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Arlington National Cemetery Fast Facts

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(CNN) — Here’s a look at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Facts:
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) in Arlington, Virginia, contains the remains of more than 400,000 people from the United States and 11 other countries, buried there since the 1860s. More than three million people visit the cemetery annually.

The Arlington estate was originally owned by George Washington Parke Custis, adopted grandson of George Washington. His daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis, who married Robert E. Lee, inherited the estate. It was abandoned by the Lees during the Civil War and used as headquarters for the Union army. Arlington House (also known as Custis-Lee Mansion) is currently a memorial for Robert E. Lee and run by the National Park Service. Arlington National Cemetery is administered by the Department of the Army.

Nearly 5,000 unknown soldiers are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery has the second-largest number of people buried of any national cemetery in the US. Calverton National Cemetery, on Long Island, near Farmingdale, New York, is the largest. Burial in Arlington is generally limited to active, retired and former members of the armed forces, Medal of Honor recipients, high-ranking federal government officials and their dependents.

Funerals are normally conducted six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Arlington averages 27 to 30 funerals, including interments and inurnments, each weekday, and six to eight services on Saturdays. The flags in Arlington National Cemetery are flown at half-staff from a half hour before the first funeral until a half hour after the last funeral each day. The partial remains of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986, are buried at the cemetery.

The seven Columbia astronauts have their own memorial at Arlington, near the one for the Challenger. As a living tribute, there are 36 Memorial Trees for Medal of Honor recipients. Annually, just prior to Memorial Day weekend, the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) places American flags before the gravestones and niches of service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the US Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.

The cemetery has armed guards stationed throughout the grounds. Visitors to the cemetery are required to enter through one of four access points: the cemetery’s main entrance on Memorial Avenue, the Ord & Weitzel Gate, the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Old Post Chapel Gate, and the Service Complex Gate off of Colombia Pike. Visitors undergo security screenings and random ID checks.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
The Tomb of the Unknowns (aka Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) has never been officially named. It is a memorial to the dead of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Tomb is made from Yule marble quarried in Colorado. It consists of seven pieces, with a total weight of 79 tons. The Tomb was completed in 1932, at a cost of $48,000. The tomb has the following words inscribed: Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.

The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, everyday of the year, by volunteer members of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), in full dress uniform carrying M-14 rifles. Timeline:
May 13, 1864 – The first military burial takes place at Arlington Estate. Pvt. William H. Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry is buried. June 15, 1864 – Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs designates Arlington House and its surrounding 200 acres as a Union military cemetery.

1882 – George Washington Custis Lee sues the government for taking over the land. The US Supreme Court rules that the federal government was trespassing.

March 3, 1883 – Congress purchases the land for $150,000. May 15, 1920 – Memorial Amphitheater is dedicated.

1921 – The Tomb of the Unknowns is established for an unknown soldier of World War I. April 6, 1948 – The 3rd US Infantry begins guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns 24 hours a day.

May 14, 1998 – Through DNA testing, the Vietnam era Unknown Soldier’s identity is established as Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie who died near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. His remains are returned to his family and this particular crypt remains empty.

2002 – Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), now recognized as “active duty designees,” can now have their ashes buried at the cemetery with full military honors. November 13, 2009 – Secretary of the Army John McHugh orders the inspector general to conduct an inspection of the record keeping operations in the cemetery. June 2010 – The Army’s investigation reveals missing burial records, unmarked graves and burial urns put in a spillage pile, where dirt dug up for gravesites is left. Longtime Superintendent John C. Metzler is reprimanded. He is able to keep his job until his retirement date of July 2, 2010.

July 14, 2010 – The cemetery announces that Thurman Higginbotham, second-in-command at Arlington, filed paperwork in the previous week to retire retroactive to July 2, 2010. He had been placed on administrative leave in June pending disciplinary review for improper handling of burial records, and was accused of botching dozens of contracts. July 29, 2010 – Senator Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of an oversight panel on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, says that her investigation of the cemetery has revealed that between 4,900 and 6,600 graves may be unmarked or mislabeled on cemetery maps. December 2010 – The Army launches the first criminal investigation into the misplacement of remains at Arlington National Cemetery after discovering the cremated remains of eight people dumped in a single grave site.

