Explore U.S. History at our Nation’s Most Hallowed Ground

Arlington National Cemetery  (ANC) is considered America’s most hallowed ground and a sacred shrine to service and sacrifice. More than 400,000 people are laid to rest at ANC including former presidents, astronauts, civil rights activists, medical professionals, and prominent military figures.

ANC recently launched an
education program for students, families, and lifelong learners. The program
aims to honor the sacrifices and extraordinary lives of American service
members and their families, support remembrance of the past and present
military conflicts and circumstances surrounding them, and invite personal
exploration of connections to America’s diverse history. As the school year
draws to a close, this program provides a great summer learning opportunity to
explore and discover U.S. history through the unique lens of ANC.

The ANC education program highlights four
educational themes:

of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is ANC’s
most iconic memorial. For nearly 100 years, it has stood at the heart of the
cemetery, serving as a site for reflection on service, valor, and sacrifice.
The Tomb sarcophagus stands above the grave of an Unknown Soldier from World
War I, buried when the Tomb was dedicated on November 11, 1921. Two additional
crypts, for Unknowns from World War II and the Korean War, were added in 1958.
The Unknowns represent all unidentified service members who gave their lives
for the United States.

American History at Arlington National Cemetery

A microcosm of the nation’s history, the
history of the Arlington property encompasses slavery, emancipation, segregation,
and civil rights. At the cemetery, gravesites and memorials honor the dedication
and sacrifice of African American service members who served their country and
fought for racial justice.


Whether you are planning to visit the cemetery or are exploring it from home, download guides  to understand more about the history, traditions and operations of ANC. The guides include:

  • Appropriate Behavior at Arlington National Cemetery
  • A Short History of the Arlington
  • Differences in Grave Markers
  • Elements of Military Funerals
  • Horticulture and the Grounds at
    Arlington National Cemetery

Spanish-American War

Famously described as a “splendid
little war,” the Spanish-American War lasted for only four months in 1898.
Despite its brevity, it had a tremendous historical impact. The United States
acquired overseas territories, established itself as the dominant nation in the
Western Hemisphere and began a new era as a major world power.

ANC contains more
Spanish-American War monuments and burial sites than any other location in the
continental United States. Use the materials in this module to explore the
legacy of this war and the experiences of individuals who served — as soldiers,
sailors or military nurses.

For more information about ANC’s
education program and to access their materials, visit education.arlingtoncemetery.mil.