The Homecoming

The scars from that war remain etched deep in Arlington’s topography, which also tells the story of the nation’s recovery and healing, of a young country’s growing realization of its power, of its willingness to exercise that power on the world stage through two world wars, the Korean conflict, the Cold War, Vietnam, and subsequent hostilities, each with its flashes of glory, its moments of doubt and agony, and its added burials for Arlington, which continues to grow; from an initial 200 acres established in 1864, the national cemetery covers 624 acres today.

Few images linger in the national imagination as vividly as this hallowed ground, with its ghostly white tombstones, its deep green turf, its gnarled trees alive with songbirds and cicadas. Almost four million people visit the place each year, to pay homage at President Kennedy’s eternal flame on the hillside, to watch the silent, solemn changing of the guard, to walk among the scientists, explorers, jurists, writers, spies, actors, criminals, generals, admirals, and thousands of ordinary citizen- warriors resting at Arlington.

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