Rutgers alum grave stone at Arlington National  Cemetery


Jim Somos

In December, Jim Simos combined the holiday spirit with his devotion to Rutgers as he led fellow alumni affiliated with the Rutgers Club of Washington, D.C., to Arlington National Cemetery to place American and Rutgers flags on the graves of alumni veterans. Inspired three years ago by Wreaths Across America, the annual mid-December event that attracts tens of thousands of volunteers to the hallowed cemetery, Simos RBS’80 sees the ceremony as a means to bring alumni living in the Washington, D.C., area together—and to pay respects to the alumni who served their nation.

When Simos and a few alumni began participating in 2015, they were working from a list of 75 graduates buried at Arlington. They located some of them by using the cemetery’s website and found others through their own sleuth work as they canvassed the sprawling cemetery, which was created in 1864. In the intervening years, publicity for the cause has led to more names and speculation that there are close to 300 alumni veterans buried at Arlington; 10 more have been discovered since last year. “We have a lot more to find,” says Simos, who often receives correspondence from relatives of the deceased veterans. “The emails we’ve received are mind-boggling.” And they leave Simos in awe—and committed to his project. To learn more, visit the Rutgers Club of Washington, D.C., which is a charter organization of the Rutgers University Alumni Association, on Facebook. 

— Susan Todd