Nugget of Knowledge: The Arlington Lady

A club was formed to make sure no burial was completely unattended ever again

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – In 1948, Air Force General Hoyt Vandenberg and his wife Gladys were walking through Arlington National Cemetery when they saw a young airman being buried with no family members there, just the chaplain and the military honor guard.

Gladys wated to do something about that, so she organized what she called the Officers’ Wives Club. One of its members would attend every Air Force funeral.

The other branches of the armed services then started the same kind of club. Still today, an “Arlington Lady” attends every funeral at the cemetery.

No soldier, sailor, airman or marine is ever buried alone.

Funerals are held six days a week, Monday through Saturday, and at least two dozen are held each weekday. There are six to eight on Saturdays.

The seven astronauts from the space shuttle Challenger are buried there as well as the seven from the Columbia.

Two Italian prisoners of war and one German prisoner of war all captured during World War II are buried there. They died in captivity in the Washington, D.C., area, and the Geneva Convention said to give them proper burials — Arlington was the closest.

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