Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery
Jackie Kennedy: Religion, Social Issues and Reform

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: two hours


When President Kennedy was assassinated, it was reported by the Associated Press and in the New York Times that he would be buried in Boston.  Jacqueline Kennedy, when asked about her husband’s burial replied, “He belongs to the people,” and the decision was made that he would be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. On May 23, 1994, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was buried next to her first husband in Arlington Cemetary. Though a very private person, perhaps Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis concluded that she also belonged to the people.


  • In this lesson students will examine the history of the United States by visiting the Arlington Cemetery website.
  • Use of Arlington National Cemetery timeline link.

Materials Required:

Access to the Internet


Begin the lesson by playing Arlington by Trace Atkins or reading the lyrics of Arlington by Riley McLincha or In Flanders Field, a poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD.  

After listening to the song or the reading of the poem, ask students to express their thoughts and feelings on what they heard.  

Then tell students that they are going to examine history by visiting the Arlington Nation Cemetery via the web.  This can be done by having each student or groups of students search the site or by connecting a computer with access to the Internet to a projector and searching the site together as a class.   The following questions could be used to guide students’ journeys:  

1. What are the categories of the people buried at Arlington National Cemetery and who were these individuals?

2. What are the eligibility requirements for being buried at Arlington National Cemetery?

3. What is section 27?

4. What is the Unknown Soldier Tomb?

5. What types of ceremonies occur at Arlington National Cemetery and what is the purpose of these ceremonies?

6. What was Arlington National Cemetery prior to becoming a cemetery and why was it turned into a cemetery for the nation?

7. What is the Columbarium?

8. What is a burial flag?

9. What are military honors?

10. What is Freedman’s Village?

11. What is Arlington House?

12. Why is the crypt for the Vietnam War Unknown Soldier empty?  

At the end of the lesson, assign students to write a poem or song about Arlington National Cemetery. 

Extending the Lesson:

To extend this lesson, have students take a visual tour of the cemetery through the photo gallery and then draw a picture of the cemetery or someone buried in the cemetery.

Sources & Resources:

Websites: (In Flanders Field) (Arlington by Riley McLincha)

This lesson was written by Debra L. Clark, Kent State University.