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Arlington cemetery honors woman, names street after her

WASHINGTON (WISH) — For the first time in history, a street in Arlington National Cemetery has been named in honor of a woman.

It’s Ida Lewis Drive. 

She was a lighthouse keeper from Rhode Island, famous for her heroism.

For more than 150 years, Arlington National Cemetery has served as a final resting place for veterans.

Maj. Shannon Way, a strategy planner with the cemetery, said, “It’s important to me the cemetery reflect how the forces are made up. Of course, females are an incredibly important part.”

Tim Frank, the cemetery’s historian, knows Lewis’ background. “She became well-known in America when in 1869 she rescued two soldiers whose boat had capsized in a snowstorm.

“She spent her life in service of saving others….”

In 1881, the Coast Guard awarded Lewis the Gold Lifesaving Medal. She was the first woman to receive the nation’s highest award for saving a life.

Way said, “The idea of having a space dedicated to that extraordinary amount of service that’s an incredible thing.”

Lewis Drive is part of a long-awaited expansion of America’s foremost military cemetery.  It is part of an $80 million project to add 27 acres of additional 27,000 gravesites.

Way said, “Any ability we have to expand that capacity is beneficial.”