Arlington National Cemetery, the burial ground for veterans or active-duty forces is running out of space.
Regarded as a hallowed ground in the U.S., the cemetery came into existence to solve the problem of burial space in and around Washington D.C. for beloved veterans and forces being exhausted. Now, burials are again outpacing available space.
So far, there have been 400,000 people who have been laid to rest on Arlington’s 624 big acres. The cemetery, with the slogan “Honor. Remember. Explore”, conducts 30 burials a day and hosts more than 3. 5 million visitors a year.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Great advice, Amanda.<br><br>If you're visiting the cemetery over <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MemorialDay?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MemorialDay</a>, please be mindful of one another. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HonorThem?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HonorThem</a> <a href="https://t.co/MGlV3bQ5rW">https://t.co/MGlV3bQ5rW</a></p>— Arlington Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) <a href="https://twitter.com/ArlingtonNatl/status/1000454851879370752?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 26, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Karen Durham-Aguilera, Executive Director of Army National Military Cemeteries warns of the impending crisis. She said: “Without a change, by 2041, we will run out of room.”
As such, the cemetery is considering changes to the eligibility requirements for burial. Durham-Aguilera explained: “There are a lot of nuances. Some basic requirements ( include): active duty, honorable discharge, active duty service (other than training) for at least one-day.”
There are national cemeteries all over the country, and Veterans Affairs runs 135 other military cemeteries all over the U.S. but Arlington remains the most sought after. As such, even with current expansion plans, the demand simply can not keep up with current needs.
Durham-Aguilera sees restricting eligibility as a viable solution to keep Arlington open for 150-200 more years.
Requests for burial in Arlington quadrupled after President John F. Kennedy was buried there. The number of visitors also jumped from only one million to nine million in the first six months after Kennedy’s burial.