It has expanded over time to include 624 acres with more than 400,000 people buried there. There are many separate memorials within the cemetery, including one for military nurses, two Space Shuttles, and the National Park Service, as well as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. To be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, you must be either a veteran or someone on active duty at the time of death, or the spouse or minor child of a serviceman or woman, or have held elected office, including Chief Justices of the Supreme Court.
Visit the Arlington National Cemetery website for more information and pictures:
In Flanders Fields
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
A lady named Moina Michael came up with the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who had died during their service to the country in wartime. She sold poppies to her friends and used the money to benefit servicemen in need. Eventually, the VFW began to sell them, developing a program where disabled vets made artificial poppies to sell.
24 Notes Everyone Recognizes
The composition of Taps used at military funerals was written by Daniel Butterfield, a Civil War veteran.
- It was first used officially in July, 1862.
- Taps is often played by members of your local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) at funeral services.
- Taps was played as a quieter alternative to a cannon volley, which had been done at Civil War funerals: if the service was held too close to enemy troops the noise of a cannon would tip them off.
- There are words to Taps. Here is one verse:
Gone the Sun
From the lake, from the hill, from the sky
All is well
God is Nigh.
- At a military funeral where there has been a gun salute, the casings from the spent shells are collected by the servicemen who did the salute and are presented in a pouch to the spouse or other survivors. The bugler and marksmen silently march away from the site when they are finished.
Number of Americans killed in war:
War of 1812 2,260
Mexican War 13,283
Civil War 364,511
Spanish-American War 2,446
World War I 116,516
World War II 405,399
Korean War 36,574
Viet Nam Conflict 58,209
Gulf War 382
War on Terror 6,280
*did you know that the Revolutionary War lasted more than 6.5 years?