ArlingtonNationalCemetery

Located across the Potomac and overlooking Washington DC is Arlington National Cemetery,
on the former estate of Robert E. Lee and Mary Custis Lee. Established during the Civil War,
over 400,000 servicemen are interred there, along with Presidents and notable Americans.
Born in a vindictive land grab from the leading Confederate General, which was ultimately
determined to be unconstitutional, Arlington National Cemetery became hallowed ground
for the honored military dead and veterans and is the site of the Tomb of the Unknowns.

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Arlington Caisson 3120

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Arlington Caisson 3128

Drawn by six magnificent horses, a caisson accompanied by soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Regiment’s
Old Guard Caisson Platoon carries a comrade on his last ride in Arlington National Cemetery. Astride
three of the horses and escorted by a mounted Sergeant, the Caisson Platoon is part of the oldest active
infantry regiment in the US Army. Soldiers ride the three left horses of the caisson team, with the escort
riding alongside the left horse of the lead pair. The caisson, built in 1918 to accompany 75mm cannon,
originally carried ammunition chests, spare wheels and tools (now replaced with the flat casket deck).

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Arlington JFK Jackie Kennedy 2972

One of two US Presidents buried at Arlington (the other is William Howard Taft), John Fitzgerald Kennedy is
buried alongside his wife Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and two of their children who died in infancy.
John F. Kennedy was a naval officer commanding PT 109 in World War II and was the youngest man elected
to the office of President of the United States. He was assassinated in an open car in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963.

Beyond the graves is the Eternal Flame. Requested by Jacqueline Kennedy for the original gravesite a few
feet further up the hill towards the Lee Mansion seen in the following images, the original Eternal Flame was
hastily constructed the night before the burial ceremony when Colonel Clayton B. Lyle received a call stating
that an Eternal Flame had to be ready by eight the following morning. Using a luau lamp and a propane tank,
he jury-rigged the original Eternal Flame, just in time for the ceremony. Later, when the permanent gravesite
was constructed, the original Eternal Flame was replaced with the one above (Lyle’s original disappeared).

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Arlington House Eternal Flame 2958

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Arlington House Lee Memorial 2962

Arlington House and the Robert E. Lee Memorial is the former Custis-Lee Mansion, a Greek-Revival
mansion standing on the highest point of the original Custis estate, overlooking the Potomac River and
the National Mall. The mansion was originally built by George Washington Parke Custis, step-grandson
and adopted son of George Washington and the grandson of Martha Custis Washington. His daughter,
Mary Anna Randolph Custis, married Robert E. Lee in 1831, and after Custis’ death in 1857 the house
was left to Mary and Robert E. Lee, who had lived with Mary’s parents for 30 years when in the area.

After Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861, Lee convinced Mary to leave Arlington House for
her safety. Lee had been offered the command of the Union Army by Lincoln, but he decided that
he could not fight against his native Commonwealth of Virginia and took command of the Virginia
Commonwealth Army. The next month, he joined the Confederate Army with Virginia’s forces and
promoted to General, and Union soldiers took over Arlington House making it their headquarters.
In 1864, due to mounting war dead overflowing Washington cemeteries, the government began
to bury soldiers at Arlington, in part to make it uninhabitable for the family of Robert E. Lee.

In 1864, the Federal Government refused to accept payment by Mary Custis Lee of $92.07 in
property tax because she had not come in person (she sent an agent), and acquired the property
at a tax sale. They intended to never let Robert E. Lee return to his estate. Although Robert E. Lee
never tried to overturn this sale after the war as he felt that it would be too divisive, after his death
in 1870, his son George Washington Custis Lee filed suit against the government for ownership
of the estate. The Attorney General transferred the suit from Virginia Circuit Court to federal court
where he felt it would receive a fairer hearing, but a jury found for Lee. Later, the Supreme Court
determined that the “insurrectionary tax” (which had to be paid in person) was unconstitutional,
and that the government had deprived the Lee family of the estate without due process of law.
Faced with the need to abandon an Army fort, disinter 20,000 graves and vacate the estate,
the government offered to buy the estate for fair market value in 1883 and Lee agreed.

