Arlington National Cemetery is getting ready for Veterans Day, as thousands of people are expected to head to Virginia this weekend to honor veterans and pay their respects.
“Every day is Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery and every day is Memorial Day,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, the executive director of the Office of Army Cemeteries.
The cemetery is hosting a number of events Saturday, including a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and an official observance ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater.
“In contrast to Memorial Day, which is about those who gave the ultimate measure of devotion to the nation, Veterans Day is more upbeat because people really celebrate,” Durham-Aguilera said.
Attendance for the wreath-laying will be limited to official participants, but the 11 a.m. observance ceremony is free and open to the public.
Seating in the amphitheater is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Walking to and from the amphitheater is not allowed.
Those interested in attending the observance will need to use a tram that runs from the welcome center to the amphitheater. The tram will run for free between 8:30-10:30 a.m., or until the event is at capacity.
“We’re here to celebrate the veterans that served our nation, so the atmosphere is incredible,” said Durham-Aguilera.
Aside from the official Veterans Day events, the cemetery is open all day to the public.
Free parking is available at the cemetery’s parking lot from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but traffic will likely be heavy and people who go there are encouraged to use Metro transit.
“The cemetery is open to everyone all day because we have a lot of people that come on Veterans Day that will not be going to the observance because they’re here to either visit their loved ones or honor the veterans who served our nation,” said Durham-Aguilera. “We’ll have a lot of people here on Saturday.”