what that will mean for Ellie and the other families like us but we know that even in failure the scientists are learning.”

Since her diagnosis, Ellie launched a social media campaign to rename the illness “The Awesome Disease.” She and her family were awarded the National Organization for Rare Disorders’ “Rare Impact Award” and appeared on “The Today Show.”

The A Cure for Ellie Foundation will continue to fundraise and spread awareness for the “Awesome Disease” to help find a cure. Upcoming events, more information on Ellie and LBSL, and how to donate can found on the foundation’s website.

Photos via Vimeo

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When future Arlingtonians look back at last year, what are some items that will tell the story?

The Center for Local History at the Arlington Public Library is curating a time capsule of 2020. The project is titled, 2020 Unboxed, and will contain objects representing life in Arlington during the momentous year.

The themes for the collection include:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • Racial justice and civic unrest
  • Arlington County’s naming centennial
  • The 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage
  • The 2020 Census

“The time capsule is a snapshot of today as well as a gift for the future, preserving an account of a particular period in time,” said library director Diane Kresh, in a press release.

The Center for Local History will be reaching out to community organizations and leaders to collect items for the project, but residents are encouraged to donate objects that demonstrate how life in Arlington was affected or altered by the pandemic as well.

Submissions can be made online or mailed to Arlington Public Library (P.O. Box 3655, Arlington, VA 22203). All submissions that are donated will not be returned.

The items will be collected for the next nine months, through September.

The time capsule collection will be exhibited online in October during American Archives Month. After the exhibit period ends the time capsule will be sealed and stored in the Arlington Community Archives for preservation and future research.

The library’s COVID-19 archives website has more information on the project.

Arlington is no stranger to time capsules, though sometimes a time capsule stays stored long enough that most people forget about it.

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At least 25 restaurants have closed in Arlington since the start of the pandemic, nearly one year ago.

The restaurants that have closed their doors run the gamut from local watering holes to workday lunch spots to a neighborhood froyo stop. Many were hit hard by the the loss of business caused by the pandemic and subsequent safety measures, though some might have closed regardless.

The loss of any local business is upsetting, but which of the following closures are you most sad about?

Hannah Foley contributed to this report

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