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Excel Math Blog

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Eternal Light for WWI Soldiers

arlington cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery

On June 15, 1864 Arlington National Cemetery was established by Brig. General Montgomery C. Meigs, who commanded the garrison at Arlington House.

One of the first monuments to the slain Union soldiers erected under Brig. General Meigs' orders was a stone and masonry burial vault in the rose garden, 20 feet wide and 10 feet deep, contained  the remains of 1,800 Bull Run casualties.

Meigs himself was later buried within 100 yards of Arlington House with his wife, father and son. More than four million people visit Arlington National Cemetery annually, many coming to pay final respects at graveside services.

Nearly 100 services are conducted each week, Monday through Saturday. Read more about the history of Arlington National Cemetery.

In Excel Math, we teach students how to calculate distance, area, perimeter, dates in the past, and lots more. Take a look at lesson samples for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website:

Sixty years after Arlington Cemetery was established, on June 4, 1924, an eternal light was dedicated at Madison Square Park in New York City in memory of all New York soldiers who died in World War I. (See photo below.) The massive ornamental pedestal is made of Milford pink granite.  Each side is inscribed with dedicatory tributes to those who served their country in World War I, and lists the names of significant battle sites. 

The east face of the monument has the final verse of the second stanza of our national anthem:

'Tis the star-spangled banner:
O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
In 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote the poem, Defense of Fort McHenry. Congress proclaimed The Star Spangled Banner the U.S. National Anthem in 1931. Read more on our previous blog post:The Star-Spangled Banner—Long May She Wave.

Madison Square Park

Madison Square Park
Photograph by Malcolm Pinkney, May 2005

eternal light monument

WWI Eternal Light Memorial

The south face of the eternal light monument has the following inscription:

Erected to commemorate
the first homecoming
of the victorious
army and navy
of these United States
officially received by
the city of New York
on this site
anno domini MCMXVIII

How good are you at deciphering Roman numerals? (In Excel Math, we also teach students how to read Roman numerals.) Here's a hint: The ceasefire ending the war came into force on 11 November 1918.

The base is inscribed with the locations of notable World War I battlefields. The Eternal Light monument was designed by architect Thomas Hastings, one of the designers of the New York Public Library’s main building.

The monument was dedicated on Armistice Day, November 11, 1923, and each year is the site where the annual Veterans Day parade concludes, and official ceremonies are conducted. 

The original wooden flagpole was replaced with an aluminum version in 1976, and the star was restored and relit in 2002.

Read more about the monument and take a look at detailed photos of it and its beautiful setting in Madison Square Park at 

New York City

View of New York City


Click to download a sample pack.

New to Excel Math? Preview elementary math lessons that really work for Kindergarten through Sixth Grade on our website: Also find math resources for teachers, parents and students and walk through the curriculum at

You might also like:

Fun with Fractions
Staying Fit Over the Summer Break
Listen Up! Keeping Students' Attention
Bridging the Gap to Common Core Math


Learn about Excel Math Summer School.

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