Arlington National Cemetery: 150 Years of Service

Story Number: NNS140521-26Release Date: 5/21/2014 3:32:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jennifer Lebron, Defense Media Center

ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Established during the Civil War as a burial ground for Union soldiers, Arlington National Cemetery has taken in the remains of more than 400,000 Americans.

More than 4 million people visit the cemetery annually.

From May through June of this year, the cemetery will host a series of events to commemorate Arlington's 150 years as a national cemetery.

"This celebration is on behalf of the people who have served and sacrificed, for every man and woman who has worn that uniform," said Patrick Hallinan, director of the cemetery. "It's taking a look back and saying, here's the heritage, here's the military heritage of service and sacrifice - [because] everyone has served that has worn the uniform, everyone has contributed, and many have made the supreme sacrifice."

There are nearly 5,000 unknown soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The "Tomb of the Unknowns" has never been officially named and is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Last year, remains recovered from the USS Monitor were interred in Arlington National Cemetery.

The remains were discovered during the summer of 2002, in an attempt to recover the ship's 150-ton gun turret. Navy divers discovered human remains inside the turret. The remains were sent to be identified, but after a decade, were unsuccessful.

The Monitor was made famous for battling the Confederate ship CSS Virginia, formerly USS Merrimack, on March 9, 1862, at Hampton Roads, Va., in the first fight between ironclad warships.

The cemetery will also host lectures and tours that highlight the history of the United States through the eyes of the heroes buried at Arlington and the military conflicts that shaped the cemetery and the nation.

"There's a lineage and there's a tradition and that's what we honor," Hallinan said. "So as comrades, as fellow citizens and as patriots, I think it's important that we get together and acknowledge that."

For more information and details about "Arlington at 150": The commemoration of Arlington National Cemetery's 150th Anniversary, visit their website:

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