The Arlington National Cemetery will be expanding acreage in order to provide more 60,000 more burial plot for U.S. service members. This expansion will ensure burial space for service members through 2050. Without the expansion, the cemetery is estimated to run out of burial plots in 22 years.
According to Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries, the Arlington National Cemetery averages about 150 funeral services every week and attracts 3.3 million visitors every year. The forecasted pacing is stretching staff and land resources at the cemetery.
Without the expansion, the cemetery would be on pace to run out of burial space by 2022. Other solutions suggested would be tightening the rules for burials at Arlington National Cemetery, a solution that Army acknowledged would have tremendous emotional impact.
The Arlington County Board has approved a Memorandum of Agreement for the expansion this past weekend.
What will be the impacts of the expansion?
According to the press release, the expansion will require a partial removal of the cemetary’s blue granite boundary wall (which dates back to 1897).
The plan will also require the conversion of about 1.7 acres of the Air Force Memorial to burial and pedestrian space, as well as a reliagnment of the Columbia Pike. Additional visitor parking is planned for south of the Columbia Pike.
If you are interested in taking a student group to Arlington National Cemetery, browse our many sample trip itineraries or check out our SCHOOL TRIP SPOTLIGHT: Arlington National Cemetery.