Arlington marks 150th anniversary of first burial

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Associated Press

Posted on May 13, 2014 at 3:07 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 13 at 6:03 AM

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Descendants of the first soldier buried at Arlington National Cemetery will be on hand for a wreath-laying ceremony commemorating the burial's 150th anniversary.

The ceremony Tuesday at the grave of Union Pvt. William Christman kicks off a month of activity commemorating the cemetery's sesquicentennial.

Christman was buried May 13, 1864, after contracting a case of measles. But the land was not officially designated as a military cemetery until a month later.

Family members including great-great-grandnephews and nieces of Christman are expected to attend the wreath-laying.

Arlington Cemetery sits on land that had been the home of Confederate General 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.

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