Arlington National Cemetery
Overview
 
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The land that became Arlington was originally donated by Virginia to the United States government to form part of the new federal capital district. On February 27, 1801, the United States Congress organized the area as a subdivision of...

, is a military cemetery
United States National Cemetery
"United States National Cemetery" is a designation for 146 nationally important cemeteries in the United States. A National Cemetery is generally a military cemetery containing the graves of U.S. military personnel, veterans and their spouses but not exclusively so...

 in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 on the grounds of Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 general Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

's wife Mary Anna (Custis) Lee
Mary Anna Custis Lee
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee was the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.-Biography:Mary Anna Custis Lee was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's step-grandson and adopted son and founder of Arlington House, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter...

, a great grand-daughter of Martha Washington
Martha Washington
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is considered to be the first First Lady of the United States...

. The cemetery is situated directly across the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 from the Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is an American memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor of the main statue was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 It is served by the Arlington Cemetery
Arlington Cemetery (Washington Metro)
Arlington Cemetery is a side platformed Washington Metro station in Arlington, Virginia, United States. The station was opened on July 1, 1977, and is operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority . The station provides service for only the Blue Line, and is located at the entrance...

 station on the Blue Line of the Washington Metro
Washington Metro
The Washington Metro, commonly called Metro, and unofficially Metrorail, is the rapid transit system in Washington, D.C., United States, and its surrounding suburbs. It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority , which also operates Metrobus service under the Metro name...

 system.

In an area
Area
Area is a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional surface or shape in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat...

 of 624 acres (2.5 km²), veterans and military casualties from each of the nation's wars are interred in the cemetery, ranging from the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 through to the military actions in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 and Iraq.
Encyclopedia
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The land that became Arlington was originally donated by Virginia to the United States government to form part of the new federal capital district. On February 27, 1801, the United States Congress organized the area as a subdivision of...

, is a military cemetery
United States National Cemetery
"United States National Cemetery" is a designation for 146 nationally important cemeteries in the United States. A National Cemetery is generally a military cemetery containing the graves of U.S. military personnel, veterans and their spouses but not exclusively so...

 in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 on the grounds of Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 general Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

's wife Mary Anna (Custis) Lee
Mary Anna Custis Lee
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee was the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.-Biography:Mary Anna Custis Lee was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's step-grandson and adopted son and founder of Arlington House, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter...

, a great grand-daughter of Martha Washington
Martha Washington
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is considered to be the first First Lady of the United States...

. The cemetery is situated directly across the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 from the Lincoln Memorial
Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial is an American memorial built to honor the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The architect was Henry Bacon, the sculptor of the main statue was Daniel Chester French, and the painter of the interior...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 It is served by the Arlington Cemetery
Arlington Cemetery (Washington Metro)
Arlington Cemetery is a side platformed Washington Metro station in Arlington, Virginia, United States. The station was opened on July 1, 1977, and is operated by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority . The station provides service for only the Blue Line, and is located at the entrance...

 station on the Blue Line of the Washington Metro
Washington Metro
The Washington Metro, commonly called Metro, and unofficially Metrorail, is the rapid transit system in Washington, D.C., United States, and its surrounding suburbs. It is administered by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority , which also operates Metrobus service under the Metro name...

 system.

In an area
Area
Area is a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional surface or shape in the plane. Area can be understood as the amount of material with a given thickness that would be necessary to fashion a model of the shape, or the amount of paint necessary to cover the surface with a single coat...

 of 624 acres (2.5 km²), veterans and military casualties from each of the nation's wars are interred in the cemetery, ranging from the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 through to the military actions in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

 and Iraq. Pre-Civil War dead were reinterred after 1900.

Arlington National Cemetery and United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery
United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery
United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery, in Washington, D.C., is located next to the Armed Forces Retirement Home. It is one of only two national cemeteries administered by the Department of the Army—the other being Arlington National Cemetery...

 are administered by the Department of the Army
United States Department of the Army
The Department of the Army is one of the three military departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Army is the Federal Government agency which the United States Army is organized within, and it is led by the Secretary of the Army who has...

. The other national cemeteries are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense...

 or by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

. Arlington House (Custis-Lee Mansion) and its grounds are administered by the National Park Service as a memorial to Lee.

History

George Washington Parke Custis
George Washington Parke Custis
George Washington Parke Custis , the step-grandson of United States President George Washington, was a nineteenth-century American writer, orator, and agricultural reformer.-Family:...

, grandson of Martha Washington
Martha Washington
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is considered to be the first First Lady of the United States...

, acquired the land that now is Arlington National Cemetery in 1802, and began construction of Arlington House
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, formerly named the Custis-Lee Mansion, is a Greek revival style mansion located in Arlington, Virginia, USA that was once the home of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. It overlooks the Potomac River, directly across from the National Mall in Washington,...

. The estate passed to Custis' and his wife's (Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis
Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis
Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis was an Episcopal lay leader in Alexandria County...

