More than 400,000 American servicemen, as well as many famous Americans, are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the 612-acre national cemetery located across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. More than four million people visit the cemetery each year and approximately 20 graveside funerals are held here each day. Among the notable Americans buried here are Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Robert Kennedy.
Arlington National Cemetery is one of the top places to visit in the nation's capital. Take a look at the following photos and get a glimpse of this important national landmark.
Women in Military Service for America Memorial
The Women in Military Service for America Memorial serves as the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery. The memorial has indoor exhibits that showcase the roles women have played in America's military history. There are film presentations, a 196-seat theater, and a Hall of Honor which provides recognition to women who died in service, were prisoners of war, or were recipients of awards for service and bravery.
One of the most striking things that you'll notice as you visit Arlington National Cemetery is how large it is. More than 290,000 servicemen and their families have been laid to rest on this 624-acre property.
President John F. Kennedy Gravesite
One of the most visited gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery is that of President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Robert F. Kennedy Grave
Robert F. Kennedy (brother of the President), Attorney General and Senator, was assassinated in 1968 while campaigning for the presidency in Los Angeles, California. Kennedy's grave is located with the gravesites of other family members in the cemetery.
Arlington House was the home of Robert E. Lee and his family before the Civil War. Built by George Washington Parke Custis and his slaves between 1802 and 1818, the house and grounds have served many purposes over the last 200 years: a family home for the Lees and Custises, a plantation estate and home to 63 slaves, a monument honoring George Washington, a military headquarters for Union troops, a community for emancipated slaves, and a national cemetery. The story of Arlington House connects to many important figures, issues, and events in American history. About 200 acres of the land that occupies Arlington National Cemetery was originally the property of the Lee family. Arlington House sits atop a hill, providing one of the best views of Washington, DC.
In 2014, philanthropist David M. Rubenstein donated $12.35 million to restore and improve access to Arlington House. Visitors will see Arlington House as it was in 1860, with every room restored to its historical appearance. An important aspect of this project is to restore the slave quarters to better represent and tell the stories of the enslaved. Visitors will learn from park rangers and volunteers, or via new mobile and web assets, in addition to audio tours and changing exhibitions. As visitors move between the mansion and the new museum and bookstore, they will pass along accessible paths that stretch through the restored grounds, including heirloom gardens and new trails.
A Shady View at Arlington National Cemetery
The cemetery is beautifully landscaped with lots of shady trees. When visiting Arlington National Cemetery, you'll be amazed by how beautifully America honors their servicemen at rest.
Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located high on a hill overlooking Washington, DC. The tomb was dedicated in 1921 and contains the remains of soldiers from WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. The tomb is guarded 24 hours a day.
Memorial Amphitheater 2
The Memorial Ampitheater at Arlington National Cemetery is made of beautiful marble arches.
In 1986, the Shuttle Challenger was launched from Cape Kennedy, Florida and exploded, killing seven Americans: Commander, Francis R. "Dick" Scobee, pilot; Michael J. Smith; and crewmembers, Christa McAuliffe (the first 'Teacher in Space'), Mission Specialists Ellison S. Onizuka, Judith A. Resnick, Ronald E. McNair, and Gregory B. Jarvis.
Columbia Space Shuttle Memorial
In 2003, the Columbia space shuttle broke into flames over Texas, killing seven astronauts, six Americans, and one Israeli.
Guarding of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24 hours a day and each hour (each half-hour in summer) there is a changing of the guard ceremony with a special march and salute.
Equestrian Statue of Sir John Dill
This equestrian statue and memorial is dedicated to Sir John Dill, British Field Marshal, WWII.
First Gravesite - Mary Randolph
The first gravesite on the grounds of the Arlington National Cemetery was that of Mary Randolph, a cousin of Mary Lee Fitzhugh Custis, wife of George Washington Parke Custis, the builder of Arlington. She died in 1828 and was buried on the estate of Arlington House, in the area that became Section 45.
Mast of the U.S.S. Maine
The Spanish-American War began in 1898 when the battleship the U.S.S. Maine sank in Havana, Cuba. The cause of the explosion was never officially determined, but 163 sailors and marines died and the U.S. declared war against Spain. The mast of the ship was removed and brought to Arlington National Cemetery to serve as a memorial in honor of those who lost their lives.
View of Washington, DC from Arlington House
You will find one of the best views of Washington, DC from the grounds of Arlington House, which sits high on a hill above Arlington National Cemetery.
9-11 Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery
Section 64, which overlooks the Pentagon, is the final resting place for many service members who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.