Grade Level

Higher Education

Document Type

Instructional Material


National cemeteries--United States; United States--History--Study and teaching;


Developing a Tour of a National Cemetery

There are many ways to view or approach the study of a national cemetery. Each cemetery has a unique history but also fits some general patterns. The most obvious focus of study would be on the history of the cemetery itself or the lives of those commemorated there. Another approach would be through architecture and design, the style of the structures, or the layout of the grounds. A more scientific emphasis might focus on the landscape, its flora, and its wildlife, and investigate what life is supported among the manicured lawns. The geography itself may be of interest; consider, for example, the volcanic crater of Honolulu’s National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, the steep peninsula of Fort Rosecrans, and the Mississippi bluffs of Jefferson Barracks. Each cemetery offers a variety of resources for examining many subjects, provided the study respects the dignity of those buried there.


Department of History


This guide was developed for the Veterans Legacy Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Veterans Legacy Program offers educators an integrated new suite of lesson plans designed to teach students about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans, and to take advantage of our national cemeteries as historic places for teaching and learning — both in the classroom and on-site. The educational resources of the Veterans Legacy Program draw on rich stories from national cemeteries to offer teachers a variety of hands-on activities directly connected to national curriculum standards.

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