) only surviving adult child Mary Anna Custis Lee
Mary Anna Custis Lee
Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee was the wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.-Biography:Mary Anna Custis Lee was the only surviving child of George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's step-grandson and adopted son and founder of Arlington House, and Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, daughter...

who was married to Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

, a West Point graduate and United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 officer. When Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter is a Third System masonry coastal fortification located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. The fort is best known as the site upon which the shots initiating the American Civil War were fired, at the Battle of Fort Sumter.- Construction :...

 was forced to surrender at the beginning of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, President Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 offered Lee command of the federal army. Lee demurred, waiting to see if his native Virginia would decide to secede.

When Virginia announced its decision, Lee resigned his commission and took command of the armed forces of the Commonwealth of Virginia, later becoming commander of the Army of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia
The Army of Northern Virginia was the primary military force of the Confederate States of America in the Eastern Theater of the American Civil War, as well as the primary command structure of the Department of Northern Virginia. It was most often arrayed against the Union Army of the Potomac...

. He quickly established himself as an able commander, defeating a series of Union generals, until his final defeat and surrender at the McLean House. Because of this decision and subsequent performance, Lee was regarded as disloyal by most Union officers. The decision was made to appropriate a portion of Arlington as a graveyard primarily for Union dead.

American military cemeteries developed from the duty of commanders on the frontier and in battle to care for their casualties. When Civil War casualties overflowed hospitals and burial grounds near Washington, D.C., Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs
Montgomery C. Meigs
Montgomery Cunningham Meigs was a career United States Army officer, civil engineer, construction engineer for a number of facilities in Washington, D.C., and Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army during and after the American Civil War....

 proposed in 1864 that 200 acres (80.9 ha) of the Robert E. Lee family property at Arlington be confiscated for a cemetery.

The government acquired Arlington at tax sale in 1864 for $26,800, equal to $ today. Mrs. Lee had not appeared in person, but rather had sent an agent, attempting to timely pay the $92.07 in property taxes (equal to $ today) assessed the estate. The government turned away her agent, refusing to accept the tendered payment. In 1874, Custis Lee, heir under his grandfather's will passing the estate in trust to his mother, sued the United States claiming ownership of Arlington. After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Lee's favor in United States v. Lee
United States v. Lee
United States v. Lee, 106 U.S. 196 , is a 5-to-4 ruling by the United States Supreme Court which held that the Constitution's prohibition on lawsuits against the federal government did not extend to officers of the government themselves. The case involved the heir of Mary Anna Custis Lee, wife of...

, deciding that Arlington had been confiscated without due process, Congress returned the estate to him. The next year, Custis Lee sold it back to the government for $150,000 (equal to $ today) at a signing ceremony with Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln
Robert Todd Lincoln
Robert Todd Lincoln was an American lawyer and Secretary of War, and the first son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln...

.

Military burials were previously held at the United States Soldiers' National Cemetery
United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery
United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery, in Washington, D.C., is located next to the Armed Forces Retirement Home. It is one of only two national cemeteries administered by the Department of the Army—the other being Arlington National Cemetery...

 in Washington, D.C., but it was quickly filling. "We pray for those who lost their lives," Meigs wrote, "The grounds about the mansion are admirably adapted to such a use." Burials had, in fact, begun at Arlington before the ink was even blotted on Meigs's proposal.

The southern portion of the land now occupied by the cemetery was used during and after the Civil War as a settlement for freed slaves. More than 1,100 freed slaves were given land at Freedman's Village by the government, where they farmed and lived during and after the Civil War. They were evicted in 1888 when the estate was repurchased by the government and dedicated as a military installation.

President Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

 conducted the first national Memorial Day ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, on May 30, 1929.

Sections

Arlington National Cemetery is divided into 70 sections, with some sections in the southeast portion of the cemetery reserved for future expansion. Section 60, in the southeast part of the cemetery, is the burial ground for military personnel killed in the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. In 2005, Arlington National Cemetery acquired 12 acres (4.9 ha) of additional land from the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

, along with 17 acres (6.9 ha) from the Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 that was part of Fort Myer
Fort Myer
Fort Myer is a U.S. Army post adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. It is a small post by U.S...

 and 44 acres (17.8 ha) that is the site of the Navy Annex.

Section 21, also known as the Nurses Section, is the area of Arlington National Cemetery where many nurses are buried and is the site of the Nurses Memorial. Another section—Chaplains Hill—includes monuments to Jewish, Protestant, and Roman Catholic military chaplain
Military chaplain
A military chaplain is a chaplain who ministers to soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and other members of the military. In many countries, chaplains also minister to the family members of military personnel, to civilian noncombatants working for military organizations and to civilians within the...

s. In 1901, Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 soldiers buried at the Soldiers' Home and various locations within Arlington were reinterred in a Confederate section that was authorized by Congress in 1900. On June 4, 1914, the United Daughters of the Confederacy
United Daughters of the Confederacy
The United Daughters of the Confederacy is a women's heritage association dedicated to honoring the memory of those who served in the military and died in service to the Confederate States of America . UDC began as the National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy, organized in 1894 by...

 dedicated a monument designed by Moses Ezekiel. Upon his death in 1917, Ezekiel was buried at the base of the monument as he was a veteran of the Confederate army. All Confederate headstones in this section are peaked rather than rounded. More than 3,800 former slaves, called "Contrabands" during the Civil War, are buried in Section 27. Their headstones are designated with the word "Civilian" or "Citizen".

