Quantico National Cemetery
Quantico National Cemetery on Veterans' Day.
|Type||United States National Cemetery|
|Size||725 acres (293 ha)|
Quantico National Cemetery is a military cemetery in Triangle, Virginia for veterans that served in the United States Armed Forces. Adjacent to and originally part of Marine Corps Base Quantico, it was established as a national cemetery in 1983 with an area of 725 acres (293 ha).
Quantico National Cemetery is located on land that was part of the U.S. Marine Corps training base adjacent to Quantico in Prince William County, Virginia. The land has been used by the military for over 200 years. First, around 1775 by the Commonwealth of Virginia for Navy operations, and later, as a blockade point for the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
In 1918 a permanent Marine base was established at Quantico. The Marine Corps Schools, a forerunner of the Marine Corps Development and Education Command, was created there in 1921. Since 1941, the focus of the base has been individual education rather than unit training. In 1977, the Marine Corps donated 725 acres (2.9 km²) of this land to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration, to establish a facility at Quantico. The cemetery was formally dedicated on May 15, 1983.
Monuments and memorials
There are seven memorials in all. A monument to Edson’s Raiders was the first memorial dedicated at Quantico National Cemetery, unveiled on the memorial pathway on August 6, 1989. It is dedicated to the 800 members of the First Marine Raider Battalion, which from August 1942 to October 1943, played a key role in helping the greatly outnumbered American forces push back Japanese troops in the British Solomon Islands.
The Purple Heart Memorial was dedicated August 7, 1990, in honor of Purple Heart medal recipients interred at the cemetery. The Purple Heart was created by General George Washington in 1782 and was originally awarded for heroism. It eventually fell into disuse until 1931 when Gen. Douglas MacArthur revived it for soldiers who were wounded or killed in defense of their nation.
Additional memorials honor: the Fourth Marine or “Fighting Fourth” Division; the Commonwealth of Virginia Memorial dedicated to honor all of the nation’s veterans; the First Marine Division Memorial; and the 6th Marine Division or “Striking Sixth” Memorial to honor the division that won the Presidential Unit Citation for its actions in the Battle of Okinawa during World War II; the memorial design is based on an Okinawan tomb.
- Louis R. Lowery, a World War II Marine combat photographer, took the picture of the first U.S. flag rising on top of Iwo Jima's Mount Suribachi in 1945. The flag was said to be the first U.S. flag flown over Japanese territory in World War II. He was interred on April 1, 1987, Section 1, Grave 6422.
- General Lewis William Walt, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1968-1971; interred in Section 17 Grave 51-B, with his wife Nancy, an Army Nurse during WWII, who died on 16 April 2000 and is interred in Section 17 Grave 51-A.
- Colonel William "Rich" Higgins was captured by a pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim group on 17 February 1988 in Beirut while serving as chief of a 75 member United Nations observer group. His kidnappers killed him on 6 July 1990. A marker was placed in the memorial section until his body was repatriated; interred on 30 December 1991: Section 23, Grave 141.
- Leon Uris (3 August 1924 - 21 June 2003) was an American novelist. At age 17 Uris joined the United States Marine Corps. His best selling novel Battle Cry was based on his experiences. Section 18, Grave 635.
- Eugene Morrison Stoner, enlisted for Aviation Ordnance in the U.S. Marine Corps and served in the South Pacific and northern China during WWII. After WWII he began working as an engineer and firearm designer and is the man most associated with the design of the AR-15, which was later adopted by the US military as the M16. He is regarded by most historians, along with John Browning and Mikhail Kalashnikov, as one of the most successful firearms designers of the 20th century. He is interred at Section 12, Grave 1276.
- "Cemeteries - Quantico National Cemetery". United States Department of Veterans Affairs. 8 December 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2012.
- Striking Sixth - 6th Marine Division - World War II Memorials
- Official Biography of Lewis W. Walt.