Memorial Day – the perfect time to get outdoors and spend time with your loved ones. While many people head to the beach, campsites, or mountains, it’s important to remember the real reason of the holiday. Today is a time to honor those who lost their lives fighting for our country.
As a traveler, I believe it’s important to incorporate a little bit of history behind the places I visit or the days with special meaning. So, for Memorial Day, I’m giving you a look into one of America’s most sacred places – Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
- The cemetery hosted the first national Memorial Day commemoration in 1868.
- It’s the only national cemetery to hold servicemen from every war in U.S. history.
- Three World War II enemy combatants are buried here.
- Nearly 4,000 former slaves are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
- Soldiers plant flags in front of every tombstone on Memorial Day weekend.
- More than 4 million people visit the cemetery annually.
- The Arlington Estate was originally owned by George Washington Parke Custis. His daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis married Robert E. Lee and inherited the estate. During the Civil War, the land was abandoned by the Lees and used as headquarters for the Union army.
- The partial remains of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger are also buried in the cemetery.
- On May 13, 1864, the first military burial of Pvt. William H. Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry took place.
- The flags in Arlington National Cemetery are flown at half-staff from a half hour before the first funeral until a half hour after the last funeral each day.
With deepest gratitude, thank you to all of our soldiers and veterans for your service and for those who never made it home.
Source: historychannel.com and cnn.com