Arlington National Cemetery To Add 50,000 More Burial Plots


Arlington National Cemetery is the most sacred resting place for American service members. But after more than 150 years in service, the hallowed cemetery is running out of room.

After years of grappling with the shrinking capacity of 624-acres of burial plots, the Army, which is charged with maintaining the hallowed grounds, will add 50,000 more burial plots to hopefully keep the cemetery operating through 2050.

For the last four years, the Army and Arlington County discussed a land swap plan in which the Army would give the county a portion of the cemetery’s Navy Annex land south of the realigned Columbia Pike, where the country had hoped to build an Arlington Heritage Center and Freedman’s Village Museum.

Brian Stout, Arlington’s county spokesman, told the Associated Press on June 15 that the Army backed out and will now move ahead without exchanging any land thanks to congressional legislation passed in 2016, which gives the Army the leverage to move ahead without giving up any land.

Instead the Army will expand the cemetery, which was previously projected to run out of burial space in by 2041, across the entirety of the Navy Annex, located along the southern border of the current grounds, around the Air Force Memorial. The cemetery will also acquire five additional acres from Arlington County, for which county officials are now focusing on getting a fair price from the Army.

Throughout its history, more than 400,000 people — veterans and their family members — have been interred in Arlington National Cemetery, and an estimated 4 million Americans visit the grounds every year. The southern expansion, in addition to the completion the Millennium Project designed to add 28,000 new plots by the end of 2017, will only extend the life of the cemetery by an additional nine years.

“Arlington National Cemetery will not be a burial option for those service members who served in the Gulf War and any conflict afterwards,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of the Army National Military Cemeteries, said during a Senate hearing March 29.

In her testimony, Durham-Aguilera added that that the cemetery will either require more space or to reconsider its eligibility policies in order to remain open. However, there are alternative veteran cemeteries.

“Veterans deemed eligible for burial in Arlington National Cemetery are more than likely also eligible for burial in any of VA’s 135 national cemeteries across the country,” Jessica Schiefer, who works for the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration, told Task & Purpose in April.

So the cemetery has a nine-year stop-gap plan, but there’s no telling what will happen to Arlington after 2050 — or what that means for veterans of America's 21st century wars.


DoD photo

ASPEN -- The Pentagon is recruiting a new cadre of computer geeks to address a threat that the military's top intelligence officer says keeps him up at night.

Read More Show Less

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's ambassador to Britain warned against escalating tensions on Sunday as a UK official declined to rule out sanctions in response to Tehran's seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker.

Britain has called Iran's capture of the Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday a "hostile act".

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Geological Survey Astrogeology Science Center via Associated Press)

Step through the Cinder Lake Crater Field roughly 12 miles outside Flagstaff, Ariz., and you might encounter a white crystal-filled rock that has absolutely no business being there.

The chunks of anorthosite weren't deposited there by nature — they were trucked in from the mountains around Pasadena, Calif. And the craters were carved not by meteors, but by fertilizer and dynamite.

Before the first man landed on the moon, NASA dispatched the Apollo astronauts to this volcanic field to search for these and other faux moon rocks.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army)

A soldier who died in Camp Buehring, Kuwait, from a non-combat related incident on July 18 was identified by the Pentagon as Sgt. William Friese, a West Virginia Army National Guard soldier assigned to the 821st Engineer Company, 1092nd Engineer Battalion, 111th Engineer Brigade.

Read More Show Less
Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office

A South Florida city founded by World War II veterans wants to make it easier for fellow veterans to park.

The West Miami city commission passed an initiative Wednesday to designate "veterans only" parking spaces in the city, which is nestled between the Tamiami Trail and Coral Way.

Read More Show Less