The land on which Arlington National Cemetery sits used to be the home of General Robert E. Lee. When Lee went off to fight for the South in the Civil War, Union forces took over the land and used Lee’s house as their headquarters and a temporary hospital. Brigadier General Montgomery Meigs appropriated the grounds to be used as a military cemetery, hoping to render Arlington House uninhabitable should Lee ever attempt to return. Today, Arlington is the burial grounds for America’s military personnel and their families.
- With more than 270,000 graves and over 5,400 burials each year, the cemetery will be full by the year 2060.
- On Feb. 18, 1971, U.S. Army Warrant Officer Gregory S. Crandall was shot down in a helicopter over Laos during the Vietnam War. His funeral took place at Arlington on Sept. 17, 1993. Buried in a full-sized steel casket with full military honors is all that remains of Officer Crandall… a single tooth.
- The Tomb of the Unknowns used to hold the remains of unidentified soldiers from World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam. Recently, the body of the unknown soldier who fought in Vietnam was exhumed and identified. The tomb for the unknown soldier from Vietnam is now empty.
Famous people buried at Arlington include:
John and Robert Kennedy
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
William Howard Taft (our 27th President)
Joe Louis (World Heavyweight Boxing Champ)
Lee Marvin (actor)
Pierre Charles L’Enfant (designer of Washington, D.C.)
Admiral Robert E. Peary (explorer of the North Pole)
Parke Custis and Mary Custis (builders of Arlington House)