Grave markers, niches and headstones

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense...

 oversees the National Cemetery Administration's orders for placement of inscriptions and faith emblems at no charge to the estate of the deceased, submitted with information provided by the next of kin that is placed on upright marble headstones or columbarium niche covers. The Department of Veterans Affairs currently offers 39 authorized faith emblems for placement on markers to represent the deceased's faith. This number has grown in recent years due to legal challenges to policy.

Prior to 2007, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
United States Department of Veterans Affairs
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is the United States government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense...

 (VA) did not allow the use of the pentacle
Pentacle
A pentacle is an amulet used in magical evocation, generally made of parchment, paper or metal , on which the symbol of a spirit or energy being evoked is drawn. It is often worn around the neck, or placed within the triangle of evocation...

 as an "emblem of belief" on tombstones in military cemeteries. This policy was changed following an out-of-court settlement on 23 April following a series of lawsuits against the VA. See Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart (soldier)
Sgt. Patrick D. Stewart was a soldier in the United States Army. He died in combat in Afghanistan when his Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade while returning to base...

.


Between 1947 and 2001, privately-purchased markers were permitted in the cemetery, but the areas in which the cemetery permitted such markers are now filled. Nevertheless, the older sections of the cemetery have a wide variety of private markers placed prior to 2001, including artillery pieces.

Tomb of the Unknowns

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier refers to a grave in which the unidentifiable remains of a soldier are interred. Such tombs can be found in many nations and are usually high-profile national monuments. Throughout history, many soldiers have died in wars without their remains being identified...

. It stands on top of a hill overlooking Washington, D.C.

One of the more popular sites at the Cemetery, the tomb is made from Yule marble quarried in Colorado. It consists of seven pieces, with a total weight of 79 short ton
Short ton
The short ton is a unit of mass equal to . In the United States it is often called simply ton without distinguishing it from the metric ton or the long ton ; rather, the other two are specifically noted. There are, however, some U.S...

s (72 metric tons). The tomb was completed and opened to the public April 9, 1932, at a cost of $48,000.

It was initially named the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier." Other unknown servicemen were later entombed there, and it became known as the "Tomb of the Unknowns", though it has never been officially named. The soldiers entombed there are:
  • Unknown Soldier of World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

    , interred November 11, 1921. President Warren G. Harding
    Warren G. Harding
    Warren Gamaliel Harding was the 29th President of the United States . A Republican from Ohio, Harding was an influential self-made newspaper publisher. He served in the Ohio Senate , as the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio and as a U.S. Senator...

     presided.
  • Unknown Soldier of World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    , interred May 30, 1958. President Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

     presided.
  • Unknown Soldier of the Korean War
    Korean War
    The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

    , also interred May 30, 1958. President Dwight Eisenhower presided again, Vice President Richard Nixon
    Richard Nixon
    Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

     acted as next of kin.
  • Unknown Soldier of the Vietnam War
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

    , interred May 28, 1984. President Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

     presided. The remains of the Vietnam Unknown were disinterred, under the authority of President Bill Clinton
    Bill Clinton
    William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

    , on May 14, 1998, and were identified as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael J. Blassie
    Michael Blassie
    First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie was an officer in the United States Air Force. Prior to identification of his remains, Blassie was the Unknown service member from the Vietnam War laid to rest at the Tomb of the Unknowns.After graduating from St. Louis University High School, Blassie...

    , whose family had him re interred near their home in St. Louis, Missouri
    St. Louis, Missouri
    St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

    . It has been determined that the crypt at the Tomb of the Unknowns that contained the remains of the Vietnam Unknown will remain empty.


The Tomb of the Unknowns has been perpetually guarded since July 2, 1937, by the U.S. Army. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard") began guarding the Tomb April 6, 1948.

Arlington Memorial Amphitheater

The Tomb of the Unknowns is part of the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater
Arlington Memorial Amphitheater
The Arlington Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery, near the center of the Cemetery, is the home of the Tomb of the Unknowns where Unknown American Servicemembers from World War I, World War II, and Korea are interred. This site has also hosted the state funerals of many famous...

