Cemetery of the Week #1: Arlington National Cemetery

Visitors to the Kennedys’ eternal flame.

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington, Virginia 22211
Phone: (877) 907-8585
Established: June 15, 1864
Size: 624 acres
Number of interments: more than 300,000 graves
Open: 7 days a week, 365 days. 8 a.m.-7 p.m. (April-September) and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (October-March)

Founded by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton on the commandeered grounds of Robert E. Lee’s family home, Arlington National Cemetery currently spans 624 acres and encompasses more than 300,000 graves. It is the second largest of the national cemeteries and conducts almost 7000 burials annually. Originally Arlington was designated as a military cemetery, but that definition can be set aside by presidential directive to include anyone who has served the United States.

Among the famous buried at Arlington lie Kennedy brothers John, Robert, and Edward; Supreme Court Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and Harry Blackmun (author of Roe v. Wade); band leader Major Glenn Miller; author Dashiell Hammett; explorers Richard Byrd and Robert Peary; the Brown Bomber Joe Louis, and several astronauts.

Arlington is home to many monuments worth a visit, including the United States Marine Corps. memorial (better known as the Iwo Jima Monument), the U.S.S. Maine Memorial, the Lockerbie Cairn in memory of the Pan Am flight brought down by Libyan bombers, a cenotaph to the Challenger astronauts, and The Tomb of the Unknowns, where the remains of three unidentifiable soldiers symbolize all the anonymous dead of World Wars I and II, as well as the Korean War.

A Visitors Center welcomes four million tourists each year to Arlington. In addition to exhibits on the history of the graveyard, it contains a bookstore that offers maps and guidebooks. Many organizations in Washington D.C. offer cemetery tours, as does the popular Tourmobile (http://www.tourmobile.com/).

Useful links:

Arlington National Cemetery homepage

GPS information for Arlington

Good news about Arlington

Recording the graves at Arlington

The Challenger Monument at Arlington

Books I’ve reviewed that reference Arlington National Cemetery:

Where Valor Rests

The American Resting Place

Who’s Buried in Grant’s Tomb?

The Bear Went Over the Mountain

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About Loren Rhoads

I am the author of the essay collection Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, co-author of the novel As Above, So Below, and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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6 Responses to Cemetery of the Week #1: Arlington National Cemetery

  1. Pingback: Cemetery of the Week #34: Fort Mackinac Post Cemetery | Cemetery Travel: Adventures in Graveyards Around the World

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