December 22, 2010 – President Barack Obama signs into law bill S. 3860, which will hold the Secretary of the Army accountable to Congress on Arlington National Cemetery’s ability to identify and fix errors in the burial records for gravesites. December 23, 2011 – According to the Army Inspector General’s report, of the 259,978 graves audited, 195,748 were checked. The consequences are that in 64,230 cases, the information on the headstones is incorrect when compared to the paper or electronic records. January 25, 2012-January 26, 2012 – Following a congressional hearing regarding contracting oversight, a Homeland Security & Government Affairs subcommittee investigates a media report of $12 million dollars in funds missing from the ANC. The following day, the subcommittee states that the ANC is not missing the funds, as has been reported. The “reconciliation of prior year financial transactions” and a switch to a new Army business system are the reasons for the lack of transparency.

January 26, 2012 – Former Marine Corps reservist Yonathan Melaku is sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempting to desecrate graves at the cemetery.

2012 – Arlington seeks designation as a historic district on the National Register. The entire process takes up to a year. April 11, 2014 – The National Park Service lists the Arlington National Cemetery Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. June 15, 2014 – The 150th anniversary of the cemetery.

July 17, 2014 – Philanthropist and billionaire David M. Rubenstein donates $12.35 million to the National Park Foundation to improve access to Arlington House and restore the slave quarters and grounds.

2015 – McHugh reverses the 2002 policy that previously permitted the ashes of women who served as pilots during World War II, in the WASP program, to be buried at the cemetery with full military honors. May 20, 2016 – President Obama signs a bill into law once again allowing the ashes of WW II WASPs to be laid to rest at the military cemetery. Buried at Arlington:
President William Howard Taft
President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
Senators and brothers Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy
Chief Justices Earl Warren, Warren Burger and William Rehnquist
General George C. Marshall
Margariette Higgins, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent
Dashiell Hammett, author and veteran of both World War I and II
Spotswood Poles, baseball player in the Negro Leagues
Audie Murphy, actor and most decorated US soldier of World War II
Glenn Miller, noted composer and big band leader, has a headstone as his body was never recovered after a plane crash in World War II
James Parks, a former Arlington Estate slave and gravedigger, he is the only person buried in Arlington National Cemetery who was born on the property
Anita Newcomb McGee, the first female Army surgeon and founder of the Army Nurse Corps
Walter Reed, pioneering bacteriologist
Astronauts Lt. Col. Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom and Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee, killed at Cape Canaveral, Florida in a fire aboard their Apollo spacecraft. They are buried next to one another
Sgt. Mark Matthews, the oldest living of the Buffalo Soldiers, 111 years old in 2005
Medgar Evers, murdered civil rights leader
Thurgood Marshall, first African-American Supreme Couwt justice
Joe Louis, former boxing heavyweight champion of the world
Lee Marvin, actor and World War II veteran
Pierre Charles L’Enfant, architect and designer of the city of Washington
John Glenn, former senator and astronaut

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The Latest: Prison security head wants to reduce segregation

The Latest on court hearing over Wisconsin youth prisons (all times local):

5:35 p.m. A federal judge says that Wisconsin’s juvenile prison for boys is a “troubled institution” that overuses segregation, pepper spray and shackles on inmates. But U.S. District Judge James Peterson said Thursday he doesn’t know if the answer is to immediately bar those practices like the American Civil Liberties Union and Juvenile Law Center is asking. Peterson says he wants to maintain safety at the prisons and he doesn’t want to overreach with whatever he orders on Friday.

Peterson made the comments to attorneys following the end of a daylong hearing on the issues. He says he hopes that both sides could agree to a plan for moving forward. But he also says he has “concerns that the problems are so severe and the harm to the residents of Lincoln Hills is so acute” that the state should be allowed to refine its use of the tactics on its own.


4:30 p.m. The security director at Wisconsin’s juvenile prisons says he wants to reduce the amount of time that youth inmates are put into solitary confinement.

But Brian Gustke testified in federal court Thursday that there are impediments to doing that. He says those include high turnover and vacancies in prison staff that leads to forced overtime, not knowing schedules and “confusion on everyone’s part, staff as well as the youth.”

Gustke defends the tactics used by guards as a way to maintain the safety and security both of staff and inmates, while admitting that the policies that lead to someone being put into solitary confinement could be improved. He says as of Wednesday, 20 of the 173 inmates at the Lincoln Hills boys prison were in segregated units.


