Arlington National Cemetery Marks 150th Anniversary Of First Burial

ARLINGTON, Va. — Descendants of the first soldier buried at Arlington National Cemetery have participated in a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the interment’s 150th anniversary.

The ceremony Tuesday at the grave of Union Pvt. William Christman kicks off a month of activity marking the sesquicentennial of the cemetery just outside Washington, D.C.

Christman, a member of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry, was buried May 13, 1864, after contracting a case of measles. The land was officially designated as a military cemetery a month later.

Great-grandnephews and nieces of Christman attended the wreath-laying.

Arlington Cemetery sits on land that had been the home of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. The Union army occupied the estate after Virginia seceded from the Union and turned it into a burial ground in part as a way to spite Lee.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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