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Arlington National Cemetery

Monday May 12, 2014

What is it?

For 150 years, Arlington National Cemetery has been the nation’s most hallowed ground. It is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families. The cemetery bears witness to the American heritage and the service and sacrifice of men and women in uniform throughout the nation’s history. On May 13, 1864, Army Pvt. William Christman was laid to rest on what is now called Arlington National Cemetery.

What has the Army done?

To accommodate the increasing causalities from the Civil War, which were outpacing other Washington-D.C.-based cemeteries, the Army recognized the need for an additional burial space. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs selected a portion of land from the Arlington Plantation, which was vacated by the family of Robert E. Lee, for burial grounds. Arlington was established as a national cemetery on June 15, 1864. At the end of the Civil War, 15,500 Union Civil War troops were buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

Arlington National Cemetery will host a series of special events from May through June 2014 designed to honor the traditions, remember the sacrifice and explore the rich history of the cemetery as it commemorates its 150th anniversary. Events include wreath laying ceremonies, informative lectures and tours, and an evening program on Friday, June 13, that is a musical and historic tribute to Arlington’s past, present and future.

Why is this important to the Army?

The history of the nation can be seen every day at the cemetery – America’s heroes are buried here from every American conflict, from the Revolutionary War to the conflicts of the 21st century. The Army is privileged to serve the nation as caretakers of the nation’s most sacred shrine at Arlington.


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