Arlington National Cemetery is situated on 624 acres of green, gently rolling land in northern Virginia. Even if it wasn’t a national shrine to the American soldier, and even if some of the most important historical figures in America weren’t buried here, it would still be a striking place, what with its expansive views of Washington, D.C., which is just across the Potomac River from the cemetery.
But the view that arrests the attention is not that of our nation’s Capitol, but instead of the headstones–row after continuous row of precisely-placed marble slabs, thousands upon thousands of them, stretching across the property as far as the eye can see. Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for over 400,000 people, and most of their graves are marked with these simple headstones. As visitors look out over the cemetery, they can’t help but think of the many men and women who have served in the United States armed forces, and it invariably has the effect of leaving one speechless.