“How much space is left?” is a common question from visitors at Arlington National Cemetery. Over 420,000 service members and their family members are buried here across 624 acres.
As one of the most popular national cemeteries out of over 130, Arlington has very strict eligibility requirements. In order to be buried at Arlington, you have to have served at least one day of active duty outside of training. This guarantees above ground burial as cremation in the Niche Wall or Columbarium Court. The in-ground requirements are very stringent and some of the hardest to meet out of all national cemeteries. To be eligible for in-ground burial service, members must be one of the following: Retired from the military, a recipient of a high status medal or killed in action.
Even with these strict requirements, Arlington conducts up to 30 funerals each day of the week. In the early 1990s, cemetery officials and Congress realized that the cemetery was almost full. Congress was able to acquire land from the National Park Service and Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall. Ultimately, the project will add approximately 27 acres and 30,000 more burial spaces in-ground and above ground.
The cemetery is expecting the first burials to take place in the newly allotted space by the end of 2016 or early 2017. The whole project is expected to be complete by 2019. This additional space will only allow the cemetery to continue burying people until approximately 2030. So they are in the process of acquiring additional space in the area referred to as the Navy Annex which surrounds the Air force Memorial. This project is still in the very early stages of planning and the full details are not yet known.
The guided tour will take you near each of these future burial sites as well as the expansion projects that will allow for the continual burial of our nation’s heroes.
And don’t forget to visit popular stops like the Kennedy Gravesite and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Arlington National Cemetery
Narrator, driver, trainer and dispatcher.