History of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a revered monument located in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington D.C. It is a constantly visible reminder of the sacrifices made by American soldiers in service of their country. This post will cover the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, from its origins in the First World War to its current place as an iconic symbol of American history and remembrance.
The Origins of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The First World War was a global conflict that saw American soldiers fighting on the side of the Allies. During the course of the war, many American soldiers lost their lives on European battlefields, and in many cases, their remains were never found or were so badly damaged that they could not be identified. This presented a significant challenge to the U.S. government, which was faced with the task of honoring these fallen soldiers and providing their families with closure.
In 1921, the U.S. Congress authorized the creation of a memorial to the unidentified dead of the First World War. The purpose of this memorial was to pay tribute to the sacrifices of these soldiers and to recognize the immense toll that the war had taken on the nation. The body of an unknown soldier was chosen from among those that had been interred in American military cemeteries in Europe and brought to the United States with great ceremony.
The Laying of the Unknown Soldier to Rest
The body of the unknown soldier was placed in a casket and taken to the U.S. Capitol, where it lay in state for several days. Thousands of people came to pay their respects, and the event was covered extensively by the press. Finally, on November 11, 1921, the casket was moved to Arlington National Cemetery, where it was laid to rest in a tomb constructed specifically for this purpose.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Becomes a Symbol of National Pride
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier became an immediate symbol of national pride and mourning. Its simple design, featuring a white marble sarcophagus with three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and Valor, conveyed a powerful message of honor, sacrifice, and solidarity. The tomb was guarded by a detachment of soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army, whose duty it was to maintain a constant watch over the monument, day and night, in all weather conditions.
Expanding the Tradition: The Addition of the Korean and Vietnam Unknown Soldiers
Over the years, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier became more than just a monument to a particular war. It came to represent all the American men and women who had sacrificed their lives in the service of their country. In 1958, a second unknown soldier from the Korean War was interred alongside the first. In 1984, another unknown soldier from the Vietnam War was laid to rest beside the other two.
The Changing of the Guard Ritual
Today, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands as a testament to the courage and sacrifice of all American soldiers, past and present, who have given their lives in the service of their country. The Tomb serves as a reminder of the cost of freedom and, at the same time, symbolizes hope and unity. The Changing of the Guard ritual is one of the most powerful and moving events to witness in Washington D.C. The guards are selected for their impeccable character, physical fitness, and ability to demonstrate outstanding military bearing. The ceremony involves a solemn ritual, complete with the laying of a wreath, a rifle salute, and the playing of Taps. It is performed with precision and dignity and has become one of the most iconic traditions of the U.S. Army.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier holds a powerful place in American history. It is a monument that tells the story of American soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. It is a reminder of the sacrifices made by these brave men and women and serves as a symbol of unity and hope. The Tomb has become an iconic monument of American history and source of pride for all Americans. Its story is one that is filled with symbolism, reverence, and admiration. The Tomb is a place where all Americans can come to pay their respects and reflect on the immense cost of freedom.