Traveler Lifes

Browse Traveler lifes Travel to get information about the world's most popular places, tourist Attraction, holiday destinations, vacation spot, historical places, where to go, places to visit, things to do, best places to stay, top hotel and restaurant, Activities, adventure, tourism information, travel tips and travel guide with expert advice...

Monday, December 25, 2023

Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA

  Rajesh Kumar Rana       Monday, December 25, 2023


Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA
Arlington cemetery, Washington DC, United States

Coming to other countries, tourists try to see as many interesting sights as possible, among which cemeteries are not among the most popular.

However, some of them deserve special attention.

These include the Arlington National Cemetery, located in the suburbs of the American capital - the city of Washington.

See also: Korean War Veterans Memorial

Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA

Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA
Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA

Briefly about the history of the formation of the cemetery

The 19th century in the United States was remembered for the civil war that broke out between the representatives of the South and the North, whose views were radically opposite on the issue of slavery. The southerners were supporters of slavery, their commander-in-chief was Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The general himself was not an ardent supporter of slavery, however, the political leaders of the state of Virginia managed to convince him that they were right.

His former associates considered this turn of events as a betrayal on the part of Lee, and when his family left their estate in Arlington, the general's estates were simply confiscated. It was decided to use the land for the cemetery so that later the general would not have the opportunity to return to his native estate and live among the graves.


Of course, these actions were far from legal and, ultimately, the Supreme Court found them illegal. As a result, the general had to sell his land to the federal government.

Since May 1864, soldiers who died during the civil war began to be buried in the cemetery. By its end, more than 16 thousand people were buried here. For some time, a camp was set up in the southern zone of the cemetery for former slaves who gained freedom after winning the war. In 1888, this settlement was disbanded, and the American government purchased the land for military purposes. Since that time, the cemetery has received official status.


Despite the fact that in the post-war period there was a catastrophic lack of funding for official rituals, in the fall of 1866, a monument to unknown soldiers (2,111 US Army soldiers) was opened.

In the early years, representatives of the local population, unknown fighters, people who were inaccessible to more prestigious places for burial were buried here, however, over time, the status of an honorary burial place was assigned to the cemetery.

Symbol of dignity and valor

Arlington National Cemetery in the United States is not the largest in the country. It gained its fame for other parameters: there are burial places of about 400 thousand citizens. These are soldiers of the federal troops who died in the First and Second World Wars, soldiers who took part in other US military operations. In addition to those who died on the battlefields, veterans with at least 20 years of service in the American army, servicemen who received state awards, found their last shelter here. Family members of these people may be buried in the cemetery.

There were legal conventions: Bronze Star War Veteran Timothy McVeigh met the conditions and had the right to be buried in this place. But his death was not natural, he was executed for the terrorist attack committed in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people. It was impossible to allow a criminal to be buried in this holy place, and Congress decided to introduce an additional requirement: a criminal cannot be buried in the cemetery of heroes.


In addition to honor military personnel, US presidents, as well as Supreme Court judges and citizens with government awards, can be buried here.


Some of the tombstones bear religious symbols (the faith of the deceased, even symbols of atheism and Wicca).

The Last Refuge of Eminent Citizens

Many famous figures who left their mark on American history are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. There are burial places of two American presidents: William Taft and John F. Kennedy. Members of the Kennedy family (wife Jacqueline and his two brothers) are buried next to his grave. There are many graves in which former secretaries of state, ministers, judges and members of the Supreme Court, cultural figures, people who have won fame in the field of art (literature, theater), as well as dead astronauts, are buried. In addition, the famous polar explorer Robert Peary is buried here.

The history of the "grave" of the famous musician and composer of jazz music Glenn Miller is interesting. According to various versions, his death in 1944 is shrouded in mystery, which has not been disclosed to this day. But his fans have created a symbolic grave in this cemetery as a tribute to his talent.

Arlington National Cemetery today

To date, the territory of the cemetery extends for 639 acres (259 ha). Arlington House (a white building with columns), the former mansion of General Lee, houses a museum exhibition that is of interest to tourists. There is also a memorial to Lee. From the highest point of the hill, you can see the city of Washington, located on the opposite bank of the Potomac River.

On the part of the cemetery where ancient burials are located, sculptural monuments are installed. Subsequently, tombstones began to be placed in straight lines and they all correspond to a certain type. Interestingly, clear straight rows retain the correct lines, no matter from which point in the cemetery you look at them.

The most revered place is the Memorial with the graves of the Unknown Soldier placed next to it. This is a tribute to the heroes who died during the First and Second World Wars and the armed conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. The construction is made in the form of a large amphitheater, where every year, on Veterans Day, a solemn service is held, in which the President of the United States takes part. On Memorial Day, a wreath is laid at the memorial from the American president. Since 1921, the changing of the guard ritual has been performed at this grave, which is a breathtaking sight.

A popular place among tourists and US citizens is the burial site of  John F. Kennedy. An ordinary black tombstone has an eternal flame lit. For ease of movement around the cemetery, tourists can use electric vehicles.


Currently, the cemetery is active, about 30 burial ceremonies are held here every day. An escort, which includes six horses, accompanies the coffin with the body to the burial place. According to experts, it will take 40 years on average to completely fill the cemetery, however, there are other versions that significantly reduce this period.

Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA
Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA


Arlington National Cemetery is considered a symbol of the courage and valor of heroic warriors who gave their lives in the performance of their civic duty, as well as the personification of reconciliation between the North and South of a great country.



Thanks for reading Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA

« Prev Post