Visiting Arlington National Cemetery Tours on the weekend or a federal holiday has one great advantage – there are three additional stops included in the regular ticket price!
Once you have returned to the Welcome Center after taking the regular tour loop, your narrator can direct you to the pickup location of the weekend route trolley. The whole loop lasts approximately 20 minutes and you are able to hop on and off at the stops which are Sections 55 & 59, Columbarium/Niche Wall, and The Pentagon Group Burial Marker & 9/11 Memorial (Section 64).
You may be wondering why these extra stops are only available on the weekend and federal holidays. There are up to 30 funerals each day of the week, Monday through Friday. A majority of those services take place in the sections that the weekend route travels. There are approximately 10 services on Saturday, which require no resources, and there are no services on Sundays or federal holidays.
The first stop on the weekend route takes you to Sections 55 and 59. Section 55 is one of the active burial sections in the cemetery. You will see fresh burial sites and small black temporary markers which are put in the ground to mark the burial location until the permanent government issued headstone can be placed on the ground. Section 59 holds the remains of notables Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and Brigadier General Hazel Johnson Brown.
The second stop is for the Columbarium Courts and the Niche Wall. Half the services conducted at the cemetery are for cremated remains. The Columbarium Courts and Niche Wall hold urns of service members and their eligible family members. These structures provide additional burial space for years to come and represent a cultural trend in the way people are buried.
The third and final stop on the weekend loop takes you to the Pentagon Group Burial Marker. The marker has the names of the 184 victims of the terrorist attack at the Pentagon on 9/11. From this stop, you can also see the west side of the Pentagon which was struck by American Airlines flight 77.
On your way back to the Welcome Center, you will pass by section 60. It is referred to as the saddest section at Arlington because it holds the remains of service members from Iraq and Afghanistan. Family and friends often visit the graves in this section.
Come take a tour on Saturday, Sunday or federal holiday to learn more about the sections, notables, monuments, and memorials on the weekend route.
Amanda Varnam Arlington National Cemetery Narrator, driver, trainer and dispatcher.
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