In order to stay ahead of shrinking burial space, the Army is proposing new criteria to decide who is and is not eligible to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the service announced on Wednesday.

Under current criteria, "[n]early all of the 22 million living armed forces members and veterans are eligible for less than 95,000 remaining burial spaces." Without changes, the Army says the cemetery will hit capacity by the 2050s.

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U.S. Navy sailors at Los Angeles International Airport. It took the U.S. government nearly 40 years to recover the wreckage of the E-1B Tracer aircraft that crashed, killing Guerra in 1967. (Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

As kids, Ruben and Raul thought they had life all figured out.

They would grow up and live minutes from each other, be best men in each other's weddings, godfathers to each other's children. They would sit side by side at Dodger Stadium, two old men in a sea of blue.

The friends never imagined that after high school both would be sent to Vietnam — but only one would return.

The loss was so painful that for 40 years Ruben Valencia could hardly bring himself to say Raul Guerra's name.

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DoD photo

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.

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U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue

Arlington National Cemetery is perhaps the most hallowed, and sought-after, space to bury American service members. But after 150 years in operation, it’s running out of room.

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