Feb. 5, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Dog Days at Congressional Cemetery

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Roxy the Doberman pinscher takes a stroll among the cenotaphs — empty tombs that honor deceased Members of Congress — at the Historic Congressional Cemetery. The graveyard has become a haven for dog walkers, who help pay for the upkeep of the grounds.

Among the cenotaphs are markers for the likes of President John Quincy Adams, who also served in the House and Senate, Speaker Henry Clay and Vice President John C. Calhoun. Reps. Hale Boggs and Nicholas Begich, who disappeared while on the same campaign flight in 1972 from Anchorage to Juneau, Alaska, share a cenotaph. Speaker Tip O’Neill, who died in 1994, is the last Member of Congress to have a tomb marked for him on the grounds, although his marker has a different form than most and looks like a more contemporary gravestone.

Aside from the empty tombs, 80 Members of Congress are interred at the cemetery, according to the preservation association, including Elbridge Gerry, the only Founding Father to be buried there.

The non-Congressional dead residing here include such historical luminaries as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and U.S. Marine band leader John Philip Sousa.

Even with the weight of history that surrounds it, the association certainly has a sense of humor about its mission. For information about the K9 Corps, people are directed to email queries to grrr@congressionalcemetery.org. And under the cemetery website’s frequently asked questions section, one can find the following:

Q: Do you have to be a Member of Congress (or any other requirement) to be buried there?

A: No. You just have to be dead.

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