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Arlington House Lee Memorial 2974

The massive five foot diameter columns supporting the portico of Arlington House.

While the estate and mansion were appropriated and the cemetery was established partly
to ensure that Robert E. Lee would never be able to return to his home, the mansion was later
designated as a National Memorial to General Robert E. Lee as a mark of widespread respect.

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Arlington Tombstones 2976

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Arlington Tombstones 2980

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Arlington Tombstones 2983

Looking over the sea of tombstones of honored war dead at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Arlington_ColonelLeach_3012


Arlington Colonel Leach 3012

Colonel Smith Stallard Leach of the Corps of Engineers was instrumental in the reinforcement of Boston Harbor defenses, and the defenses of Long Island Sound. He was also Director of the Army War College and a member of the General Staff Corps representing the Army War College. He was also a member of the Board of Engineers for Rivers and Harbors.

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Arlington Wheeler Obelisk 2998

One of the only two Confederate Generals buried at Arlington, Lieutenant General Joseph Wheeler opposed Sherman’s March to Atlanta until the end of the Civil War. Later elected to Congress, in 1898 he was appointed Major General and commanded Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War.

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Arlington General Crook Geronimo Surrender 3003

On the monument to General George Crook is this plaque commemorating the Surrender of the Apaches under
Geronimo. The Apaches were forced to surrender by General Crook, but Geronimo escaped and continued his
raids until he was forced to surrender to General Nelson Miles and along with his warriors sent to reservations.

General George Crook assumed command of the Kanawha Division during the Civil War after Antietam, and
pursued General Joseph Wheeler during the Chattanooga Campaign. He was later involved in several major
Civil War battles and was promoted to Major General of Volunteers. He was good friends with later President
Rutherford B. Hayes, one of his subordinates in the Civil War. After the Civil War, he was in the Indian Wars,
where he won nationwide recognition in the Snake War, the Yavapai War and the Great Sioux War. He was
placed in command of the Arizona Territory by President Grant, and Crook forced the Apaches to surrender
several times, but Geronimo escaped. The Apache named Crook Nantan Lupan (Grey Wolf) out of respect.
When Miles finally forced the final surrender, he sent the Apaches (including Army Scouts) to the reservation
as prisoners, infuriating General Crook, who protested the imprisonment of the faithful Chiricahua Scouts.

President Rutherford B. Hayes named one of his sons George Crook Hayes after General Crook.

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Arlington O'Leary Mork 3001

The monuments to Captain Timothy S. O’Leary, US Navy Supply Corps (Paymaster), and Colonel Lee Dallas Mork of the Army Corps of Engineers (no relation to Robin Williams).

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Arlington General Wheaton Cannon 3023

A 12 pounder Napoleon Civil War Cannon stands beside the monument to Major General Frank Wheaton, commander of Infantry during the Civil War and later in the Indian Wars.

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Arlington Lockerbie Memorial Cairn 2990

The Lockerbie Memorial Cairn commemorates the terrorist bombing of Flight 103 which killed 259 passengers and crew and 11 on the ground at Lockerbie Scotland in 1988. The 270 blocks of Scottish sandstone each represent one life lost in the bombing. The Cairn was built by Frank Klein, who lost his daughter on Flight 103. The bombing was ordered by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who later paid compensation.

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Arlington General John Gibbon Iron Brigade 2996

Monument to Major General John Gibbon of the Iron Brigade, a Civil War Brigade composed of men from Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin which earned their nickname before the battle of Antietam when they stood against attacks by a far superior force under General Stonewall Jackson. General Gibbon was in several of the major battles of the Civil War, and was one of the three commissioners for the Surrender at Appomatox.

