Monuments and Memorials
Throughout the 639 acres of Arlington National Cemetery, several dozen monuments and memorials commemorate individuals, military units, wars and battles. These commemorative works, many of which were placed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, both reflected and furthered Arlington’s transformation from a “pauper’s cemetery” to a national shrine. Several are the works of renowned artists: noted early 20th-century sculptor Frances Rich created the art deco Nurses Memorial, for example (pictured); Edward Clark Potter, best known for the New York Public Library’s iconic marble lions, designed the equestrian Kearny Memorial. The diverse styles of these commemorative works also reflect shifting trends in cemetery and memorial design, from the classical and naturalistic styles of the 19th-century rural cemetery movement to more contemporary geometric designs that harmonize with the cemetery’s rows of white marble headstones.
Throughout the course of Arlington National Cemetery’s history, policies on the placement of commemorative works have changed, in response to the changing needs of the cemetery. Under current federal law (38 USC §2409), commemorative monuments may be placed on ANC grounds only after a deliberative proposal process. Monuments that do not contain or mark interred remains may only be approved for placement if they meet the criteria specified by 38 USC §2409. Click here for more information.