As of 1997, in order to qualify for burial in Arlington National Cemetery, the deceased must meet one or more of the following criteria.

Any honorably discharged winners of the Air Force Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Purple Heart or Silver Star.

Any members of the armed services who die on active duty, certain disabled veterans, members of the armed services who haved served long enough to be offically retired, and any honorably discharged veterans who have held federal elective office at a Cabinet level position or who have served on the Supreme Court. Their wives and minor children are also eligible.

Until 1967, all honorably discharged veterans qualified for burial in the cemetary.

The only two Presidents buried in Arlington National Cemetery are John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft.

Located in Arlington, Virginia and easily accessible from Washington DC via car or the DC Metro subway, Arlington National Cemetary is not only a final resting spot for the nation's war heroes, it is also a popular tourist attraction because some of the more prominent leaders in the United States are buried there.

Arlington National Cemetary (ANC) was designated as a military cemetary by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton in 1864. More than 250,000 people are buried there, some of whom are veterans of the Revolutionary War, and some who are veterans of the more recent Persian Gulf War.

Memorial Sites within Arlington National Cemetary
  • JFK Memorial: One of two US Presidents buried at ANC. President John F. Kennedy was originally to be buried in his native state of Massachusetts, but Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara felt that ANC would be a more appropriate place of interment. With the approval of Mrs. Kennedy, the slope below Arlington House would be the final resting place of the slain President. In 1994, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis would join President Kennedy at the Kennedy gravesite. The Kennedy gravesite is marked with the Eternal Flame which contains an ignition switch to relight the gas flame should it go out for any reason. More than 16 million people visit the Kennedy gravesite annually.
  • President William Howard Taft Monument: Located in Section 30, Lot S-11, Grid YZ-39 1/2, and facing east, this lot is the final resting spot of President Taft. His wife, Helen Herron Taft is buried next to him in the same plot. President Taft was buried in 1930, and the cost of the monument was paid for entirely by the Taft family.
  • Challenger Memorial: On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded two minutes after lift-off from the Kennedy Space Center. The remains of the seven astronauts killed in the explosion were retrieved, cremated, and then placed in ANC in Section 46. Congress passed a resolution on June 12, 1986, ordering the momument to be erected.
  • Tomb of the Unknowns: To honor a WWI veteran who was slain in battle, yet had no identifying information, Congress approved a burial site behind the Memorial Amphitheater for this soldier in 1921. Enscribed on the soldier's tom is the phrase


    In 1956, President Eisenhower signed a bill, ordering for the remains of unknown soldiers from WWII and the Korean War to be placed in Arlington. These two unknowns were placed in tombs next to the unknown from WWI.

    One unknown soldier from the Vietnam War was buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns in 1984. In 1998, DNA testing showed that the remains of this unknown are that of USAF 1st Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie. Lt. Blassie was shot down in Vietnam in 1972. Currently, the tomb once occupied by Lt. Blassie is vacant.
  • Pan-Am Flight 103 Memorial Cairn: Built upon the passage of Joint Resolution 129 in 1993. The memorial called for 270 blocks of red Scottish sandstone, one block for each of the 270 victims of this terrorist attack. The cairn is seven feet wide and ten and a half feet tall.
created as part of the U.S. National Parks and Monuments quest.

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