Arlington National Cemetery is a place of great history and significance for all Americans. Walking through the grounds or taking one of the many tours, visitors can get a sense of just how many have served their country in some way.
The land originally belonged to the step-grandson of George Washington. After the onset of the Civil War in 1861, the federal troops occupied the property. The need for land to bury soldiers increased during the Civil War, and the first military burial took place in May of 1864. In June of that same year the War Department designated the site as the national cemetery. By the end of the war, thousands of service members were buried there.
Today there are over 400,000 active duty service members, veterans, and family members buried there. Numerous monuments and memorials are located throughout the cemetery. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the well-know memorials. It is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The elaborate changing of the guard, which draws a large crowd, happens either every hour or every half-hour, depending on the season.
The Welcome Center is a good place to start your visit. There you can find useful information about current events, maps of the grounds and other information to make your visit complete.