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On this day in history, November 11, 1921, Tomb of Unknown Soldier is dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated at Arlington National Cemetery on this historic day, November 11, 1921, after a respectful selection process that spanned the Atlantic.

The remains of the American hero buried beneath the grave were selected from among the thousands of unidentified doughboys killed in World War I and buried in France.

An inscription on the marble tomb reads, “Here rests an American soldier known to God in honor and glory.”

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The Tombs of the World War II and Korean Unknown Soldiers were added in 1958.

According to the U.S. Army’s online cemetery education program, “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is Arlington National Cemetery’s most iconic monument.”

“It stands in the center of the cemetery and serves as a place to reflect on service, courage and sacrifice…Unknowns represents all unidentified service members who have given their lives for the United States.”

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is protected in Arlington Cemetery, Virginia. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket, Getty Images)

The grave’s purpose includes providing solace to the thousands of American families who never knew the fate of their loved ones who died overseas. In return, they can know that their loved one’s sacrifice is being remembered by the nation.

More than 60,000 American service members from World War II alone are still listed as missing in action, according to the federal government’s Defense POW/MIA Accounting Office.

It is a solemn reminder of the human devastation caused by that conflict.

“Here rests in honor and glory an American soldier known only to God.” — Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Approximately 20,000 other Americans remain unaccounted for, having lost their lives in subsequent conflicts such as Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Gulf War, and the War on Terror. The government no longer holds or provides access to the large number of missing persons from World War I.

Impressed by France’s efforts to honor the “Soldat Inconnu” (Unknown Soldier), U.S. Army Brigadier General G. William D. Connor, on October 29, 1919, asked General Peyton C. proposed an American plan.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Veterans Day, November 11, 2021, at Arlington National Cemetery, a joint full-service memorial service recalling the original funeral procession for the Unknown Soldier from World War I in 1921 will be held at Arlington National Cemetery. US soldiers marching in a procession of honor. in Arlington, Virginia. (Jim Watson Poole/Getty Images)

Congress approved a resolution on March 4, 1921 to fund the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to be dedicated on Armistice Day (now Veterans Day) of that year.

That fall, the bodies of four unknown American soldiers were exhumed, one each from four different American cemeteries in France: Aisne-Maine, Meuse-Argonne, Somme, and Saint-Mihiel.

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Arlington National Cemetery describes in rich and powerful detail the elaborate process that brought the first Unknown Soldier back to the United States.

“In the early morning hours of October 24, 1921, Maj. Robert P. Herbold of the Quartermaster Corps repositioned his troops, assisted by French and American soldiers. [four] Each coffin was placed in a separate shipping case from the one in which it arrived. ”

changing of the guard ceremony

Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, November 10, 2015. (Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images)

Sergeant Edward F. Younger, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 50th Infantry, U.S. Army in Germany, was given the honor of selecting the Unknown Soldier and sprayed one of the caskets with white roses.

The Unknown Soldier was transported by caisson to the port of Le Havre and then returned to the United States aboard the cruiser Olympia.

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“The Unknown arrived at the Washington Navy Yard on November 9, 1921… [and] It was in state storage in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. According to Arlington National Cemetery, approximately 90,000 people visited the cemetery during the public visitation period on November 10, 1921.

“On November 10, Unknown was placed in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, where 90,000 visitors paid their respects.”

“On November 11, 1921, the Unknown was carried in a procession on a horse-drawn caisson through Washington, D.C., and across the Potomac River. A state funeral was held in the new memorial amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery, and the Unknown He was buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

President Warren G. Harding placed the Medal of Honor on the casket, and foreign dignitaries presented their countries’ highest awards. President Harding led the nation in a two-minute silence.

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Today, the grave is guarded 24/7 by elite volunteers from the U.S. 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), headquartered near Fort Myer, Virginia.

It is the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the U.S. Army, protecting the nation since 1784 and guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 1948.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia

Soldiers of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as the “Old Guard,” carry flowers during a 100th anniversary event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 10, 2021. (Alex Brandon Poole/Getty Images)

Their Changing of the Guard ceremony is a popular yet revered tourist attraction, witnessed daily by visitors from across the United States and around the world.

“Pallbearers, also known as Sentinels, are selected for this prestigious and highly selective post only through rigorous training and a series of rigorous tests,” the cemetery reports.

The Guard is guided by the Sentinel Creed.


“My dedication to this sacred duty is wholehearted and heartfelt,” the creed begins.

It concludes with, “Surrounded by crowds of goodwill by day, alone in thoughtful peace by night/This soldier will sleep in honor and glory under my eternal watch.” It is.

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