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Arlington marks 150th anniversary of first burial

May 13, 2014

ARLINGTON, Virginia (AP) — Descendants of the first soldier buried at Arlington National Cemetery have participated in 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 sesquicentennial of the cemetery just outside Washington, D.C.

Christman was buried May 13, 1864, after contracting a case of measles. The land was officially designated as a military cemetery a month later.

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

Arlington Cemetery sits on land that had been the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederate rebel army in the Civil War. 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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