Arlington National Cemetery: The History of America's Most Famous Military Cemetery
*Includes pictures *Explains the transformation of Arlington from a private estate to a military cemetery *Includes contemporary accounts describing Arlington and its history *Includes a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents "Looking across this field, we see the scale of heroism and sacrifice. All who are buried here understood their duty. All stood to protect America. And all carried with them memories of a family that they hoped to keep safe by their sacrifice." - President George W. Bush, 2005 Cemeteries are by their very nature tragic places, as they would never exist were it not for the inevitably cold hand of death that will certainly take out each person eventually. Given that fact, each bears its own unique history, whether it be the Valley of the Kings in Egypt or a small family plot in rural Georgia. Naturally, Arlington National Cemetery, sitting as it does on the very edge of the nation's capital upon a hill across the Potomac River, bears its own tragic aura, but it's certainly ironic that it was never intended to be a cemetery at all. Indeed, the very land was not meant to house the nation's dead but to support the family of the nation's father, George Washington himself. How Arlington went within just a few tragic months from stately mansion to solemn sepulcher is one of the most unusual stories in American history, but in many ways it is also one of the most fitting. As author Karl Decker observed in 1892, "It stands as a connecting link between the historic time of struggle, in which the Government was first established, and the later and equally important years of strife that saw the principles for which the colonists fought once more triumphant, and the fabric of Constitutional Government more firmly based upon a federation of loyal States. With every important epoch in the history of the country Arlington has had its connection. It brings forth recollections of Washington as vividly as phantoms of the past century." Nothing could emphasize how divisive the Civil War was than the fate of Arlington, which was the place Confederate general Robert E. Lee called home. By marrying into the Custis family, Lee merged his family with relatives of Washington, but during the war, the fact that the Confederacy's most famous general had a house overlooking the Union capital bedeviled many, especially politicians. When the war's ghastly carnage filled up cemeteries around Washington, U.S. Army Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs ultimately proposed using Arlington as a cemetery, both for its location and for its connection with Lee, and Union soldiers were being buried near Lee's estate nearly a year before the war ended. Although the government would negotiate with Lee's family over the property after the war, from that point forward the cemetery expanded, and in addition to becoming the resting place for veterans, memorials and monuments of all kinds are scattered across the grounds. While the Lee house is still a tourist attraction, the grave site of slain president John F. Kennedy is on the grounds, as is a monument to the USS Maine and similar other tragedies. Arlington National Cemetery: The History of America's Most Famous Military Cemetery traces the history and legacy of the national park. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the history of Arlington Cemetery like never before, in no time at all.
Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
October 17, 2017
8.5 X 11.0 X 0.23 inches | 0.6 pounds
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