Over the past couple of months, there's been this brewing battle over Arlington Cemetery....which has stayed local, and few outside of the Arlington region know of the intense argument going on.
Arlington Cemetery got its start in life.....in 1864. It was property owned by "the Lee Family" (the one and only as far as most Virginians are concerned). The cemetery has one basic purpose...to be the graveyard for America's mortal heroes. If you look at the map, it has 624 acres, period.
We've been at war and sent a number of our best onto Arlington Cemetery. The blunt truth is....it's filling up. The people who run the cemetery know this. So they've looked at every single corner and empty spot, and devised plans to expand it out as far as they can.
Right now, there's this one plan on the burner....basically to cut down 800 trees, take down a retaining wall that built in the late 1800s, and replant 600 trees in a fashion that allows more burials. The focus of the team running the cemetery....is to use it to it's maximum advantage.
Well....there's a counter-group out there....Preservation Virginia. They've named the Arlington Cemetery onto it's list of sights under threat.
They basically want the 800 trees to remain, along with the one-hundred year old brick retaining wall. They want the picturesqueness image of the current cemetery to remain....as is.
The members of this effort? Mostly all folks from around the Arlington area.
Generally, if you drive around the area....the cemetery is now part of the scenic nature of the county. The trees? Part of the image. The retaining wall? Part of the image. The use of it as an actual cemetery? Well...that's not exactly in the top priorities.
There may be some good intentions here, but this is a cemetery, and not really a national park. We may have made into one....by actions of Congress. But as far as any man ever buried there.....you can imagine that none see themselves in a national park. They reside in a quiet cemetery.
My humble guess is that legal action will be attempted if the preservation group can't draw Congress into it's fight.
The bottom line? There's only 640-odd acres, and when it's finally used up....either with the 800 trees down or not.....then it's done. The gate will be closed to further burials, and we will be finished with the site. We might be closer to maximum capacity than we think.