Thursday, September 6, 2018

Brave lighthouse keeper makes history at Arlington National Cemetery

Lighthouse keeper who rescued mariners will be the first woman honored with a street name at Arlington National Cemetery
Washington Post
By Michael E. Ruane
September 5, 2018
In its 154-year history, all of the more than 40 roadways have been named after men — such as Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ulysses S. Grant, and Gens. George Patton and John Pershing, the cemetery said.

Ida Lewis saved at least a dozen people during her service at the Lime Rock Lighthouse in Newport, R.I. (Library of Congress)

In her day, she was the heroine of the Lime Rock Lighthouse, the intrepid young woman who by herself rowed into the stormy waters of Newport harbor in Rhode Island to rescue mariners in distress.

She was Ida Lewis, the shy daughter of a disabled sea captain. And after bold rescues in the late 1800s, she was front page news. She was given awards. VIPs clamored to see her. A polka, “The Ocean Waves Dashed Wildly High,” was written in her honor, and the sheet music bore her image.

But since she died in 1911, her deeds have been largely forgotten.

As Arlington National Cemetery opens its new $81.7 million section with solemn fanfare on Thursday, she will become the first woman to have one of the cemetery’s drives named for her.

“It’s a big deal,” Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries, said this week. “It’s a huge commemoration.”
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