Arlington National Cemetery is far more than just America’s largest and most prestigious military cemetery. It’s an American institution, visited by more than 4 million people each year. The cemetery, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2014, has gone through hard times in recent years, the result of a scandal that involved gross mismanagement. But Arlington weathered that storm, and today remains one of the most visible symbols of military sacrifice and American freedom.
10. Morning in Arlington
Soldiers from the Presidential Salute Battery, 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, practice their ceremonial cannon fire routine in Arlington. The soldiers polish their techniques every Tuesday morning before the cemetery opens.
9. Teachable Moment
A Virginia family places wreaths at Arlington during the Wreaths Across America event in December 2015. Wreaths Across America is a non-profit organization that places wreaths at headstones in ANC each holiday season.
8. Playing Tribute
Sgt. Phillip J. Reddick plays taps in honor of Staff Sgt. Darryl D. Booker and Col. Paul M. Kelly at their Arlington gravesites on Veterans Day in 2013. The two men were among a dozen soldiers killed when their helicopter crashed in Iraq in 2007. Taps For Veterans, an organization devoted to providing live buglers for military funerals and ceremonies, sponsored the event.
7. Guard Duty
An Army guard stands watch at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. An Army guard has kept watch over the tomb 24/7 every day for more than 75 years.
Marine Col. Benjamin T. Watson seems to bring some comfort to Jane Anderson, widow of retired Gen. Earl E. Anderson, during her husband’s funeral March 31, 2016. Gen. Anderson is the former assistant commandant of the Marine Corps.
Members of Arlington National Cemetery’s Old Guard (3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment) escort the ninth Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, James C. Binnicker, to his final resting place Aug. 14, 2015. The Old Guard is the oldest active duty regiment in the U.S. Army, dating to 1784.
4. Flags In
Old Guard members march into Arlington for Flags-In May 26, 2016. Before each Memorial Day, soldiers place American flags at more than 230,000 headstones in the cemetery.
3. Eternal Flame
An eternal flame burns at President John F. Kennedy’s gravesite. This is one of the most iconic images of Arlington National Cemetery, with the Arlington House/Robert E. Lee Memorial — the former home of the Confederate general — on the hill in the background. The first bodies in the national cemetery were buried around Arlington House in 1864.
2. Last Walk
Spc. Edward Marshall of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment finishes his last walk as a sentinel at Arlington’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Only around 600 soldiers have earned the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge.
1. Remembering a Husband, Hero
Heather Gray visits the headstone of her husband, Maj. David Gray, on Veterans Day in 2015. Maj. Gray was killed in action Aug. 8, 2012 in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. After his death, Heather traveled around the country, speaking at universities, churches and elsewhere, telling her story of how she dealt with the loss of her husband and best friend. She credits her faith in God with helping her and the couple’s three children through the ordeal. Her story is featured here in an Air Force News Service story.