Arlington National Cemetery, located in Arlington, Virginia, is home to the graves of over 275,000 people. It is the second-largest national cemetery in the country, and it conducts an additional 5,400 burials each year. The numbers are somewhat overwhelming when one takes into consideration that almost every person buried in the cemetery was a member of the armed forces or closely related to someone in the armed forces. The cemetery spans a total of about 1,100 acres, and includes numerous memorials, plaques and tombstones in order to honor important people and events in our country's history.
In 1802, George Washington's adopted grandson, George Custis, wanted to build a mansion atop a hill in Arlington as a memorial for the country's first president. He hired George Hadfield, an English architect who helped design the Capitol, to complete this task. After the house was completed and George Custis and his wife had died, Robert E.
Lee married Mary Custis, the family's only surviving child. The couple inherited the home and lived there for 30 years until Lee left to defend the South in the Civil War. Towards the end of the war, the house was occupied by Union troops and its 1,100 acres of land were confiscated and auctioned to General Montgomery C. Meigs. Soon after purchasing the land, he appropriated the grounds for use as a military cemetery. In 1864, Arlington National Cemetery was officially created from the estate.
One can still walk inside the Robert E. Lee house today, but it is just one of many memorials and commemorative monuments that exist in the cemetery. In addition to the mansion, the cemetery has a memorial of JFK. JFK's burial took place on November 25, 1963, and his grave has since become one of the most visited sites in...