1:30 p.m. Videos taken inside Wisconsin’s youth prisons showing young inmates being pepper sprayed by guards have been shown in federal court during a hearing on whether the practice is cruel and unusual punishment.

One video shown Thursday shows a young female inmate who refused to go into her room repeatedly pepper sprayed by a guard and then taken to the ground by two others. A second video shows a boy inmate being pepper sprayed in his cell after he refused to take his arms out of a slot in his door. Both were offered as evidence by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Juvenile Law Center in a lawsuit they brought challenging the use of pepper spray and other disciplinary tactics at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons.


11:50 a.m. An expert witness says juveniles do not need to be kept in solitary confinement, pepper sprayed or shackled at Wisconsin’s youth prisons to maintain safety.

Vincent Schiraldi testified Thursday in a federal court hearing over whether solitary confinement and other disciplinary tactics used by the state Department of Corrections are constitutional. He is the former director of juvenile corrections in Washington, D.C. and is now a researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School. He says 90 percent of prisons in the country don’t use pepper spray. But he says some juveniles in Wisconsin have been sprayed more than a dozen times a piece. Corrections officials defend the practices, saying they’re needed to maintain order and security at the prisons.


11:20 a.m.

An expert witness says juveniles do not need to be kept in solitary confinement at Wisconsin’s youth prisons to maintain safety. Vincent Schiraldi testified Thursday in a federal court hearing over whether solitary confinement and other disciplinary tactics used by the state Department of Corrections are constitutional. He is the former director of juvenile corrections in Washington, D.C. and is now a researcher at the Harvard Kennedy School. He says some juveniles at Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons spend seven or more days in a row in isolation and sometimes are not released from their cells at all during a 24-hour period.

Corrections officials defend the practice, saying it’s needed to maintain order and security at the prisons.


10 a.m. A federal judge says it appears there is a “serious problem and an ongoing use” of pepper spray to restrain juvenile inmates at Wisconsin’s youth prisons. U.S. District Judge James Peterson during a Thursday hearing voiced numerous concerns with the state’s use of pepper spray, solitary confinement and shackling of young inmates at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons. Civil rights groups are seeking a temporary restraining order to block the use of the disciplinary tactics while a lawsuit challenging their constitutionality is ongoing.

Department of Corrections attorney Sam Hall says the use of pepper spray has been going down all year. He says in June it was only used four times. But Peterson says it appears the only reason its use dropped was because of the lawsuit.


9:20 a.m. A federal judge says he will not close his courtroom when two videos showing juvenile inmates being pepper-sprayed are presented as evidence at a hearing over the practice.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson said Thursday he has “very significant concerns” about a request by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Juvenile Law Center to close the courtroom when the videos are shown. They are suing the state Department of Corrections, seeking an end to the use of pepper spraying and solitary confinement at the troubled youth prisons in Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake. A group of media outlets, including The Associated Press, has asked that the hearing be open. Peterson says he will allow viewing of the videos as long as media outlets sign a non-disclosure agreement to not identify the juveniles being pepper sprayed.


6:25 a.m.

A federal judge is set to hear evidence in a case seeking to halt the use of solitary confinement, pepper spray and the shackling of inmates at Wisconsin’s troubled youth prisons. The hearing Thursday before U.S. District Judge James Peterson comes in a lawsuit filed against the state Department of Corrections by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Juvenile Law Center. They are asking the judge to temporarily ban the disciplinary tactics at the Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake prisons while its lawsuit challenging them as unconstitutional proceeds. Attorneys asked the judge to close the hearing when videos are shown that reveal the identities of young inmates as they are pepper sprayed. A coalition of media outlets and groups was objecting to closing the hearing to show the videos.

The Latest: West Virginia bracing for remnants of Cindy

NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The Latest on Tropical Storm Cindy (all times local):

10:50 a.m.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – The National Weather Service says it expects heavy rain to spread across West Virginia starting late Thursday and continuing into Saturday.