. The Memorial Amphitheater has hosted state funerals and Memorial Day
Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War...

 and Veterans Day
Veterans Day
Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark...

 ceremonies. Ceremonies are also held for Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

. About 5,000 people attend these holiday ceremonies each year. The structure is mostly built of Imperial Danby marble from Vermont
Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

. The Memorial Display room, between the amphitheater and the Tomb of the Unknowns, uses Botticino
Botticino
Botticino is a town and comune in the province of Brescia, in Lombardy, Italy. The comune was created in 1928 by the union of the former comuni of Botticino Mattina and Botticino Sera which today, together with San Gallo, are classified as the municipality’s three frazioni.It is bounded by the...

 stone, imported from Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The amphitheater was the result of a campaign by Ivory Kimball
Ivory Kimball
Judge Ivory G. Kimball and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was the son of Wilbraham Kimball Jr. and Ann Hatch....

 to construct a place to honor America's soldiers. Congress authorized the structure March 4, 1913. Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 laid the cornerstone for the building on October 15, 1915. The cornerstone contained 15 items including a Bible and a copy of the Constitution.

Before the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater was completed in 1921, important ceremonies were held at what is now known as the "Old Amphitheater." This structure sits where Robert E. Lee once had his gardens. The amphitheater was built in 1868 under the direction of General John A. Logan
John A. Logan
John Alexander Logan was an American soldier and political leader. He served in the Mexican-American War and was a general in the Union Army in the American Civil War. He served the state of Illinois as a state senator, congressman and senator and was an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President...

. Gen. James A. Garfield was the featured speaker at the Decoration Day
Memorial Day
Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War...

 dedication ceremony, May 30, 1868. The amphitheater has an encircling colonnade with a latticed roof that once supported a web of vines. The amphitheater has a marble dais
Dais
Dais is any raised platform located either in or outside of a room or enclosure, often for dignified occupancy, as at the front of a lecture hall or sanctuary....

, known as "the rostrum", which is inscribed with the U.S. national motto found on the Great Seal of the United States
Great Seal of the United States
The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the United States federal government. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself , and more generally for the design impressed upon it...

, E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum
E pluribus unum , Latin for "Out of many, one", is a phrase on the Seal of the United States, along with Annuit cœptis and Novus ordo seclorum, and adopted by an Act of Congress in 1782...

("Out of many, one"). The amphitheater seats 1,500 people and has hosted speakers such as William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan
William Jennings Bryan was an American politician in the late-19th and early-20th centuries. He was a dominant force in the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, standing three times as its candidate for President of the United States...

.

Memorials

Due to the ever-decreasing space at the cemetery, and that the nature of memorials is to take up space that could otherwise be used to bury an eligible servicemember, the army requires a joint or concurrent resolution from Congress before it will place new memorials on cemetery grounds. Still, there are several memorials on cemetery grounds, and groups regularly seek to use the ever-diminishing grounds for new memorials.

Near the Tomb of the Unknowns stands a memorial to the 266 men who lost their lives aboard the USS Maine
USS Maine (ACR-1)
USS Maine was the United States Navy's second commissioned pre-dreadnought battleship, although she was originally classified as an armored cruiser. She is best known for her catastrophic loss in Havana harbor. Maine had been sent to Havana, Cuba to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt...

. The memorial is built around a mast
Mast (sailing)
The mast of a sailing vessel is a tall, vertical, or near vertical, spar, or arrangement of spars, which supports the sails. Large ships have several masts, with the size and configuration depending on the style of ship...

 salvaged from the Maine’s wreckage. The USS Maine Memorial served as the temporary resting place for foreign heads of state or government, Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel L. Quezon
Manuel Luis Quezón y Molina served as president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines from 1935 to 1944. He was the first Filipino to head a government of the Philippines...

 of the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 and Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Ignacy Jan Paderewski
Ignacy Jan Paderewski GBE was a Polish pianist, composer, diplomat, politician, and the second Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland.-Biography:...

 of Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, who died in exile in the United States during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

The Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger was NASA's second Space Shuttle orbiter to be put into service, Columbia having been the first. The shuttle was built by Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division in Downey, California...

Memorial was dedicated on May 20, 1986, in memory of the crew of flight STS-51-L
STS-51-L
STS-51-L was the twenty-fifth flight of the American Space Shuttle program, which marked the first time an ordinary civilian, schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, had flown aboard the Space Shuttle. The mission used Space Shuttle Challenger, which lifted off from the Launch Complex 39-B on 28 January...

, who died during launch
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida at 11:38 am EST...

 on January 28, 1986. Transcribed on the back of the stone is the text of the John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was an American aviator and poet who died as a result of a mid-air collision over Lincolnshire during World War II. He was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, which he joined before the United States officially entered the war. He is most famous for his poem "High...

 poem High Flight. Although many remains were identified and returned to the families for private burial, some were not, and were laid to rest under the marker. Two crew members, Scobee
Dick Scobee
Francis Richard "Dick" Scobee was an American astronaut. He was killed commanding the Space Shuttle Challenger, which suffered catastrophic booster failure during launch of the STS-51-L mission.-Early life:...

 and Smith, are buried in Arlington. On February 1, 2004, NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 Administrator Sean O'Keefe
Sean O'Keefe
Sean O'Keefe is the CEO of EADS North America, a subsidiary of the European aerospace firm EADS, a former Administrator of NASA, and former chancellor of Louisiana State University . O'Keefe is also a former member of the board of directors of DuPont...

 dedicated a similar memorial to those who died when the Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Columbia was the first spaceworthy Space Shuttle in NASA's orbital fleet. First launched on the STS-1 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle program, it completed 27 missions before being destroyed during re-entry on February 1, 2003 near the end of its 28th, STS-107. All seven crew...

broke apart during reentry
Space Shuttle Columbia disaster
The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when shortly before it was scheduled to conclude its 28th mission, STS-107, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, resulting in the death of all seven crew members...

 on February 1, 2003. Astronauts Laurel Clark, David Brown and Michael Anderson, who were killed in the Columbia disaster, are also buried in Arlington.

