Army Proposes New Burial Rules to Extend Lifespan of Arlington Cemetery

September 27, 2019 by Dan McCue
Arlington National Cemetery. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – Faced with the prospects of simply running out of space by mid-century, the U.S. Army this week proposed new rules for who can be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Arlington National Cemetery is a national shrine for all Americans, but especially those who have served our great nation,” Acting Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said in a written statement.

“We must ensure it can honor those we have lost for many years to come,” he added.

If the current guidelines for burial remain in place, the cemetery would run out of grave sites sometime in the mid-2050s.

Under a new proposal, veterans who retired from active duty and were eligible for retirement pay would no longer be automatically eligible for in-ground burial. They would be eligible, though, for above-ground “inurnment” of cremated remains.

The new restrictions would extend the use of the cemetery “as an active burial ground”  for another 150 years, the Army said.

Those who were killed in action or received awards such as the Purple Heart or Silver Star could still receive an in-ground burial. U.S. presidents and vice presidents also would retain eligibility.

The Army, which manages the cemetery, has been seeking comment on how it should manage existing space for about two-and-a-half years, and so far, more than a quarter-million people have responded to a survey conducted by the cemetery itself.

Officials have said about three-quarters of survey respondents favored restricting eligibility for burial in some way to preserve the cemetery’s active use for burials.

The proposed plan for future will now be published in the Federal Register to solicit another round of public comments. If those comments prompt no revisions, the new rules could take effect in about nine months.

The cemetery was founded during the Civil War, when Union soldiers seized the estate of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and began burying war dead within feet of the mansion.

Today, more than 400,000 people are buried in the cemetery, and only 95,000 burial spaces remain, though a planned expansion will add 37 acres of burial space and more than 10 years of life to the cemetery under the existing rules.

Under the current rules, nearly all of the 22 million living armed forces members and veterans are eligible for burial at Arlington, the Army said.

For additional information, contact: Lt. Col. Crystal Boring, Army Public Affairs, at 703-693-6477 or [email protected] or Kerry Meeker, Arlington National Cemetery, at 703-614-0024 or [email protected]

In The News

Ending Broadcast TV Blackouts at Center of STELAR Reauthorization Congress
Ending Broadcast TV Blackouts at Center of STELAR Reauthorization
October 23, 2019
by Sean Trambley

With what seems like an annual tradition, consumers flip on their TV to catch a playoff game or some other “must see TV” program only to find the station blacked out in the pay TV provider’s lineup because the provider can’t reach an agreement with the... Read More

In Hamburg, ‘Gesundheit’ Means More Than a Wish for Good Health Health
In Hamburg, ‘Gesundheit’ Means More Than a Wish for Good Health

HAMBURG, Germany — Researchers around the world hail Germany for its robust health care system: universal coverage, plentiful primary care, low drug prices and minimal out-of-pocket costs for residents. Unlike in the U.S., the prospect of a large medical bill doesn’t stand in the way of... Read More

Is Video Game Addiction a Mental Health Disorder? South Korea Looks in the Mirror Mental Health
Is Video Game Addiction a Mental Health Disorder? South Korea Looks in the Mirror

SEOUL, South Korea — His video game habit started in middle school. His bedroom door was always locked, and when his grandmother stood on the veranda and peered through his window, he was invariably engrossed in an on-screen gunfight. He eventually began disappearing to play at... Read More

Identical Twins. Identical Asylum Claims. Very Different Luck at the Border Immigration
Identical Twins. Identical Asylum Claims. Very Different Luck at the Border

JUAREZ, Mexico — The 12-year-old identical twins entered Texas from Mexico days apart in the foothills of Mount Cristo Rey. One came with their father. The other arrived with their mother. It was June. The family’s plan was to get caught by Border Patrol agents as... Read More

The Uncertainty of Government Run Healthcare Health
The Uncertainty of Government Run Healthcare
October 22, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Accustomed as they are to believing government can do a great deal of good for a great many, serious Democrats have grown increasingly concerned over the potential long-term ramifications of Medicare for all proposals. While it's easy -- and perhaps hopeful -- to view... Read More

Florida Senate Opens Session to Decide Fate of Broward Sheriff State News
Florida Senate Opens Session to Decide Fate of Broward Sheriff

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Emotions were high and security tight Monday as the Florida Senate convened a three-day special session to decide whether or not to uphold Gov. Ron DeSantis’ suspension of Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. At an early morning press conference, the parents of the... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top