Conservator Caitlin Smith was the first to take a look inside the double-encased copper box after carefully sawing off the top. "It was meant to be opened," Smith said. "That's why we put time capsules in place, for future generations to remember us by." She adds, "We hope we've done something significant enough that it will be remembered, and we won't be forgotten." Arlington National Cemetery hopes to inter a new time capsule to be opened in 2120.
Inside Arlington National Cemetery's 105-Year-Old Time Capsule
Back in 1915, President Woodrow Wilson laid the cornerstone of the newly constructed amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery which housed a copper time capsule that was recently opened by historians. Inside, they found newspaper articles, coins, a small, outdated American flag reflecting 46 stars, a Bible, and copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. The 5,000-seat outdoor theater was constructed for ceremonies and special events to honor war veterans. Steve Carney, cemetery command historian, says the 105-year-old time capsule initially served as a chance for organizers to reflect on what they wanted to tell generations to come about the world in 1915.
Life changed quickly after the time capsule was cemented into the cornerstone. Carney says, "Within three years, the United States is a completely different place. We've seen the horrors of World War I, and we're in the midst of the Spanish Influenza." Carney adds, "What a different place and what a different memorabilia box that would have been if it was placed in 1920, when the amphitheater was dedicated."