Meteorologists say a combination of two systems – remnants of former Tropical Storm Cindy and another storm front – could produce severe thunderstorms, flooding and damaging wind gusts particularly on Friday. Emergency officials are monitoring the forecast starting late Thursday night in the greater Charleston area with expected heavy rain at times continuing into Friday and early Saturday. The severe weather forecast comes nearly on the anniversary of last year’s torrential rains and flooding, which killed 23 people in West Virginia.


10:00 a.m.

Forecasters say Cindy, the onetime tropical storm since downgraded to a depression, is weakening as it heads inland. But bands of heavy rain are continuing – with heavy rain in parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says a tropical storm warning from High Island, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, has been discontinued, hours after the storm made landfall. At 10 a.m. CDT Thursday, Cindy was about 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Morgan City and moving to the north at 13 mph (20 kph).

A turn toward the northeast is expected. Cindy or its remnants are forecast to move into Arkansas early Friday, then into Tennessee. Forecasters warn that heavy rainfall will spread over the Tennessee and Ohio valleys Thursday. Then into the central Appalachians Friday and Saturday.


9:55 a.m. Forecasters have issued a flash flood watch for eastern and southern Arkansas as Tropical Storm Cindy heads toward the state.

The National Hurricane Center says the storm is expected to weaken as its moves inland. The storm made landfall early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana. The National Weather Service in Little Rock says the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy will move into southern Arkansas later Thursday, bringing scattered thunderstorms and some areas of heavy rainfall. Forecasters say areas south and east of Little Rock could see 2 to 5 inches of rain through Saturday morning.

The flash flood watch is in effect from 7 p.m. Thursday through Friday afternoon.


8:10 a.m. Authorities in Florida are urging people to stay off the beaches and out of the Gulf of Mexico until weather conditions brought by Tropical Storm Cindy improve. Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford tells the News Herald deputies responded to 37 calls regarding swimmers in the Gulf on Tuesday as the storm brought heavy rain to Florida’s Panhandle.

The swimmers entered the water even though Panama City Beach was flying double-red flags, warning of dangerous conditions and extremely rough surf. Ford says lifeguards and deputies were fed up as tourists entered the water in spite of the warnings. There’s a law that bans swimming in the Gulf when double-red flags are flying. Ford says he’d rather people use common sense and not get in the water. There were no reports of injuries.


8 a.m.

In southwest Louisiana, not far from where Tropical Storm Cindy came ashore before dawn, motorists in trucks were driving through knee-high water in the streets. Some other drivers, though, were pulling over Thursday morning and not attempting to navigate the flooded roads in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. Shortly after dawn, some of the low-lying clouds were rotating, and gusty winds whipped across the landscape.

With the storm now over land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it’s expected to weaken over the next two days. The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.


7:15 a.m. Tropical Storm Cindy has brought heavy winds and rain to southeast Texas but minimal damage as the storm system moves northeast.

Street and other flooding was reported in places such as Port Arthur, along Sabine Pass and the border with Louisiana, where Cindy made landfall early Thursday. Winds in the Galveston County town of San Leon exceeded 50 mph but were slightly weaker along other parts of the Texas coast southeast of Houston. The Houston area was expected to get a couple inches of rain through Thursday. A flash flood watch was issued for parts of East Texas.

The Texas Department of Transportation says all state roads and bridges are open in the area.


7 a.m. The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Cindy is expected to weaken as it moves farther inland after coming ashore in southwestern Louisiana early Thursday. The storm’s maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph (64 kph) and it’s expected to weaken to a tropical depression later in the morning and become a remnant low Thursday night.

As of 7 a.m. CDT, Cindy is centered about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph). Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.


6 a.m. Floating colonies of fire ants could form in flood waters as Tropical Storm Cindy trudges inland.

That’s the warning from Alabama state officials, who say the insects known as red imported fire ants can present a potentially serious health threat to people and animals during severe flooding. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System said in a statement that the floating colonies may look like ribbons, streamers or a large ball of ants floating on the water. They say the floating blobs contain all members of the colony, including worker ants, winged reproductive males and females, and queen ants.

The storm made landfall in southwestern Louisiana before dawn Thursday, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes.


4:05 a.m. Tropical Storm Cindy has made landfall in southwestern Louisiana, bringing rain and the threat of flash flooding and tornadoes. As of about 4 a.m. CDT Thursday, the storm was centered about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west-southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and is moving north near 12 mph (19 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Cindy’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) with continued weakening expected over the next two days. Already, the storm has been blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore.


