History: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, also called the Tomb of the Unknowns, is guarded 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Guards are changed each hour except in summer, when the change is each half hour. Uploaded by managingbusinessrisk.com.

Several years following World War I, Congress approved the burial of an unknown soldier at Arlington Cemetery. The process for selecting the soldier to be honored has remained essentially the same since that time. Several identical caskets containing the remains of an unidentified soldier are prepared, and a highly decorated veteran of that war makes the selection at random. That coffin comes to Arlington; the others are buried with honors at foreign battlefield cemeteries.

The procedure has been followed for the World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Surprisingly, considering the all-consuming nationwide effort that led to victory in the second world war, the unknown soldier for that war and for Korea weren’t interred at Arlington until 1958.

Uploaded by tqn.com.

The tomb itself is guarded 24 hours a day, and the guard is changed each half hour in summer, each hour the rest of the year. Those soldiers performing this prestigious guard duty don’t wear rank insignia on their uniforms, so they don’t outrank the Unknowns.

One factor unknown to the world when the monument was revealed in 1921 is DNA. According to the Arlington National Cemetery website:

The remains of the Vietnam Unknown were exhumed May 14, 1998. Based on mitochondrial DNA testing, DoD scientists identified the remains as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. It has been decided that the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam Unknown will remain vacant.

Advertisements

One response to “History: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

  1. I was a 18 year old WAVE stationed at Quarters K in Arlington, VA. A large company of men and women marched with thousands of other service members of the various armed forces from the Capitol in D.C. to Arlington where the soldiers from the Korean War were laid to rest. I didn’t really understand the significance of this honor until recently at the age of 72. Now, I am very interest in all of my history and value my years in the WAVES and share with the high school students I work with. General Eisenhower was president and Richard Nixon his VP. Wow, I was right there!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s