Special Report

Famous People Buried at Arlington Who Weren’t in the Military

Arlington National Cemetery was opened in 1864 to provide the final resting place for American servicemen who fought to save the union during the Civil War. As people walk past the rows of about 400,000 tombstones over the 639-acre layout, they see the names of those who fell in the nation’s wars, including some of America’s most renowned military leaders. (These are the highest-ranking officers in the U.S. military.)

Although the preponderance of graves are of those who gave their lives for their country in time of war or otherwise served in the armed forces, there are also those who gained prominence in other fields – including chief justices, nurses, journalists, orators, explorers, and astronauts, as well as some noted actresses and other women who are interred there because they were married to servicemen.

To compile a list of some famous people buried at Arlington National Cemetery who were not soldiers, 24/7 Tempo consulted the websites of Arlington National Cemetery and the National Women’s History Museum, as well as such media sources as the Washington Examiner, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times.

There are four Supreme Court justices interred at Arlington: William Howard Taft (who had also been the 27th president of the United States), Thurgood Marshall, Harry Andrew Blackmun, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

Click here to read about famous people buried at Arlington National Cemetery who weren’t soldiers

Other notables include nurse Jane Delano, a relative of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who founded the American Red Cross Nursing Service; Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Marguerite Higgins; explorer Matthew Henson, the first African-American to reach the North Pole; orator, secretary of state, and three-time presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan; and astronauts Christa McAuliffe and Judith A. Resnik, who both perished in the Challenger tragedy – which easily ranks as one of the 20 worst disasters in space flight history.

The list also includes five actresses buried at Arlington – Fay Bainter, Constance Bennett, Phyllis Kirk, Priscilla Lane, and Maureen O’Hara, who were married to officers in the armed services.

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