2021 Veterans Day To Be Honoring the 100-year history of the Tomb of the Unknown Solider

us veterans loves to visit the tomb

This Veterans Day will mark 100 years since the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery has honored the remains of unidentified U.S. soldiers.

The Memorial Amphitheater, located by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, holds two major services each year—one on Memorial Day and one on Veterans Day. Each ceremony attracts about 5,000 people. There are approximately 3,000 smaller ceremonies at the Amphitheater throughout the year.

Roughly 130,000 visitors toured Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day pre-COVID. This year may be different, but it is still an important occasion for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Memorial Day seeks to honor those who have fallen while serving our country, and the Unknown Soldiers are no different.

On November 11, 2021, Arlington National Cemetery will be commemorating the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The centennial is not only a day to celebrate and remember the burial of the World War One’s Unknown Soldier but to reflect on what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier means to the nation.

A Brief History

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was erected after World War 1. At that time, access to the Tomb was considered achievable only with great difficulty to the average visitor. For this reason, the Army felt the stationing of a sentry was not necessary.  

However, according to Robert M. Poole, author of “On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery“, by 1923, a lack of decorum at the Tomb was being reported to the Army. Some of the undignified activities included picnickers and professional photographers taking photos of tourists in front of the Tomb. In addition, other complaints included cigars being stubbed out on the marble plaza and men approaching the Tomb with hats on. Following a story reported in the Washington Post, the Army hired a private guard at the end of 1923.

In 1926, after complaints from veterans visiting the Tomb, a military guard began its guard duty on the site.   By 1937, the military sentries would stand guard 24 hours a day.   As with many armed forces, tradition is important for the United States Army. For this reason, sentries posted at the Tomb are ceremoniously relieved.   Today, members of the Army’s Third Regiment are guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The tomb doesn’t represent just one conflict; it represents all conflicts, the significance, and purpose behind the upcoming events for the centennial, and where Americans can find information on these events and projects.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery is the first VA facility to have a never forget me garden. There are lessons why every American should visit the tomb. The nation should learn about its history and importance to so many gold star families and Veterans.

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