John Deere at Arlington National Cemetery

May 25, 2011

Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia. Once a large plantation, these noble grounds are now the final resting place to over 300,000 American heroes. Veterans and soldiers from every of our nation’s wars, from the Civil War to the military movements in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Before it became Arlington National Cemetery, It was a plot of land granted to George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted grandson of Martha Washington, in 1803. He immediately began construction on Arlington House, which was to be a memorial for our nation’s first president, and is still on the grounds today. The estate was passed on to Mary Anna Custis, the only surviving adult child of Custis and his wife, who later became married to the West Point graduate and United States Army officer, Robert E. Lee.

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The southern side of the land was dedicated as a settlement for freed slaves. During the Civil war, over 1,100 freed slaves were granted land in Freedman’s Village by the United States government. There they farmed and lived peacefully for many years after the Civil War until the land was officially purchased by the government.

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But when the extensive and gruesome casualties of the American Civil War became too many, General Montgomery C. Meigs of Augusta, Georgia suggested that the Arlington estate be used as a cemetery. Meigs, who said “The grounds about the mansion are admirably adapted to such a use.”  But even before the United States had made a purchase, Arlington was already being used to bury mostly Union soldiers.

After a long misunderstanding, wrongful confiscation and a lawsuit, the United States Government bought Arlington for $150,000 in a signing ceremony with Secretary of War, Robert Todd Lincoln.

Now, the Arlington National Cemetery is divided into seventy sections, with some reserved for expansion in the future. In the southeast corner of the cemetery lies section 60, which is the grounds dedicated to those killed during service in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Section 21 is where many nurses are buried as well as the Nurses Memorial and section 27 is the resting place of over 3,800 former slaves from the Civil War; their headstones adorning the word “citizen” or “civilian.”

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Recently, in 2005, an additional 29 acres of land from the National Park Service and Department of Defenses combined.

Such intense requirements call for powerful machines to keep the solemn grounds beautiful. With so much to remember, none of the history can be forgotten or lost. John Deere construction and turf equipment has the great honor and privilege of being those powerful machines to keep things the way they should be.

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Categorized: History