Posted: Monday, May 28th 2012 at 12:00am
Arlington National Cemetery—A Memorial Day Tribute
By Calvin Johnson Jr. Staff
Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for those who fought for the Confederacy and Union during the War Between the States. It is also the burial place for men and women who fought our nation's wars since the War Between the States.
There are 245,000 Servicemen and Women, including their families, buried at Arlington?
The world famous Arlington National Cemetery in located in the shadow of the Custis-Lee Mansion (Arlington House) that was home to General Robert E. Lee and family until 1861 at the beginning of the War Between the States. This cemetery is on the Virginia side of the Potomac River and Washington, D.C. is across the river.
In 1864, Union soldiers were first buried here and by the end of the war the number rose to 16,000.
The Union burial site at Arlington National Cemetery is located at (section 13). Also buried at Arlington include: President John F. Kennedy, General Jonathan M. Wainwright, Actor-War Hero Audie Murphy and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
About the turn of the century 1900 the USA also honored the men who fought for the Confederacy. The burial site for Dixie's soldiers is located at (section 16).
A beautiful Confederate monument at Arlington cemetery towers 32.5 feet and has an inscription that reads, “A Obedience To Duty As They Understood It; These Men Suffered All; Sacrificed All and Died!"
In 1898, President William McKinley, a former Union soldier, spoke in Atlanta, Georgia and said, "In the spirit of Fraternity it was time for the North to share in the care of the graves of former Confederate soldiers.”
In consequence to his speech, by act of the United States Congress, a portion of Arlington National Cemetery was set aside for the burial of Confederate soldiers. At this time 267 Confederate remains from and near Washington, D.C. were removed and re-interred at this new site at Arlington.
In 1906, The United Daughters of the Confederacy asked for permission from William Howard Taft to erect a Confederate monument. Taft was at the time serving as the United States Secretary of War and was in charge of National Cemeteries.
With permission the Arlington Confederate Memorial Association was formed and the ladies of the UDC were given authority to oversee work on the monument.
An agreement and contract was made with Sir Moses J. Ezekiel who was a Jewish Confederate Veteran by the record of his service at the Battle of New Market while he was a cadet at Virginia Military Institute. Work started at his workshop in Italy in 1910, and upon his death in 1917, the Great Sculptor, was brought back home and buried near the base of the Arlington Confederate Monument.
The year was 1914, and the Arlington monument was unveiled to a crowd of thousands that included former Union and Confederate soldiers.
This memorial event was presided over by President Woodrow Wilson and the people applauded the stirring speeches given by: General Bennett H. Young---Commander In Chief of the United Confederate Veterans, General Washington Gardner---Commander In Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, Colonel Robert E. Lee---grandson of General Robert E. Lee andMrs. Daisy McLaurin Stevens President General of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The Arlington Confederate Monument unveiling was concluded by a 21 gun salute and the monument was officially given to the United Daughters of the Confederacy and the UDC gave it back to the United States War Department for keeping and was accepted by President Woodrow Wilson who said:
"I am not so happy as PROUD to participate in this capacity on such an occasion---proud that I represent such a people."
Since President Wilson wreathes have been sent to both sections of Arlington.
Let us never forget!
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