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The front of Arlington National Cemetery is lit up around 5 a.m. on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The front of Arlington National Cemetery is lit up around 5 a.m. on Sunday, May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The front of Arlington National Cemetery is lit up around 5 a.m. on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

The front of Arlington National Cemetery is lit up around 5 a.m. on Sunday, May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Two guards stand near the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2015, as visitors wait for special access to the cemetery for a sunrise photo shoot.

Two guards stand near the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2015, as visitors wait for special access to the cemetery for a sunrise photo shoot. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

While waiting for access at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014, a photographer snapped this shot of the Lincoln Memorial around 5 a.m.

While waiting for access at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014, a photographer snapped this shot of the Lincoln Memorial around 5 a.m. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Arlington National Cemetery is just starting to come out of the shadows in the early morning of May 4, 2014.

Arlington National Cemetery is just starting to come out of the shadows in the early morning of May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Washington Monument and the Capitol Building are silhouetted against the early morning sky on May 4, 2014.

The Washington Monument and the Capitol Building are silhouetted against the early morning sky on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Lincoln Memorial, still lit up for the night, is bathed in pinks in the early morning hours of May 4, 2014.

The Lincoln Memorial, still lit up for the night, is bathed in pinks in the early morning hours of May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery is seen through the trees in the early morning hours of May 4, 2014.

The Lincoln Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery is seen through the trees in the early morning hours of May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Arlington National Cemetery is still partly dark before the sun rises on May 4, 2014.

Arlington National Cemetery is still partly dark before the sun rises on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Washington, D.C., is just waking up as the sunrises over the city and Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014. Seen in this photo is President John F. Kennedy's eternal flame, the Lincoln Memorial in a straight line from it, the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building to the far right.

Washington, D.C., is just waking up as the sunrises over the city and Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014. Seen in this photo is President John F. Kennedy's eternal flame, the Lincoln Memorial in a straight line from it, the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building to the far right. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

President John F. Kennedy's eternal flame glows in the early morning hours of May 4, 2014.

President John F. Kennedy's eternal flame glows in the early morning hours of May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Pinks and yellows color the sky over Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014.

Pinks and yellows color the sky over Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Capitol Building are bathed in pinks and yellows as the sun starts to rise on May 4, 2014, as seen from Arlington National Cemetery.

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial and the Capitol Building are bathed in pinks and yellows as the sun starts to rise on May 4, 2014, as seen from Arlington National Cemetery. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Arlington National Cemetery is seen as the sun starts to rise over Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2014.

Arlington National Cemetery is seen as the sun starts to rise over Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

President John F. Kennedy's eternal flame on his grave in Arlington National Cemetery is seen as the sun starts to rise over Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2014.

President John F. Kennedy's eternal flame on his grave in Arlington National Cemetery is seen as the sun starts to rise over Washington, D.C., on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The sun starts to peak over the Washington, D.C., skyline on May 4, 2014.

The sun starts to peak over the Washington, D.C., skyline on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The sun is completely over the horizon on the morning of May 4, 2014. The Capitol Building and the Washington Monument can be seen in the distance over the Potomac River.

The sun is completely over the horizon on the morning of May 4, 2014. The Capitol Building and the Washington Monument can be seen in the distance over the Potomac River. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The sun glints off a gravestone in the early morning of Sunday, May 4, 2014, in Arlington National Cemetery.

The sun glints off a gravestone in the early morning of Sunday, May 4, 2014, in Arlington National Cemetery. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Grave stones at Arlington National Cemetery are cast in pink light as the sunrises on May 4, 2014.

Grave stones at Arlington National Cemetery are cast in pink light as the sunrises on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

The sky is cast in brilliant yellows and pinks as the sun rises over Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014. The Washington Monument is seen through the trees.

The sky is cast in brilliant yellows and pinks as the sun rises over Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014. The Washington Monument is seen through the trees. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A servicemember walks through Arlington National Cemetery shortly after sunrise on May 4, 2014.

A servicemember walks through Arlington National Cemetery shortly after sunrise on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A grave marker is cast in pinks and shadows near the Arlington House on May 4, 2014, shortly after sunrise.

A grave marker is cast in pinks and shadows near the Arlington House on May 4, 2014, shortly after sunrise. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Spc. Erik Holland, right, and Pfc. William Martin discuss a grave marker in front of the Arlington House at Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014, at 6:30 in the morning.

Spc. Erik Holland, right, and Pfc. William Martin discuss a grave marker in front of the Arlington House at Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014, at 6:30 in the morning. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Arlington National Cemetery is cast in a pink and yellow hues as the sun rises on May 4, 2014. In the distance is the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building.

Arlington National Cemetery is cast in a pink and yellow hues as the sun rises on May 4, 2014. In the distance is the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A red flower in the garden at the Arlington House in Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014.

A red flower in the garden at the Arlington House in Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A grave marker with a penny and rock in the early hours of May 4, 2014.

A grave marker with a penny and rock in the early hours of May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Arlington National Cemetery shortly after sunrise on May 4, 2014.

Arlington National Cemetery shortly after sunrise on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A grave near the flower garden at the Arlington House is cast in shadows and early sun on May 4, 2014.

A grave near the flower garden at the Arlington House is cast in shadows and early sun on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A bird carries some weeds in the flower garden of the Arlington House in Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014.

A bird carries some weeds in the flower garden of the Arlington House in Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A servicemember walks through the flower garden at the Arlington House shortly after the sunrises on May 4, 2015, in Arlington National Cemetery. Through the trees is the top of the Air Force Memorial.

A servicemember walks through the flower garden at the Arlington House shortly after the sunrises on May 4, 2015, in Arlington National Cemetery. Through the trees is the top of the Air Force Memorial. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

Purples flowers are lit up under the early morning sun on May 4, 2014, in Arlington National Cemetery. The flowers are part of the flower garden near the Arlington House, located at the top of the hill in the cemetery at the mansion that was once part of the Robert E. Lee's plantation.

Purples flowers are lit up under the early morning sun on May 4, 2014, in Arlington National Cemetery. The flowers are part of the flower garden near the Arlington House, located at the top of the hill in the cemetery at the mansion that was once part of the Robert E. Lee's plantation. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

A servicemember walks through the Old Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014, shortly after the sunrises.

A servicemember walks through the Old Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014, shortly after the sunrises. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

ARLINGTON — The night sky split open to reveal brilliant shades of yellows, pinks and purples as the sun rose over Arlington National Cemetery on May 4, 2014. This gallery walks through the dark hours before the sun breaches night through it rising over well-known Washington, D.C. landmarks and the cemetery.

Grave markers within the cemetery are cast in different hues as the early morning sun glances off of them. The cemetery comes to life with wildlife, too, as birds grab their morning meals talking to each other and squirrels run about unworried about the visitors that would fill the cemetery in just a few hours.

Arlington National Cemetery let the public and media in for a rare, early morning photo shoot on that Sunday. With only a few dozen photographers roaming the grounds in two specific areas (photographers had to choose between Arlington House and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier), it was as peaceful as it was beautiful.

tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com Twitter: @mjtibbs


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