Updated May 26, 2023
Tribute to American History
Are you planning a trip to America this 2023? Then Arlington National Cemetery is the place you should not miss visiting. It is one of the Office of Army Cemeteries and the most cemeteries in America. Established during Civil War by US Army, this has around 0.4 million brave soldiers burials that laid down their lives for the country’s defending the country’s ideas.
Let’s explore this enduring tribute that encapsulates American history.
The Striking Visuals of Arlington National Cemetery
The cemetery houses beautiful memorials, monuments, and trees as a mark of respect for the late veterans and their families to lay to rest. The headstones with carved names of the honorable late soldiers seem to tell their story of bravery through the awry peace. The cemetery conducts 27-30 services on weekdays and 6-8 on Saturdays, except on federal holidays.
Walk through the greatest honors of the country, and witness the caisson drawn by the horse carrying an American flag-wrapped casket. Listen to the sound of three-rifle volleys signifying sacrifice, bravery, and service echoing the skies in honor of the brave souls. Besides the military, Arlington is the final resting ground for the country’s frontline workers and even astronauts that bring great pride in their selfless service.
Sprawled with several sections in honor of the late souls, it also has burials of the late President John F. Kennedy in section 30 and William of Howard Taft in section 5.
The aura at Arlington sets up a lump in the throat with mixed emotions. With 70 sections in its enclosure, the cemetery’s curvilinear pathways conform to its natural landscape. The ornamentals and groves bordering the southeastern corner of the grounds welcome and pay homage to the courageous souls.
Historical Background of Arlington National Cemetery
The 639-acre cemetery rests on the property of a former mansion belonging to George Washington Park Custis. He was the adopted grandson of President George Washington and Mary Fitzhugh. Designed by architect George Hadfield, it overlooks Washington from atop the hill, giving a breathtaking panoramic view of the city. The Arlington house got its exquisite complete look by 1818.
After Mr. and Mrs. Park Custis’s death, they willed the property under their daughter’s name. Their daughter lived in Arlington House with her husband until 1861, when he took over the command of the Virginia State Military. Later the government’s confiscated the property over nonpayment of taxes and ultimately took over by Washington’s grandson Custis Lee.
Arlington National Cemetery
The Congress bought the property from Custis Lee, and Quartermaster Montgomery C. Meigs set up the 200-acre along its surrounding area as the military cemetery.
Arlington’s First Burial
The first burial in Arlington was of Private William Henry Christman of Pennsylvania in Lot 19 of Section 27. The cemetery also houses the headstones of over 3,800 former slaves of Freedman’s village.
Located near the center of Memorial Drive is the cemetery’s massive structure. It encloses a white marble colonnade with a frieze inscribed with 44 names of battles from the Revolutionary War to the American-Spanish War. You can witness the names of 14 great American Generals and 14 American Navy Admirals on the panels flanking the stage.
One can get the emotions to bubble through your inners as you read the beautiful Roman quote, highlighting the bittersweet truth of a soldier laying his life with great pride for safeguarding his country.
The amphitheater witnesses three national ceremonies yearly, these are:
- Easter Day
- Memorial Day
- Veterans Day
Tomb of the Unknown
The marble sarcophagus with three Greek allegorical figures representing peace, bravery, and sacrifice sits near the Amphitheatre. The burial vault has the remains of unknown soldiers from the Korean War, WW-I, and WW II. It also houses the Vietnam War vault, vacant since 1988 post-identification of the remnants of Air Force 1st Lieutenant Michael Blassie.
Civil War Unknown Monument
Dedicated in 1866, it comprises a sarcophagus sitting atop the burial vault of nearly 2111 unknown soldiers. This national cemetery gave eternal peace to around 360 Medal of Honor awardees. Open for visitors daily, guarded by the oldest active-duty infantry, The Old Guard, is where you can feel an indelible impact on your soul.