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Arlington General Kearny 3016

One of the only two equestrian statues at Arlington is on the monument to Major General Philip Kearny, the grandson of John Watts, last Royal Recorder of New York City from 1774 and one of New York’s most wealthy residents. Raised by his grandfather after his parents died, he attained a law degree at Columbia, but on the death of his grandfather he entered the military as he had wanted to since childhood. He went to France to study cavalry tactics and was considered fearless. He later returned to the US and wrote a definitive cavalry manual for the Army. He served as Aide-de-Camp to General Winfield Scott, the best American commander of his time, and Kearny’s personally recruited troops were General Scott’s bodyguard during the Mexican-American War, where Kearny lost his arm to grapeshot and was proclaimed the perfect soldier and bravest man General Scott had ever known. Kearny quickly returned to duty and was the first man through the gates of Mexico City the following month.

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Arlington General Kearny 3020

Kearny returned to France after the war, and fought with the Imperial Guard of Napoleon III at the Battle of Solferino, where he held the reins in his teeth during a famous cavalry charge and captured a key point, becoming the first US Citizen to earn the French Legion d’Honneur. Kearny returned to the US after the Civil War broke out and was appointed Brigadier General commanding the First New Jersey Brigade, where he again led charges with a sword in hand and reins in his teeth, gaining the respect of his men and superiors (although he disliked Commander of the Army of the Potomac McClellan and often disregarded his orders to fall back). During the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, Kearny was killed during a violent storm when he was shot while investigating a gap in the Union lines. At the time, it was rumored that President Lincoln was about to replace General George B. McClellan with Philip Kearny as Commander, Army of the Potomac. If Lincoln had been able to decide more rapidly the Civil War may have ended sooner.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
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Direct Links:

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Smithsonian Institution             Arlington National Cemetery

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3025

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3029

A Tomb Guard performs his 21 step traverse in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

Also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the plaza contains the Unknown Soldier from World War I in the
white marble tomb. The Unknown Soldiers from World War II and Korea are interred in crypts in the plaza floor in
 front of the marble Tomb. The Unknown Soldier from the Vietnam War was later identified by mitochondrial DNA
as Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie. His remains were exhumed in 1998 and returned to St. Louis, MO,
and the slab over the crypt was reinscribed: “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America's Missing Servicemen”.

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3035

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3045

The current four-level marble tomb (1931) replaced the original three-level tomb of 1921. It was carved by
the Piccirilli Brothers, a renowned family of marble carvers in New York City who also carved Daniel French’s
monumental sculpture of Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial, the pediments and lions at the New York Public Library,
and numerous other famous works including Apotheosis of Democracy, the House pediment on the US Capitol.

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3046

The three wreaths on each side of the marble Tomb represent the six major WW I battles in France.
On the side opposite the inscription are three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory and Valor.

The Tomb Guard carries his rifle on the shoulder opposite the Tomb, pausing for 21 seconds at the end
of his 21-step traverse (both representing the 21 Gun Salute, the highest honor given to a military hero).

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3048

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3051

The Tomb Guards are part of the 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), the same regiment which provides the Caisson Platoon.

The Old Guard received their name from General Winfield Scott after a valorous performance in the Mexican-American War.
They serve as the Official US Honor Guard, and other units include the US Army Drill Team and the Continental Color Guard.

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3055

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3057

The Assistant Commander of the Relief (Sergeant) salutes the Tomb of the World War I Unknown Soldier prior
to the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. The Changing of the Guard occurs every hour (on the hour) between
October 1 and March 31, and every half hour (on the half hour) from April 1 through September 30. The Relief
Commander salutes the Tomb and turns to ask the spectators to stand and remain silent. He then conducts
a detailed white glove inspection of the Guard’s weapon. The Relief Commander and Relief Guard meet
the retiring Guard at the center of the matted path in front of the Tomb, all three salute the Tomb, then the
Commander orders the relived Guard to pass on his orders. The relieving Guard acknowledges and then
steps into position on the black mat and begins walking at a measured cadence of 90 steps per minute.
He takes 21 steps down the mat, makes a 1/4 turn and pauses for 21 seconds, makes another 1/4 turn
(pausing for another 21 seconds), then takes another 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process.

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3062

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3064

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3070

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3072

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3084

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Arlington Tomb of Unknowns 3086

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Changing of the Guard Tomb of the Unknowns SXXL

A 1600 x 876 version of the SXXL Composite image (7903 x 3972)
displaying the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

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