The cemetery and its surrounding historic district are nationally significant in the following ways, the NPS said in a statement:
- As America’s most sacred national cemetery and as a national memorial to U.S. military history.
- It contains the burials of persons of national importance, including Presidents, Supreme Court justices and thousands of military heroes.
- As the final resting place of service men and women from the Civil War to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it continues to serve as a national monument to America's war dead.
"For 150 years, Arlington National Cemetery has defined how America commemorates and memorializes those who have fought for the freedom of its citizens," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "We are proud to provide this formal recognition of its historical significance to our nation and to those who have served so proudly and sacrificed for our nation in the armed forces."
Arlington National Cemetery was established during the Civil War as a burial ground for Union soldiers on about 200 acres of Mary Custis Lee's 1,100-acre Arlington, Virginia estate. The property was used also as a military camp and Freedman's Village during and after the Civil War.
Much of the planning and design of the cemetery is attributable to Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs during the first decades of Arlington National Cemetery. Several memorials, beginning with the Tomb of the Civil War Unknowns in 1866, were erected during Meigs' tenure.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was placed at the cemetery in 1921. President John F. Kennedy was buried there in 1963, with a monument and eternal flame on his gravesite, followed by his brother Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. Both Kennedys were assassinated.
Today, Arlington National Cemetery continues to serve as an active cemetery, with graves of more than 400,000 military personnel, their family members, and other dignitaries.
More than three million visitors pay their respects each year.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation.
For more info: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. National Register of Historic Places, http://www.nps.gov/nr. National Park Service, www.nps.gov. http://www.nps.gov/nr/. The Meigs family estate, Hamanassett, (1856) in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, has been exquisitely restored as the Hamanassett Bed & Breakfast.