When a veteran passes away, they receive the privilege of being buried in the country’s most beautiful cemeteries, such as the most famous of them, Arlington National Cemetery. People often visit these places of honor and respite for soldiers who’ve sacrificed everything for their country. Any of these places are happy to welcome visitors, but there are a few things you should know before visiting a national cemetery.
When you visit a national cemetery, guests must adhere to some strictly enforced rules and etiquette during their visit. These rules are mostly reminders to be mindful of other guests and ensure you leave the cemetery just as you found it. When we’re caught up in our grief, it’s easy to forget about those around us. Many cemeteries discourage flash photography so as not to disturb any mourners. As beautiful and accessible as the cemeteries are, they’re also places of immense vulnerability for many.
Prepare To Walk
A more practical thing you should know before visiting a national cemetery is that you should expect to walk a lot—especially at Arlington. National cemeteries are rather expansive, and to clear space for those buried in the cemetery, there is little natural shade from trees and other fauna. Comfortable shoes are a must, and in the summer, you should bring a water bottle and sunscreen.
Changing of the Guard
If you visit Arlington, one of the highlights of your visit will be the changing of the guard. Every hour, from October 1st to March 31st, and every half hour from April 1st to September 30th, the guard for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier swaps out in an elaborate ceremony. Watching the carefully planned and practiced discipline of the soldiers during this ceremony is a spectacle in its own right and you won’t want to miss it.