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JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK

Patton and World War I’s Unknown Soldier

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 10/20/2021

In 1921, Major George S. Patton Jr. held an important role during ceremonies for America’s World War I Unknown Soldier. The man who would become an iconic general, known for commanding victorious armies in World War II, was then the commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s 3rd Cavalry Squadron. On November 9, 1921, Patton helped escort the Unknown Soldier’s casket from the USS Olympia to the U.S. Capitol, where the Unknown would lie in state for two days. On November 11, the day of the Unknown’s burial ceremony, he marched in the procession that escorted the casket to Arlington National Cemetery.

The American Battle Monuments Commission and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 10/18/2021

For one hundred years, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has represented America’s eternal dedication to honoring not just the unknowns buried there, but all unknown dead from the nation’s wars. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) shares in Arlington National Cemetery’s mission to honor and remember unknown U.S. service members. 

Public Invited to Honor the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 10/13/2021

Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is inviting the public to participate in honoring the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier centennial. This November 11 will mark 100 years since the Unknown Soldier from World War I was laid to rest in the newly constructed Tomb on the plaza of the cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater.

From Manila Bay to Philadelphia: The Life and Service of USS Olympia

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 10/12/2021

To commemorate the 2021 centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as the U.S. Navy’s 246th birthday on October 13, we honor the USS Olympia—the legendary Navy ship that brought the World War I Unknown Soldier home to the United States from France in 1921. 

Commemorating National Native American Heritage Month

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 11/19/2020

During National Native American Heritage Month, we are proud to honor the life and legacy of Zitkála-Ša (Gertrude Simmons Bonnin), who is buried in Section 2, Grave 4703. Zitkála-Ša, whose name means “Red Bird,” was one of the most important American Indian activists and writers of the 20th century.

245th Birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 11/9/2020

On November 10, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized two battalions of Marines to be raised. Two weeks later, Samuel Nicholas was commissioned a Captain of Marines by the Continental Congress. He is traditionally regarded as the first Commandant of the Marine Corps. Read our guest blog post from the National Museum of the Marine Corps to learn more about important moments in Marine Corps history. 

“The Monitor Is No More:” Honoring the Lost Men of USS Monitor

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 10/13/2020

As part of the 245th anniversary of the birth of the United States Navy, we are highlighting a small monument at Arlington National Cemetery that honors the sixteen men from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor who perished in the sinking of the vessel in a gale off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on New Year’s Eve, 1862.

The Navy Legacy at Arlington National Cemetery

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 10/13/2020

As the nation commemorates the 245th birthday of the United States Navy, we take a moment to reflect on those sailors and civilians who faithfully served the Navy and were laid to rest in the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). 

A Latino Legacy in the Air Force: Hector Santa Anna

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 9/25/2020

To commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month, as well as the recent birthday of the United States Air Force (USAF), today we honor the service of one Latino USAF veteran buried at Arlington: Hector Santa Anna, a decorated World War II B-17 bomber pilot, Berlin Airlift pilot and career military leader with a memorable last name. Santa Anna happened to be the great-great nephew of Mexican general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who famously led the siege of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution of 1836. But this Santa Anna fought for the United States—beginning in the Army Air Corps during World War II and continuing with the Air Force after its establishment as an independent service branch in 1947.

Commemorating the United States Air Force Birthday

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 9/17/2020

On July 26, 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, which created the Department of the Air Force as an independent branch of the U.S. armed services. The act went into effect on September 18, 1947, making September 18 the official birthday of the United States Air Force (USAF).