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Old 05-27-2019, 09:18 AM
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Arrow What You Need To Know About The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier

What You Need To Know About The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier
By: CNN 5-27-19

(CNN) — The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is at Arlington National Cemetery. It stands on the top of a hill overlooking Washington DC. Congress approved the burial of an unidentified World War I soldier in the plaza of the then-new Memorial Amphitheater in 1921.

The white marble sarcophagus has three Greek figures sculpted on the side representing Peace, Victory, and Valor. There are also six wreaths, three sculpted on each side, that represent the six major campaigns of World War I. On the back on the tomb, there is an inscription that reads: Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.

Who is buried there?

Memorial Day marks the day in 1921 when four unknowns were exhumed from four World War I American cemeteries in France. Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger chose the Unknown Soldier of World War I, who now lies in the tomb. President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies at the Memorial Amphitheater on November 11, 1921.

There are three other soldiers buried at the tomb. In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill to select and pay tribute to the unknowns of World War II and Korea. The selection ceremonies and the interment of those unknowns took place in 1958.

The Unknown of Vietnam was only unknown for a short time. After being placed into the tomb in 1984, the Unknown was exhumed in 1988. Thanks to mitochondrial DNA testing, Department of Defense scientists were able to identify the remains as Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie.

It was decided that the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam Unknown will remain vacant. The crypt cover was replaced with a new inscription that now reads: Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen, 1958-1975.

Who are the Tomb Guards?

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and in any weather by Tomb Guard sentinels. Tomb Guards are volunteers — part of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as “The Old Guard.” It is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army, serving the US since 1784. The honor of Tomb Guard is incredibly rare. The badge is the least awarded in the Army. It takes a high level of dedication to be a Tomb Guard. They work in 24-hour shift and when they aren’t walking the mat, they are living in the quarters beneath it. During that time, they complete training and prepare their uniforms, which can take up to eight hours.

What is the Changing of the Guard?

Changing of the Guard is an elaborate ritual that happens every hour on the hour October 1 to March 31 and every half hour from April 1 to September 30. Visitors are welcome to watch the ceremony, but must stand and remain silent.

The ceremony starts with the relief commander announcing the Changing of the Guard on the plaza. The Tomb Guard marches 21 steps behind the Tomb, turns, faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, then takes 21 steps down the mat and repeats the process. After the turn, the sentinel executes a sharp “shoulder-arms” movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to visitors watching the ceremony. This signifies that the sentinel stands between the Tomb and any potential threat. Doing things in increments of 21 symbolizes the 21-gun salute, which is the highest military honor that can be bestowed.


Personal note: Went to the Munster, IN Memorial at 7AM this morning to place three flags at the WWI: for Grandpa John - WWII for Dad - Uncles: Chuck, Bill, Tootie, and Lee - VN: for my Brother Larry, VN - Brother-in-Law Jim Arvia; School Bud's - George Yocum, Jim Diggins, Gary, Larry aka: Booty Boot, Alwine - Charley-Jere Morris-& 30+ more whose name's I can no longer recall (and I regret that but they are in my head somewhere.
What's nice about being there so early is that no one is there to me get emotional. It's not easy knowing they are all gone in body but not in my memories.

Some were killed on the line and the others from AO or something else. But at least when I'm there I can place a Flag at each memorial cite for those in my family and also my friends who are no longer walking on this earth.

God Bless all who serve and have served.


O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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