The Tomb of the Unknown

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, although it has never been officially named.Sentinels salute the Tomb of the Unknown, Courtesy: Arlington National Cemetery

The Unknown of World War I

On Memorial Day, 1921, four unknowns were exhumed from four World War I American cemeteries in France. U.S. Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger, who was wounded in combat, highly decorated for valor and received the Distinguished Service Medal in “The Great War, the war to end all wars,” selected the Unknown Soldier of World War I from four identical caskets at the city hall in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, Oct. 24, 1921. Sgt. Younger selected the unknown by placing a spray of white roses on one of the caskets. The chosen unknown soldier was transported to the United States aboard the USS Olympia. Those remaining were interred in the Meuse Argonne Cemetery, France.

The Unknown Soldier lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda from his arrival in the United States until Armistice Day, 1921. On Nov. 11, 1921, President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Unknown of World War II and Korea

The World War II Unknown was selected from remains exhumed from cemeteries in Europe, Africa, Hawaii and the Philippines. Two unknowns from World War II, one from the European Theater and one from the Pacific Theater, were placed in identical caskets and taken aboard the USS Canberra, a guided-missile cruiser resting off the Virginia capes.

The Unknown of Vietnam

The Unknown service member from the Vietnam War was designated by Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Allan Jay Kellogg Jr. during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, May 17, 1984.

Many Vietnam veterans, as well as President and Mrs. Ronald Reagan visited the Vietnam Unknown in the U.S. Capitol. An Army caisson carried the Vietnam Unknown from the Capitol to the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 28, 1984. President Reagan presided over the funeral, and presented the Medal of Honor to the Vietnam Unknown.

The president also acted as next of kin by accepting the interment flag at the end of the ceremony.

Information and images courtesy of Arlington National Cemetery.

 

The Sentinel’s Creed 

My dedication to this sacred duty
is total and whole-hearted.
In the responsibility bestowed on me
never will I falter.
And with dignity and perseverance
my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise
and the discomfort of the elements,
I will walk my tour in humble reverence
to the best of my ability.
It is he who commands the respect I protect,
his bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day,
alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
this soldier will in honored glory rest
under my eternal vigilance.
“The Sentinel’s Creed are the 99 words we live by. The words bring vast emotions to the surface when spoken by a Sentinel. We tend to stand a little taller, back a little straighter and our head just a little higher. These words capture the true meaning of why we are Tomb Guards. When ever a Tomb Guard salutes a commissioned officer, they always say in a loud voice:

 

“Line Six, Sir!”

This Memorial Day, The Bold Pursuit salutes our fallen heroes and those who currently serve our country at home and abroad.
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