Arlington National Cemetery Facts

Arlington National Cemetery Facts
Arlington National Cemetery is a military cemetery made up of 624 acres of land. It was established in 1864, during the American Civil War on land belonging to Arlington House, in Arlington, Virginia. Casualties of war and deceased veterans are buried there, as well as those who died in wars previous to the civil war, who were dug up and reburied at Arlington. It was chosen as a site for the cemetery because it was attractive land, high and dry, and it had a good view of the District of Columbia. The government bought the property at a tax sale, after refusing to accept payment of taxes on behalf of Mary Lee. Her son later sued the U.S. government and won, only to sell it back to them for a good profit.
Interesting Arlington National Cemetery Facts:
Arlington National Cemetery sits on land that belonged to Confederate general Robert E. Lee. His wife Mary Anna Lee was the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington, wife of the first president of the United States, George Washington.
Mary Lee was granted the property by Martha Washington's grandson Washington Parke Curtis, who left the property to her to use, but not to sell.
The first soldier to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery was William Henry Christman in 1864.
The first African American was buried there in 1864 as well, but the exact date or name of the soldier is unknown.
During and after the Civil War, the southern part of the property was used to house freed slaves. When the government took over the land they evicted them.
When the government bought the property at a tax sale in 1864 they paid $26,800 for it. At today's prices that would be about $400,000.
When Mary Lee's son sued the government and won, he then resold the property to the United States government for $150,000, which would be about $3,188,636 at today's prices.
They have had to expand the original land size several times to accommodate the number of dead being buried at Arlington Cemetery.
There are approximately 5,000 funerals at Arlington Cemetery each year.
There are more than 4 million visitors to Arlington National Cemetery every year.
Arlington House itself is now a memorial for Robert E. Lee, the confederate general who was married to Mary Lee, the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington.
Arlington National Cemetery is not the biggest cemetery in the U.S. The biggest is Long Island's U.S. Calverton National Cemetery in New York.
The seven astronauts who died on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 are also buried at Arlington.
There is a memorial for the astronauts who died on the Columbia located near the Challenger's burials.
To be buried at Arlington, one must have been an active, retired or former member of the armed forces, a Medal of Honor recipient or highly-ranked government official or one of their family members.
There are approximately 5,000 soldiers whose names are not known buried at Arlington.
By 202 it is expected the cemetery will be full, and then it will become a national shrine.
There is an unnamed tomb at Arlington—a memorial to those lost in World War I & II, as well as in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Although it has not been named officially, it is often referred to as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

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