Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery is an American military cemetery and National Park located in Arlington, Virginia, which is houses the graves of over 250,000 servicemen and women. The 200 acre cemetery is well-known for the military precision with which the graves of thousands of ordinary military personnel are laid out, but visitors are often surprised to find that Arlington, as it is known, is also the final resting place of a diverse group of ex-servicepersons famed in other arenas, such as actors Audie Murphy (interestingly, the most highly-decorated World War II veteran) and Lee Marvin, writer Dashiell Hammett, bandleader Glenn Miller and boxer Joe Louis. Because of its historical significance and its solemn, verdant and serene atmosphere, Arlington is a source of national pride which attracts many thousands of visitors per year.
The best known of Arlington’s many places of interest is the Tomb of the Unknowns (better known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier); the Changing of the Guard is carried out every 20 minutes by a special military unit, “The Old Guard”. The United States Marine Corps War Memorial, commonly known as the Iwo Jima Monument or Iwo Jima Memorial is also a popular site.
The land on which the cemetery now sits was confiscated from Robert E. Lee during the Civil War, and put to its current use to prevent him from ever reclaiming it. The cemetery was officially designated on June 15, 1864 by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.