On a knoll just south of Arlington House, with views of the Washington Monument and Capitol, is a memorial to Pierre Charles L'Enfant
Pierre Charles L'Enfant
Pierre Charles L'Enfant was a French-born American architect and civil engineer best known for designing the layout of the streets of Washington, D.C..-Early life:...

, the architect who laid out the city of Washington. His remains lie below a marble memorial incised with his plan for the city. L'Enfant envisioned a grand neoclassical capital city for the young republic that would rival the capitals of European monarchies.

The Cairn, the Lockerbie memorial is a memorial to the 270 killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103 was Pan American World Airways' third daily scheduled transatlantic flight from London Heathrow Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport...

 over Lockerbie
Lockerbie
Lockerbie is a town in the Dumfries and Galloway region of south-western Scotland. It lies approximately from Glasgow, and from the English border. It had a population of 4,009 at the 2001 census...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. The memorial is constructed of 270 stones, one for each person killed in the disaster. In section 64, a memorial to the 184 victims of the September 11 attacks on the Pentagon was dedicated September 11, 2002. The memorial takes the shape of a pentagon, and lists the names of all the victims that were killed and unidentified remains of victims.

The noted composer, arranger, trombonist and big band leader Maj. Alton Glenn Miller
Glenn Miller
Alton Glenn Miller was an American jazz musician , arranger, composer, and bandleader in the swing era. He was one of the best-selling recording artists from 1939 to 1943, leading one of the best known "Big Bands"...

 of the U.S. Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 has been missing in action since December 15, 1944. Miller was eligible for a memorial headstone in Arlington National Cemetery as a service member who died on active duty whose remains were not recoverable. At his daughter's request, a stone was placed in Memorial Section H, Number 464-A on Wilson Drive in Arlington National Cemetery in April 1992.

Only two mausoleum
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

s located within the confines of the cemetery. One holds the family of General Nelson Appleton Miles. The other, in Section 1, belongs to the family of General Thomas Crook Sullivan
Thomas Crook Sullivan
Thomas Crook Sullivan was a brigadier general in the United States Army.Sullivan was born at Montgomery County, Ohio, the son of Samuel Sullivan, the proprietor of Sullivan's Tavern, the brother of Ohio 2nd Dist Appellate Judge Theodore Sullivan, and the nephew of future Major General George Crook...

.

On June 25, 1925, President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

 approved a request to erect a Commonwealth Cross of Sacrifice
Cross of Sacrifice
The Cross of Sacrifice was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield for the Imperial War Graves Commission and is usually present in Commonwealth war cemeteries containing 40 or more graves. It is normally a freestanding four point limestone Latin cross in one of three sizes ranging in height from 18 to...

 with the names of all the citizens of the USA who lost their lives fighting in the Canadian forces during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The monument was dedicated November 11, 1927 and after the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the names of US citizens who died in those conflicts were added.

The Women in Military Service for America Memorial
Women in Military Service for America Memorial
The Women in Military Service for America Memorial is located at the Ceremonial Entrance to Arlington National Cemetery and honors all women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. New York architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, husband and wife, designed the memorial...

is adjacent to the Ceremonial Entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.

On May 15, 1997, after more than two decades of denying the existence of the "Secret War" in Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

 during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 conflict, the U.S. government officially acknowledged this once covert war, honoring its U.S. and Laos Hmong
Hmong people
The Hmong , are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. Hmong are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity in southern China...

 veterans with the opening of the Laos Memorial
Laos Memorial
The Laos Memorial is a small memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, located between the path to the JFK memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns, in Arlington, Virginia, in the United States. The memorial commemorates the veterans of the "Secret War" in Laos....

 on the Arlington National Cemetery grounds, along a path between the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame
John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame
The John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame is a presidential memorial at the gravesite of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in Arlington National Cemetery. The permanent site replaced a temporary grave and eternal flame used during President Kennedy's funeral on November 25, 1963. The site was designed by...

 and the Tomb of the Unknowns
Tomb of the Unknowns
The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in the United States...

.
Site Coordinates
Geographic coordinate system
A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on the Earth to be specified by a set of numbers. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represent vertical position, and two or three of the numbers represent horizontal position...

Tomb of the Unknowns
Tomb of the Unknowns
The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in the United States...

