What is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?
Our nation’s most solemn monument was built as an homage to our soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. Located in Arlington National Cemetery stands the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which is an impressive eight-foot-wide, thirteen-foot-long, eleven-foot-high marble sarcophagus. It is decorated with six inverted wreaths which represent the six major campaigns of World War I. On the visible side of the sarcophagus, the words “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known But to God” are inscribed.
The Tomb began construction in 1921 to be the final resting place of the remains of one of the unidentified soldiers of World War I, who represented all of the soldier whose identities were unknown. On Nov 22, 1921 the remains of the selected soldier were entombed in the sarcophagus during a large state funeral, and the tomb was officially opened.
The tomb was rebuilt in 1931 and was opened to the public on April 2, 1932. The tomb was now posted by ceremonial guards from the 3rd Cavalry during the day whilst the tomb was open. Then on July 2, 1937 the 3rd Cavalry posted a guard at midnight, and to this day, the tomb has never gone a minute unguarded for 82 years. Today the Old Guard or the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment post guard, as they are the ceremonial unit of the United States Army. The 3rd Infantry Regiment assumed this role 71 years ago in 1948.The Tomb now consisted of the remains of four soldiers from the conflicts of World War I, World War II, Korean, and the Vietnam War.
The Tomb serves as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice that our service men and women who have been lost in battle have given for this country. Without the sacrifices of these men and women who gave their lives to support and defend the Constitution, the country we live in today would not be the same. The freedoms that every person in this country enjoys and takes for granted every day are only possible because of the sacrifices that our soldiers have given to this nation. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier never lets us, as a country, forget their ultimate sacrifice.