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Visit the National Cemeteries Near Washington, D.C.

There are 147 cemeteries that are considered to be part of the United States National Cemetery System. Not surprisingly, the System began in the midst of the Civil War, when 14 national cemeteries became the first to be established. While often considered to be military cemeteries, national cemeteries can also include notable civilian leaders and other national figures.

There are 22 national cemeteries in and around the greater Washington, D.C. area, but the most well-known is Arlington National Cemetery. First created in 1864, Arlington encompasses 624 acres and is on the grounds of the former residence of Robert E. Lee. Visitors can pay their respects to loved ones, watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and observe the eternal flame, a memorial for President John F. Kennedy.

Alexandria National Cemetery, also just outside D.C., was created in 1862 and was among the 14 original cemeteries in the national system. By 1864, this cemetery was nearly filled to capacity as a result of the carnage associated with the Civil War. The situation led to the creation of Arlington. 

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery, established in 1864, encompasses 624 acres of land across from Lincoln Memorial. This military cemetery is the final resting place of veterans from the American Civil War through current Iraq military actions.

The cemetery is on the grounds of Arlington House, the former residence of Robert E. Lee and his wife Mary Anna Lee.

Visit the grounds of this beautiful Arlington cemetery,and be sure to watch the changing of the guard ritual at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The grave site of President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and the eternal flame is one of the more visited memorials in the cemetery. Stop by the Visitor Center to view the maps, displays and exhibits.

Alexandria National Cemetery

Plan your next visit out to the DC area. The Alexandria National Cemetery located near Old Town Alexandria, Virginia was established in 1862. It is one of the 14 original national cemeteries, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

The cemetery was nearly filled to capacity in 1864, which led to the construction of the Arlington National Cemetery. Other notable Alexandria attractions also include the Alexandria Black History Museum and Mount Vernon (George Washington’s Estate).