Nationwide celebrations mark 100 years of remembrance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Society of the Guard of Honor, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a nonprofit committed to preserving the history of the tomb, will host a month of celebrations across the country to mark the centenary of the tomb.
The organization is made up of past and present Tomb Guards, as well as others – such as spouses and dependents of Tomb Guards and other servicemen with honorable discharges. The company also strives to honor the sacrifice of unknown servicemen buried in the East Square of the Memorial Amphitheater, as well as the empty crypt dedicated to those missing.
“We see the centenary not only as a celebration to remember the burial of the Unknown Soldier in World War I, but also as an opportunity to reflect on what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier means to America,” perhaps read on the organization’s website.
It serves as a “focal point for bringing all Americans together – that its meaning is not limited to the Great War and the exclusive claim of veterans of that war.”
November 9 and 10, the latter of which also marks the 246th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps, will be the first time in 78 years that Tomb Guards will allow visitors to enter the chains surrounding the tomb. The public is invited to place individual flowers at the tomb.
There will be 16 different âNever Forgetâ gardens to be dedicated between November 9 and 20, from one at the United States Military Academy in New York to the Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center in White City, Oregon.
Other notable centennial events include a series of lectures on the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Crystal Gateway Marriot in Arlington, Va., As well as a bell aboard the USS Olympia in Philadelphia at the Independence Seaport. Museum. The bell will ring at 4 p.m., exactly the same time the Unknown Soldier left the ship 100 years ago at the Navy Yard in Washington, DC
For the full list of available events, those interested can visit the company website Facebook page.
With over 100,000 American casualties during World War I, efforts to repatriate the dead were much more difficult than during the Spanish American War, when the repatriation policy took effect. France and Britain – which suffered significantly higher casualties – banned repatriation, but to alleviate the grief of their citizens, each country buried an unknown soldier on Armistice Day in 1920.
Britain’s Unknown Warrior was buried inside Westminster Abbey in London while France’s Unknown Soldier was buried at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
While American families could request that their servicemen be repatriated or buried in one of America’s cemeteries overseas, New York Congressman and World War I veteran Hamilton Fish proposed legislation that matched at the French and English decision, allowing the burial of an unknown American soldier in a grave in Arlington National Cemetery.
The purpose of the legislation was “to bring home the body of an unknown American warrior which in itself does not represent any section, creed or race at the end of the war and which further characterizes the soul of America and the supreme sacrifice of its heroic deaths. . “
America’s first Unknown Soldier was buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on November 11, 1921, as President Warren Harding placed a Medal of Honor on the coffin.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumnus, and a New York University master’s degree candidate for business and economics reports.