If you’re planning a trip to Washington, D.C., the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a must-see destination. But before you go, it’s helpful to know a little bit about what you’re looking at. Here’s everything you need to know about this monument.
What is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a monument dedicated to the memory of unidentified American soldiers who died in service to their country. It serves as a symbolic resting place for all the unknown soldiers who lost their lives in wars throughout history. The tomb is also known as the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Where is it located?
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in Arlington National Cemetery, which is just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The cemetery is a military cemetery, and it is the final resting place for more than 400,000 soldiers and their families. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of the most prominent landmarks in the cemetery, and it is visited by millions of people every year.
What is the history behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?
It all started back in 1921 when Congress approved the burial of an unknown soldier from World War I. The idea was to honor all the soldiers who had died in the war, but whose remains were never identified. The burial took place on November 11th, which just so happened to be Armistice Day, the day that the war ended. It was a fitting tribute to those who had given their lives in service to their country.
But the story doesn’t end there. The idea of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier took off after World War II. In 1956, the remains of an unknown soldier from that war were interred at the tomb. And then, in 1984, the remains of an unknown soldier from the Korean War were added as well. These three soldiers now represent all the unidentified soldiers who have died in America’s wars.
The tomb itself is made of marble and rests on a base of three steps. It’s inscribed with the words “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known But to God.” The tomb is guarded by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard. These soldiers are highly trained and incredibly disciplined, and they take their duty very seriously.
What is the Changing of the Guard ceremony?
One of the most iconic things about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is the Changing of the Guard ceremony. This is a solemn ritual that takes place every hour from October through March, and every half hour from April through September.
During the ceremony, the guard is relieved by a new guard in a precise and intricate routine that has been practiced and perfected over many years. The two guards meet in the middle of the plaza in front of the tomb, and there’s a lot of precise marching and rifle twirling that happens. It’s seriously impressive to watch: these soldiers are incredibly disciplined and skilled.
One of the coolest things about the Changing of the Guard ceremony is that it happens no matter what. That’s right: even if it’s raining or snowing or hailing or whatever else, the ceremony still goes on. These soldiers take their duty very seriously, and they’re committed to honoring the soldiers who have come before them.
It’s worth mentioning that the guard on duty at the tomb is a member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard. These soldiers are some of the best and brightest in the military, and they take their job of guarding the tomb very seriously.
Can anyone visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?
Yes, anyone can visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Arlington National Cemetery is open to the public every day of the year, except for Christmas Day. The cemetery opens at 8:00 am and closes at 7:00 pm from April through September, and at 5:00 pm from October through March. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is free and open to the public, and it takes place throughout the day.
In conclusion, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a powerful symbol of the sacrifice and service of American soldiers. If you have the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C., be sure to take some time to visit this iconic monument and pay your respects to the unknown soldiers who gave their lives for our country.
Remember, military grave markers like those used at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier serve as a reminder of the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces. These markers help ensure that their service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.
So, next time you see a military grave marker, take a moment to reflect on the service of the soldier it represents. And if you have the opportunity to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, be sure to do so: it’s an experience you won’t forget.