Arlington National Cemetery Photography

I visited Arlington National Cemetery last month and posted photos on my photography website A stark reminder of the sacrifices many have made to serve our country.

Arlington National Cemetery is located in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. I’m not that familiar with D.C., and I was surprised how close it is to the city center—only a quick subway ride on the Metro’s Blue Line.

A brief history: The land where Arlington National Cemetery now stands was originally owned by George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted grandson of George Washington. In 1831, Custis’s daughter, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, married Robert E. Lee, who later became a prominent Confederate general during the American Civil War. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, the Lee family estate, known as Arlington House, was seized by the Union Army because of its strategic location overlooking Washington, D.C. The land was subsequently used as a military cemetery, initially for Union soldiers who died during the war. The first military burial took place in May 1864. On June 15, 1864, the U.S. government officially designated Arlington Estate as a military cemetery. By the end of the Civil War, the remains of over 16,000 Union soldiers were interred there. The land was also used for the burials of military personnel, and U.S. presidents. Over the years, Arlington National Cemetery expanded significantly beyond its original boundaries. Additional land acquisitions and the interment of more veterans led to its growth into one of the most iconic military cemeteries in the US. The Cemetery has numerous memorials and monuments honoring various individuals and groups, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, and the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial. Arlington is the final resting place for many notable figures, including President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, General John J. Pershing, and astronauts such as Neil Armstrong.