Arlington National Cemetery Facts
In 1864, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton officially designated Arlington Mansion and two hundred surrounding acres as a United States military cemetery. Today, more than 300,000 people are buried at Arlington Cemetery.
Started: June 15, 1864
Area: 612 Acres
Number of graves: More than 300,000 service members and their dependents
Number of burials per year: approximately 6,900 burials
Number of Presidents buried there: 2 (President Kennedy and President Taft)
Visitors per Year: Approximately 4 million
Hours Open: Arlington National Cemetery is open to the public at 8 a.m. 365 days a year. From April 1 to Sept. 30 the cemetery closes at 7 p.m.; the other six months it closes at 5 p.m.
Location: Arlington, Virginia
More Arlington Cemetery Facts
- George Washington Parke Custis, who was the original owner of the Arlington estate, is interred with his wife the cemetery's Section 13.
- Arlington Cemetery remains the one military cemetery in the United States authorized to use horses as part of its ceremonial burials.
- Flags are lowered to half staff thirty minutes before the first funeral and remain at half staff until thirty minutes after the last service.
- Funerals, including interments and inurnments, average 28 a day.
- The President of the United States sends four wreaths to Arlington each year on the following days:
May 29th (President Kennedy's birthday)
September 15th (President Taft's birthday)
- More than 3,800 former slaves are buried at Arlington, mostly within Section 27. Their marker stones usually have an engraving of either "Civilian" or "Citizen" on them.
- During the Memorial Day weekend, American flags are placed at every grave within the cemetery.
- The designation of "U.S.C.T" (United States Colored Troops) on a stone marker is an indication that the individual served as part of a black regiment.
- The Arlington National Cemetery along with the the United States Soldiers' and Airmen's Home National Cemetery fall under the administration of the Department of the Army. Other national cemeteries fall under the administration of the Department of Veteran Affairs or under the National Park Service.
- President Herbert Hoover oversaw the first national Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery in 1929.
Notable Persons Buried at Arlington Cemetery
Every veteran, member of the United States Armed Forces, or civilian buried at Arlington Cemetery is thought of as distinguished for honoring their country in their service. However, there are also a few notable persons buried there. These include:
- U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
- U.S. President William Howard Taft
- Audie Murphy: The most decorated and honored American combat soldier from WW II.
- U.S. Supreme Court justices Harry Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, William O. Douglas and Potter Stewart
- Robert F. Kennedy: Former U.S. Attorney General and United States Senator from New York
- Ruth G. Bradley: A U.S. Army colonel and one of the most distinguised military women in history, with 34 medals.
- Abner Doubleday: A Civil War general who is considered the man behind the game of baseball .
- Glenn Miller: A U.S. Army major and the famous band leader.
Requirements for Burial Eligibility
Requirements for Arlington National Cemetery's burial and inurnment are highly detailed, and confirmed identification of the deceased is required before final plans are made. In order to receive burial at Arlington, individuals must meet the following criteria:
- An active duty member of the United States Armed Forces (not for training-only purposes).
- Any veteran who is retired active military member.
- Any veteran who is a retired member of the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves by the age of 60 and drawing a retiree pay.
- Any veteran honorably discharged prior to October 1, 1949, for medical reasons and who received a rating of 30 percent or greater disabled.
- Any veteran who was awarded the one of the following medals:
- Purple Heart
- Silver Star
- Distinguished Service Medal
- Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Navy Cross
- Medal of Honor
- The President or former president of the United States
- Former members of the Armed Forces who served on active duty and were also:
- An elected U.S. official
- Office of Chief Justice or Associate Justice in the United States Supreme Court
The description above is only a partial list of the requirements. For the complete listing, paperwork required, religious services and other policies, visit the Arlington Cemetery's website.
More Arlington Cemetery Facts and History