The Arlington National Cemetery is located across the Potomac River in the state of Virginia and is one of two national cemeteries administered by the U.S. Army. It houses the remains of thousands of military veterans as well as national figures who sacrificed their lives during the American Revolution all through the recent Iraq and Afghanistan War. Those who died before the American Civil War were cremated after 1900. The cemetery also has burials of notables, who were honored for their contribution to the American society. With over 3,00,000 people buried, this place is not just a cemetery, but provides the spectators a rich understanding of a broader American history. This article contains few interesting facts about this place. Interesting Facts About Arlington National Cemetery
- The Arlington Mansion, along with the 200 acres of ground surrounding it, was officially designated as a military cemetery on June 15, 1864, by Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton.
- According to Arlington National Cemetery facts sheet, more than 300,000 people have been buried here already.
- Approximately 6,400 burials are conducted annually and on an average, about 28 burials are performed each day.
- Veterans from every war that America has been engaged in are buried in the cemetery, be it the American Revolution or wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- The cemetery is the second-largest cemetery in the United States.
- In Section 27 of the cemetery, more than 3800 former slaves are buried. They were known as “contrabands” during the Civil War and their headstones have the word “civilian” or “citizen” inscribed on them.
- All the headstones in the cemetery face in the east direction and have the Washington Memorial in the background.
- The Memorial Amphitheater located at Arlington Cemetery was dedicated on May 15, 1920, and serves as the nation’s official venue for remembrance. Three special services are held every year, namely, Easter, Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
- Approximately more than four million people visit the cemetery annually.
- The Tomb of the Unknowns is the most visited site at Arlington National Cemetery. The tomb, constructed at a total cost of $48,000, consists of seven pieces, weighing 79 tons. It contains graves of four individuals who fought during World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War.
- The flags are flown at half-staff from half an hour before the first funeral until half an hour after the last funeral every day. Funerals are normally conducted five days a week, excluding weekends.
- Besides the in-ground burial, the Arlington National Cemetery has a columbarium for cremated remains in the country. Currently, there are eight courts with over 38,500 niches. Not just columbarium courts, but even inurnments take place in the Arlington National Cemetery’s Niche Wall Columbarium located in section 70. The Niche Wall Columbarium has the capacity for more than 6,500 niches.
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Once the construction is complete, there would be a total of nine courts with a total of over 60,000 niches and would have a capacity of more than 100,000 remains.