JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK

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).

Education Program Highlight: The Spanish-American War

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 8/20/2020

Although the Spanish-American War lasted for only a few months in 1898, the legacy of this brief yet transformative conflict is marked on the landscape of Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington has more Spanish-American War memorials and gravesites than any other single place in the United States. Learn why—and gain insights into the broader history and legacy of the Spanish-American War. 

The American Revolution at ANC: How Veterans of America’s First Conflict Came to Arlington

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 7/4/2020

For many years after Arlington National Cemetery’s establishment on May 13, 1864, Civil War service members were the only veterans buried at the cemetery. Today, however, service members who fought in all U.S. conflicts lay at rest on these hallowed grounds, including veterans of wars that predated the establishment of Arlington as a military cemetery. On Independence Day, we take a look at how these veterans of earlier wars—including the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the U.S.-Mexican War—came to rest at Arlington.

Not Forgotten: The 70th Anniversary of the Korean War at ANC

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 6/30/2020

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War (1950-1953)—the United States’ first major military conflict after World War II and, amid the escalating Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the nation’s first major test in its effort to stop the global spread of communism. In American culture, the Korean War has often been called “the forgotten war,” overshadowed both by the victories of World War II and the traumas of Vietnam. Here at Arlington National Cemetery, however, the many gravesites of Americans who served in Korea, as well as several memorials to those who lost their lives in the conflict, ensure that the Korean War will always be remembered.

Commemorating the Nurses of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic

By JENIFER LEIGH VAN VLECK on 6/12/2020

As our nation and the world face the COVID-19 pandemic, ANC’s team of historians has been looking back at another health crisis and reflecting upon how it impacted Arlington National Cemetery: the influenza pandemic of 1918 to 1919. We highlight the role of female military nurses during the influenza pandemic and how they are commemorated on Arlington’s memorial landscape.