The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a memorial to the dead of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Inscribed on it are the words, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”
6. When is the Changing of the Guard?
Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, who are required to memorize seven pages of cemetery history in their trial phase and recite it verbatim before earning their post, conduct the Changing of the Guard once each hour on the hour starting Oct. 1. In summer, they conduct the ceremony every half hour. Visitors can observe the Changing of the Guard, a moving ritual guaranteed to inspire you.
7. Which noteworthy historical figures are buried at Arlington National Cemetery?
A wide array of notable graves are located at Arlington National Cemetery, from Gen. George C. Marshall, American statesman and soldier during and after World War II, to Pierre L’Enfant, a French-American military engineer who designed the urban layout for Washington, D.C. Among others:
Presidents and First Ladies
- President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
- President William Howard Taft and Helen Herron “Nellie” Taft
Actors, Artists, Authors, & Scientists
- Dashiell Hammett, author and veteran of both World War I and II
- Glenn Miller, noted composer and big band leader (headstone)
- Audie Murphy, actor and most decorated US soldier of World War II
- Walter Reed, pioneering bacteriologist
Civil Rights Leaders
- Medgar Evers, murdered civil rights leader
- Allard Lowenstein, New York congressman
- Lemuel A. Penn, African-American educator
- Warren Burger, Supreme Court chief justice
- Thurgood Marshall, first African-American Supreme Court justice
- William Rehnquist, Supreme Court chief justice
- Earl Warren, Supreme Court chief justice
- Joe Louis, former boxing heavyweight champion of the world
- Abner Doubleday, credited with having invented baseball
- Brig. Gen. Hazel Johnson-Brown, first African American female to attain general officer rank Mary
- Randolph, first recorded person buried on the grounds that became Arlington Cemetery
8. What is the eternal flame?
Cross the Arlington Memorial Bridge from Washington, D.C. into Arlington on a clear night, and you can see a flickering flame atop the hill in Arlington National Cemetery. The eternal flame, lighted by Mrs. Kennedy on Nov. 25, 1963, the day of President John F. Kennedy’s funeral, burns from the granite stone at the head of the president’s grave. The nozzle and electric ignition system includes a constantly flashing electric spark that relights the natural gas if the flame in case of rain, wind or accidents.