 
38.87638°N 77.07217°W
Arlington Memorial Amphitheater
Arlington Memorial Amphitheater
The Arlington Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery, near the center of the Cemetery, is the home of the Tomb of the Unknowns where Unknown American Servicemembers from World War I, World War II, and Korea are interred. This site has also hosted the state funerals of many famous...

 
38.8764°N 77.073°W
USMC War Memorial
USMC War Memorial
The Marine Corps War Memorial is a military memorial statue outside the walls of the Arlington National Cemetery and next to the Netherlands Carillon, in Arlington, Virginia, in the United States. The memorial is dedicated to all personnel of the United States Marine Corps who have died in the...

 
38°53′25.7"N 77°04′10.85"W
Netherlands Carillon
Netherlands Carillon
The Netherlands Carillon adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery was a gift from the people of the Netherlands to the people of the United States of America in 1954. The gift was made to thank the United States for its aid during and after World War II. First installed at a nearby site in 1954,...

 
38.8882°N 77.0695°W
John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame
John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame
The John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame is a presidential memorial at the gravesite of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in Arlington National Cemetery. The permanent site replaced a temporary grave and eternal flame used during President Kennedy's funeral on November 25, 1963. The site was designed by...

 
38.88153°N 77.07150°W
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

 
38.88118°N 77.07150°W
USS Maine Memorial 38.8765°N 77.0747°W
Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial 38.8767°N 77.074°W
Nurses Memorial 38.874874°N 77.074841°W
Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial
Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial
The Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial is a memorial over a group burial site at Arlington National Cemetery in the United States. It commemorates the victims of the September 11 attack on The Pentagon. The memorial specifically honors the five individuals for whom no identifiable...

 
38.873461°N 77.060939°W

Burial procedures

The flags in Arlington National Cemetery are flown at half-staff
Half-staff
Half-staff is the American term for to describe a flag flying a flag below the summit of the flagpole . The rest of the English-speaking world uses the term half-mast. Technically the flag should be flown one breadth lower to allow for the invisible flag of death...

 from a half hour before the first funeral
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

 until a half hour after the last funeral each day. Funerals are normally conducted five days a week, excluding weekends.

Funerals, including interments and inurnments, average between 27-30 per day. The cemetery conducts approximately 6,900 burials each year.

With more than 300,000 interments, Arlington National Cemetery has the second-largest number of burials of any national cemetery in the United States. The largest of the 130 national cemeteries is the Calverton National Cemetery
Calverton National Cemetery
Calverton National Cemetery is a United States National Cemetery located in eastern Long Island, the hamlet of Wading River, the Town of Riverhead in Suffolk County, New York...

, on Long Island, near Riverhead, New York, which conducts more than 7,000 burials each year.

In addition to in-ground burial, Arlington National Cemetery also has one of the larger columbaria
Columbarium
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns . The term comes from the Latin columba and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons .The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in...

 for cremated remains in the country. Four courts are currently in use, each with 5,000 niches. When construction is complete, there will be nine courts with a total of 50,000 niches; capacity for 100,000 remains. Any honorably discharged veteran is eligible for inurnment in the columbarium, if s/he served on active duty at some point in her/his career (other than for training).

Burial criteria

Part 553 of Title 32 of the Code of Federal Regulations establishes regulations for Arlington National Cemetery, including eligibility for interment (ground burial) and inurnment (columbarium). Eligibility for burial differs from eligibility for inurnment in the columbarium
Columbarium
A columbarium is a place for the respectful and usually public storage of cinerary urns . The term comes from the Latin columba and originally referred to compartmentalized housing for doves and pigeons .The Columbarium of Pomponius Hylas is a particularly fine ancient Roman example, rich in...

 at Arlington National Cemetery. Due to limited space, ground burial eligibility criteria are more restrictive than at other national cemeteries, as well as more restrictive than inurnment in the columbarium.

The persons specified below are eligible for ground burial in Arlington National Cemetery, unless otherwise prohibited. The last period of active duty of former members of the armed forces must have ended honorably. Interment may be of casketed or cremated remains.
  • Any active-duty member of the armed forces
    Military of the United States
    The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...

     (except those members serving on active duty for training only).
  • Any veteran who is retired and eligible for retirement pay from service in the armed forces (including service members retired from a reserve component who served a period of active duty (other than for training).
  • Any former member of the armed forces separated honorably prior to October 1, 1949, for medical reasons and who was rated at 30% or greater disabled effective on the day of discharge.
  • Any former member of the armed forces who has been awarded one of the following decorations:
    • Medal of Honor
      Medal of Honor
      The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

    • Distinguished Service Cross
      Distinguished Service Cross (United States)
      The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree...

      , Navy Cross
      Navy Cross
      The Navy Cross is the highest decoration that may be bestowed by the Department of the Navy and the second highest decoration given for valor. It is normally only awarded to members of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Coast Guard, but can be awarded to all...

