Archive for Arlington National Cemetery

Judith Resnik

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , , on January 23, 2023 by Cade

April 5, 1949 – January 28, 1986

Judith A. Resnik was a certifiable genius. There was evidence of her intelligence throughout her childhood, culminating with her attaining a perfect score on her SAT exam in high school. She studied electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and eventually obtained a PhD in the field from the University of Maryland…with honors, always. Her early career was spent with organizations like RCA and the National Institutes of Health. She helped the Navy design components for complicated radar and telemetry systems. At the urging of a friend, she also learned to pilot airplanes…getting perfect or near-perfect scores on her license exams – naturally. She was a gifted and brilliant individual and in 1978 she applied to be an astronaut at NASA.

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Gus Grissom

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , , on August 23, 2021 by Cade

grissom1April 3, 1926 – January 27, 1967

Virgil Ivan Grissom grew up in Indiana building model airplanes and dreaming of becoming a pilot. When he was in high school, World War II broke out, so Virgil – whose friends called him “Gus” – seized his chance to become a pilot and joined the Army Air Forces. Gus spent the war basically behind a desk…on the ground.

Six years later, the U.S. entered the Korean War and Gus re-enlisted in the newly rebranded Air Force; and this time, he earned his pilot wings. Grissom flew 100 missions in the conflict and made quite a name for himself as an airman. After the war, he became a test pilot and, in 1959, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration called Gus with a special offer.

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Maureen O’Hara

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , on July 26, 2021 by Cade

August 17, 1920 – October 24, 2015

Maureen O’Hara is perhaps the most famous Irish actress of all time. Her expressive face and flaming auburn hair earned her the nickname “The Queen of Technicolor.” Bitten by the performing bug at a very young age, Maureen (born FitzSimons) studied drama, music and dance in Ireland throughout her youth. At 17, she was discovered in a stage production and invited to screen test in London by actor/director Charles Laughton. Despite her youth and her unhappiness with the screen test process, she signed a contract with Laughton and his new Mayflower Pictures. O’Hara’s career in London started slowly. Her most notable early appearance was in Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn alongside Laughton. Her performance drew attention, though, and soon she was on a ship across the Atlantic with Laughton and her mother to begin filming with RKO Pictures on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Continue reading

Charles Durning

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , on July 5, 2021 by Cade

February 28, 1923 – December 24, 2012

Charles Durning’s 50 year acting career covered all the bases. He got his start somewhat unexpectedly when – working as an usher in New York – he filled in for an incapacitated actor. Durning went on to appear in dozens of Broadway shows and eventually made his way into the film industry. In the 1970s, he appeared in classic films like The Sting, Dog Day Afternoon and The Muppet Movie. Television appearances followed as well as more movies. He notably co-starred in a couple of Coen Brothers’ movies and could be counted on to play Santa Claus whenever needed. Continue reading

John Glenn

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , , on June 28, 2021 by Cade

July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016

As American heroes go, they don’t come much more American or heroic than John Glenn. As a Marine fighter pilot during World War II and the Korean War, Glenn was already well-decorated with military honors, but he became a household name in 1959 when he was named a member of the Mercury 7 – the United States’ first group of astronauts. In 1962, after backing up Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom on the first two manned Mercury missions (respectively), Glenn flew the Friendship 7 capsule into space on the project’s third mission and become the first man to orbit the Earth. Continue reading

Edward Kennedy

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , , on March 10, 2014 by Cade

emk1February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009

The youngest (and longest-surviving) of the Kennedy brothers, Edward “Ted” Kennedy had, perhaps, even more of an impact on American politics than his siblings thanks to said longevity. He served in the U.S. Senate representing Massachusetts for 47 years. He was a leader in Democratic party and came to be known as the “Lion of the Senate.” But, he was a Kennedy and Kennedys don’t get a free pass, so of course, his life had its struggles.  In 1969, the infamous Chappaquiddick incident resulted in a car in a Martha’s Vineyard tidal channel and the death of his companion, Mary Jo Kopechne. The incident was a national scandal, naturally, and firmly put the brakes on any Presidential aspirations Teddy would have had. Continue reading

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , on November 19, 2013 by Cade

kennedyoJuly 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis skyrocketed to international attention as the glamorous wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. However, in the years after JFK’s assassination, Jackie did not fade away and maintained a relatively high profile. In 1968, she married shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, and became – now, no longer entitled to Secret Service protection – a popular target for photographers and paparazzi. After Onassis died in 1975, Jackie committed herself to personal work. She worked as an editor and spent a lot of time campaigning for the preservation of historic landmarks and architecture. Continue reading

Lee Marvin

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , , on October 2, 2013 by Cade

marvin1February 19, 1924 – August 29, 1987

PFC Lee Marvin earned a Purple Heart for being wounded in action on an island in the Pacific during World War II. That’s enough excitement in one lifetime for most people.

But, not for Lee. In his post-war years, Marvin sort of stumbled into a career as an actor and over the following 4 decades, slowly built himself into a top-billed star. Bit parts as tough guys and soldiers gave way to more substantive roles which, eventually, gave way to iconic turns in in films like The Dirty Dozen (with Telly Savalas, Donald Sutherland and Charles Bronson) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (opposite John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart). Continue reading

Joe Louis

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , on October 1, 2013 by Cade

louis1May 13, 1914 – April 12, 1981

Joe Louis was arguably the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. Toward the very top, at least. It just so happened that the “Brown Bomber” was also one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century. Joseph Louis Barrow became one of the, if not the, first Black national heroes due not only to his dominating presence in the ring, but also to his honest and hardworking persona. Louis also gained international fame when he lost (his first as a professional) to German, Max Schmeling in 1936. The Nazis used Schmeling’s victory to promote the dominance of the so-called Aryian Race. So, Louis fought Schmeling again two years later…and knocked him out in 2 minutes. Louis defended his Heavyweight Title 25 times and held it for 140 months (that’s almost 12 years, for those of you like me who suck at math.) He joined the Army during World War II but never saw combat as the powers that be decided he was better suited to boost morale in the Special Services.  He also integrated golf…you know…just for good measure.

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William Howard Taft

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , on September 15, 2013 by Cade

taft1September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930

William Howard Taft was the only U.S. President (27th) to also serve as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (10th). Prior to becoming either, Taft was a lawyer, Governor-General of the Philippines and Secretary of War under President Teddy Roosevelt. He is probably remembered most for his weight, though he lost a good amount once he left the White House. He also suffered from sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Continue reading