2:05 a.m. Weather forecasters are expecting a third day of rough weather for Gulf Coast states as Tropical Storm Cindy approaches.

The storm was blamed for one death Wednesday: A 10-year-old boy from the St. Louis area was killed on an Alabama beach when he was struck by a log that washed ashore. In addition to bands of drenching rain, the storm brought high winds and numerous, short-lived tornadoes and waterspouts. Most of the severe weather was to the east of the storm. Numerous coastal roads and highways flooded and there were scattered reports of power outages and building damage from wind or water.

Gulf Coast states were in for a third day of rough weather as Tropical Storm Cindy sloshed ashore early Thursday in southwestern Louisiana.

Already blamed for one death in Alabama, Cindy was expected to keep churning seas and spin off bands of severe weather from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida. The storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to near 40 mph (64 kph) Thursday morning with additional weakening expected, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. A boy on an Alabama beach was struck and killed Wednesday by a log washed ashore by the storm. Baldwin County Sheriff’s Capt. Stephen Arthur said witnesses reported the 10-year-old boy from Missouri was standing outside a condominium in Fort Morgan when the log, carried in by a large wave, struck him. Arthur said the youth was vacationing with his family from the St. Louis area and that relatives and emergency workers tried to revive him. He wasn’t immediately identified.

It was the first known fatality from Cindy. Otherwise, the storm was blamed for widespread coastal highway flooding, rough seas and scattered reports of power outages and building damage caused by high winds. There were numerous reports of waterspouts and short-lived tornadoes spawned by the storm. National Weather Service forecasters estimated the storm had dumped anywhere from 2 to 10 inches (50 to 250 millimeters) of rain on various spots along the Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana to the Florida panhandle as of Wednesday. And more rain was on the way. Alek Krautmann of the National Weather Service in Slidell, Louisiana, said Thursday’s pattern would likely be much like Wednesday’s: Bands of intermittent, sometimes heavy rain spinning onto the coast.

In Gulfport, Mississippi, Kathleen Bertucci said heavy rainfall Wednesday sent about 10 inches of water into her business, Top Shop, which sells and installs granite countertops.

“It’s pretty disgusting, but I don’t have flood insurance because they took me out of the flood zone,” said Bertucci, whose store is near a bayou. “We’re just trying to clean everything up and hope it doesn’t happen again.”

In nearby Biloxi, a waterspout moved ashore Wednesday morning. Harrison County Emergency Management Director Rupert Lacy said there were no injuries but fences, trees and power lines were damaged. Storms also downed trees in the Florida Panhandle. Fort Walton Beach spokeswoman Jo Soria said fallen trees hit houses and cars in what she called “pockets of wind damage” in two or three residential neighborhoods. The White House said President Donald Trump was briefed on the storm Wednesday by Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, like his Alabama counterpart a day earlier. He was among authorities stressing that the storm’s danger wasn’t limited to the coast. In Knoxville, Tennessee, the power-generating Tennessee Valley Authority, said it was drawing down water levels on nine lakes it controls along the Tennessee River and its tributaries in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky, anticipating heavy runoff from Cindy’s rains once the storm moves inland. The TVA manages 49 dams to regulate water, provide power and help control downstream flooding. In Alabama, streets were flooded and beaches were closed on the barrier island of Dauphin Island. Some roads were covered with water in the seafood village of Bayou La Batre, but Becca Caldemeyer still managed to get to her bait shop open at the city dock. If only there were more customers, she said.

“It’s pretty quiet,” Caldemeyer said by phone from Rough Water Bait and Tackle. “Nobody can cast a shrimp out in this kind of wind.”

Rough seas also led to the rescue of a shrimp trawler in danger of sinking off the coast of Texas. The U.S. Coast Guard said crew of the trawler Footprint was about 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of Galveston when the crew radioed that the vessel was taking on water faster than onboard pumps could clear it. A helicopter crew lowered and extra pump that enabled the shrimp boat crew to clear enough water to stay afloat. A Coast Guard cutter escorted the vessel to Freeport, Texas.


Associated Press writers Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jeff Amy and Emily Wagster in Jackson, Mississippi; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Kimberly Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama; and Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida, contributed to this report.