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.
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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.
Bob Hope and the reigning Miss World entertain aboard the USS Bennington in 1966. Uploaded by uss-bennington.org.
No one has ever done as much to entertain our troops overseas as Bob did. It began normally enough, when Bob was one of many Hollywood stars who visited our troops fighting in World War II. But he continued his service whenever Americans were in harm’s way – in the Berlin airlift, in Korea, in Vietnam, in Beirut, and in Operation Desert Storm.
His dedication didn’t go unappreciated. He had a ship named in his honor (the USNS Bob Hope) as well as an Air Force C-17 (the “Spirit of Bob Hope”). But perhaps his biggest honor was being honored by Congress as an Honorary Veteran, the first individual so honored in American history.
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I remember as a kid dreading when a Bob Hope special came on TV. We had only one set, of course, and only three channels. And my parents loved Bob Hope, so we were stuck. I didn’t appreciate what Bob Hope meant to The Greatest Generation.
As an adult, though, I’ve learned to love those Road pictures Bob made with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. Those films featured excellent writing and great comic timing among the principals. He always joked about never winning an Oscar: “Oscar night at my house is called Passover,” he said. And yet he starred in 50 films, and appeared on the NBC radio and television networks for an astonishing 60 years. Bob lived to the age of 100, and was active almost to the end.
Bob, I’d like to apologize for the mean thoughts I had about you when I was young. I join the rest of America in honoring you for all you did for your profession and your country. Thanks for the memories…