As remaining burial plots become more scarce, Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) has released a second public survey regarding its future.
If current burial eligibility policies remain in place, the cemetery will reach full capacity in 23 years, according to cemetery officials. In the first survey, conducted July of 2017, 93 percent of respondents said keeping that keeping ANC’s hallowed grounds open to burials long into the future was important to them.
The second survey specifically asks which veterans or active military members should be qualified for a burial, including questions relating to the eligibility of those with Purple Hearts, prisoners of war, elected officials once on active duty, and World War II veterans.
Results from the first survey showed that many respondents felt that eligibility should be given to those killed in action or on operational missions, Medal of Honor and other high award recipients, and former prisoners of war.
Current eligibility is currently more flexible, including prisoners of war and retired veterans who had served at least one day of active duty.
The survey notes that another cemetery expansion is expected to add additional burial plots, but it is not a long-term solution.
“The next possible expansion, into the area south of the cemetery (the Southern Expansion; around 40 acres) will add about 10-15 years of life to the cemetery – closing the cemetery to new burials by the mid-2050’s,” the survey says. “This does not achieve the objective or the desire of previous survey respondents to keep ANC open for new burials well into the future.”