      , or Air Force Cross
      Air Force Cross (United States)
      The Air Force Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Air Force. The Air Force Cross is the Air Force decoration equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross .The Air Force Cross is awarded for extraordinary heroism...

    • Distinguished Service Medal
      Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
      The Distinguished Service Medal is the highest non-valorous military and civilian decoration of the United States military which is issued for exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in either a senior government service position or as a senior officer of the United...

    • Silver Star
      Silver Star
      The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

    • Purple Heart
      Purple Heart
      The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York...

  • Individuals awarded the Central Intelligence Agency
    Central Intelligence Agency
    The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

    's (CIA) Intelligence Star
    Intelligence Star
    The Intelligence Star is an award given by the Central Intelligence Agency for a "voluntary act or acts of courage performed under hazardous conditions or for outstanding achievements or services rendered with distinction under conditions of grave risk." The award citation is from the Director...

    , which is considered the equivalent of the US Military's Silver Star
    Silver Star
    The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

     and recognized as such by the President of the United States.
  • The President of the United States or any former President of the United States .
  • Any former member of the armed forces who served on active duty (other than for training) and who held any of the following positions:
    • An elective office of the U.S. Government (such as a term in Congress).
    • Office of the Chief Justice of the United States or of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
    • An office listed, at the time the person held the position, in 5 USC 5312 or 5313 (Levels I and II of the Executive Schedule).
    • The chief of a mission who was at any time during his/her tenure classified in Class I under the provisions of Section 411, Act of 13 August 1946, 60 Stat. 1002, as amended (22 USC 866) or as listed in State Department memorandum dated March 21, 1988.
  • Any former prisoner of war who, while a prisoner of war, served honorably in the active military, naval, or air service, whose last period of military, naval or air service terminated honorably and who died on or after November 30, 1993.
  • The spouse, widow or widower, minor child, or permanently dependent child, and certain unmarried adult children of any of the above eligible veterans.
  • The widow or widower of:
    • a member of the armed forces who was lost or buried at sea or fell out of a plane or officially determined to be permanently absent with a status of either missing or missing in action.
    • a member of the armed forces who is interred in a US military cemetery overseas that is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission
      American Battle Monuments Commission
      The American Battle Monuments Commission is a small independent agency of the United States government. Established by Congress in 1923, it is responsible for:...

      .
  • The spouse, minor child, or permanently dependent child of any person already buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • The parents of a minor child, or permanently dependent child whose remains, based on the eligibility of a parent, are already buried at Arlington. A spouse divorced from the primary eligible, or widowed and remarried, is not eligible for interment.
  • Provided certain conditions are met, a former member of the armed forces may be buried in the same grave with a close relative who is already buried and is the primary eligible.

Inurnment Criteria for Columbarium

Due at least partly to the lack of space at the cemetery for ground burial, standards for inurnment (burial of cremated remains) in the columbarium are currently much less restrictive than for ground burial at the Cemetery. In general, any former member of the armed forces who served on active duty (other than for training) and whose last service terminated honorably is eligible for inurnment. Eligiblity for inurnment is described fully in 32 C.F.R. § 553.15a.

Prohibitions Against Interment or Memorialization

Congress has from time to time created prohibited categories of persons that, even if otherwise eligible for burial, lose that eligibility. One such prohibition is against certain persons who are convicted of committing certain state or federal capital crimes, as defined in 38 U.S. Code § 2411. Capital crime is a specifically defined term in the statute, and for state offenses can include offenses that are eligible for a life sentence (with or without parole). The reasoning for this provision originally was to prevent Timothy McVeigh
Timothy McVeigh
Timothy James McVeigh was a United States Army veteran and security guard who detonated a truck bomb in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995...

 from being eligible at Arlington National Cemetery, but it has since been amended to prevent others.

Also prohibited under the same statute are those determined, with clear and convincing evidence, to have avoided such conviction by death or flight.

Notable burials

The first soldier to be buried in Arlington was Private William Henry Christman
William Henry Christman
William Henry Christman was the first soldier to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.Christman was a laborer from Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. He was enlisted in the United States Army on March 25, 1864. He was hospitalized for measles three weeks later. He was admitted to Lincoln General...

 of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 on May 13, 1864. As of May 2006, there were 367 Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

 recipients buried in Arlington National Cemetery, nine of whom are Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.

Four state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

s have been held at Arlington: those of Presidents William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States and later the tenth Chief Justice of the United States...

 and John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, that of General John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

, and that of U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Whether or not they were wartime service members, U.S. presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 are eligible to be buried at Arlington, since they oversaw the armed forces as commanders-in-chief
Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

.

Among the most frequently visited sites in the cemetery is the grave of President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

, who is buried with his wife, Jacqueline
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jacqueline Lee Bouvier "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis was the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, and served as First Lady of the United States during his presidency from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Five years later she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle...

