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Every day is Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery
By Tom Adkinson

arlington national cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery; image by Tom Adkinson.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Memorial Day is the last Monday in May, but it is memorial day 365 days a year at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery, just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., and resting place for more than 300,000 veterans of every American conflict, allows you to soak in many layers of our history while you honor those who served.

arlington national cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery; image by Tom Adkinson.

The hallowed ground surrounds a mansion, Arlington House, built by the step-grandson of George Washington. The cemetery’s origins are rooted in the animus of the Civil War because that mansion had been the home of Robert E. Lee before the war. You can contemplate the cemetery’s many stories on foot, or you can take a bus tour that includes the Tomb of the Unknowns, the Coast Guard Memorial and the graves of Gen. John Pershing and President John Kennedy. One non-military grave is that of James Parks, who dug the cemetery’s first graves during the Civil War. He knew the land well because he was born here as a slave.

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(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s new book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available at

Published May 17, 2019

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