, and two of their children. His remains were interred there on March 14, 1967, a reinterment from his original Arlington burial site, some 20 feet (6.1 m) away, where he was buried in November 1963. The grave is marked with the "eternal flame"
John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame
The John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame is a presidential memorial at the gravesite of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, in Arlington National Cemetery. The permanent site replaced a temporary grave and eternal flame used during President Kennedy's funeral on November 25, 1963. The site was designed by...

. The remains of his brothers, Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Robert F. Kennedy
Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy , also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F...

 and Senator Edward M. "Ted" Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

, are buried nearby. The latter two graves are marked with simple crosses and footstones. On December 1, 1971, Robert Kennedy's body was reinterred 100 feet (30.5 m) from its original June 1968 burial site.

Burial under protest

Warrant Officer Gregory S. Crandall's helicopter was shot down over Savannakhet Province, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, on February 18, 1971. In May of that year the military listed him as Killed in action
Killed in action
Killed in action is a casualty classification generally used by militaries to describe the deaths of their own forces at the hands of hostile forces. The United States Department of Defense, for example, says that those declared KIA need not have fired their weapons but have been killed due to...

 (KIA). According to Arlington National Cemetery records, John Manning, chief of the Army's Mortuary Affairs Branch, stated that witnesses to the crash reported that the "helicopter burst into flames and exploded when it hit the ground." It was also reported that there were a series of seven explosions. The remains of Crandall and two other soldiers were recovered in February 1991, and on September 17, 1993, despite the protest of the family, a full-size steel casket, the remains of Warrant Officer Gregory S. Crandall, which consisted of a single No. 4 maxilla
Maxilla
The maxilla is a fusion of two bones along the palatal fissure that form the upper jaw. This is similar to the mandible , which is also a fusion of two halves at the mental symphysis. Sometimes The maxilla (plural: maxillae) is a fusion of two bones along the palatal fissure that form the upper...

ry premolar
Premolar
The premolar teeth or bicuspids are transitional teeth located between the canine and molar teeth. In humans, there are two premolars per quadrant, making eight premolars total in the mouth. They have at least two cusps. Premolars can be considered as a 'transitional tooth' during chewing, or...

 tooth, was buried with full military honors.

Media access controversy

Until 2005, the cemetery's administration gave free access, with the family's permission, to the media to cover funerals at the cemetery. According to the Washington Post, over the past several years the cemetery has gradually imposed increasing restrictions on media coverage of funerals.

2010 mismanagement controversy

On June 9, 2010, United States Secretary of the Army
United States Secretary of the Army
The Secretary of the Army is a civilian official within the Department of Defense of the United States of America with statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and...

 John M. McHugh
John M. McHugh
John Michael McHugh is the 21st United States Secretary of the Army and a former Republican politician from the state of New York, formerly representing the state's 23rd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.On June 2, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated him to...

 reprimanded Arlington National Cemetery's superintendent, John Metzler, and his deputy, Thurman Higgenbotham, after a United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 inspector general's report revealed that cemetery officials had placed the wrong headstones on tombs, buried coffins in shallow graves, and buried bodies on top of one another. Metzler, who had already announced his intention to retire on July 2, 2010, admitted some mistakes had been made but denied allegations of widespread or serious mismanagement. The investigation also found that cemetery employees were burdened in their day-to-day work by "dysfunctional management, lack of established policy and procedures, and an overall unhealthy organizational climate." Both Metzler and Higgenbotham retired soon after the investigation commenced.

In March 2011, as a result of the problems discovered, Kathryn Condon, the recently appointed director of the Army Cemeteries Program, announced that the cemetery's staff had been increased from 102 to 159. She added that the cemetery was also acquiring additional equipment because, "They didn't have the proper equipment to do the job really to the standard they needed to do."

See also

  • Laos Memorial
    Laos Memorial
    The Laos Memorial is a small memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, located between the path to the JFK memorial and the Tomb of the Unknowns, in Arlington, Virginia, in the United States. The memorial commemorates the veterans of the "Secret War" in Laos....

  • McKee Grave
    McKee Grave
    McKee Grave is a public artwork by an unknown artist, located at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, United States. It serves as the final resting place of First Lieutenant Thomas Hudson McKee and his wife.-Description:...

  • Netherlands Carillon
    Netherlands Carillon
    The Netherlands Carillon adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery was a gift from the people of the Netherlands to the people of the United States of America in 1954. The gift was made to thank the United States for its aid during and after World War II. First installed at a nearby site in 1954,...

  • Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial
    Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial
    The Victims of Terrorist Attack on the Pentagon Memorial is a memorial over a group burial site at Arlington National Cemetery in the United States. It commemorates the victims of the September 11 attack on The Pentagon. The memorial specifically honors the five individuals for whom no identifiable...

  • Theodore Wint Grave
    Theodore Wint Grave
    Theodore Wint Grave is a public artwork by an unknown artist, located at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, United States. This sculpture was surveyed in 1995 as part of the Smithsonian's Save Outdoor Sculpture! program. "Theodore Wint Grave" serves as the final resting place...

  • William Belknap Grave
  • List of National Cemeteries by country

Further reading


External links

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