VISIT TOMB OF THE UNKNOWN SOILDER
There are two memorials honoring men and women who have died protecting our liberty and freedom. The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, and the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, a war memorial located in Washington Square in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Interesting facts about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington
- The tomb inters unknown soldiers from World Wars I and II. In 1988, unknowns were added from the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War.
- Each Unknown Soldier was presented with the Metal of Honor at the time of interment and the metals and flags that covered their coffins are displayed in the Memorial Amphitheater to the rear of the tomb.
- It is located near the center of Arlington National Cemetery.
- The tomb has been guarded continuously 24/7 by specially trained men of the 3rd United States Infantry (Old Guard) since 1930, and a changing of the guard occurs every 30 minutes 365 days a year regardless of the weather. In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching it was reported on the ABC Evening News that the guardsmen assigned the duty of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission by the U.S. House/Senate to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined, stating guarding the tomb was not just an assignment; it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a serviceperson. Refusing to break this hallowed ceremony, they marched, soaked to the bone in the pelting rain during this dangerous storm.
- To qualify to be a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier he must be between 5' 10" and 6' 2" tall, and his waist size cannot exceed 30”. He lives in barracks beneath the tomb for 2 years.
- The first 6 months of duty a tomb guard cannot talk to anyone or watch TV. All off-duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people who have been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. He must memorize who they are and where they are interred.
- Every guard spends 5 hours a day getting his uniform ready insuring there are no wrinkles, folds or lint, thus insuring an impeccable appearance in order to give the utmost honor and respect to their benevolent assignment.
- His shoes are specially made having thick soles to keep his feet comfortable from the heat or cold. The heels have metal plates extending to the top of the shoe in order to make an intense sounding click as they come to a halt.
- A sentinel takes 21 steps during his march across the tomb representing a 21 gun salute, the highest honor given any military or foreign dignitary.
- A sentinel waits 21 seconds after his about-face before he begins his 21 step return march for the same reason.
- A sentinel always carries his rifle on the shoulder that is away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.
- A sentinel wears white gloves symbolizing purity that are moistened to prevent his rifle from slipping in his hands.
- After 2 years of service a guard is awarded a wreath pin which he wears on his lapel which must be surrendered if he fails to keep his commitments to never drink alcohol, swear in public, or bring disgrace to the uniform or tomb for the rest of his life. As of 2007 there are only 400 wreath pins currently worn.
The Sentinels Creed
My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted.
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.
*Also at Arlington National Cemetery is a marker where 14 “Unknown Soldiers” are interred from the War of 1812 which were discovered in 1905. A Civil War Memorial dedicated in 1866 is actually the first Memorial honoring “Unknown Soldiers” buried in Arlington National Cemetery and holds the remains of 2,111 unknown soldiers gathered from the battlefields of Bull Run and the route to the Rappahannock. There are numerous interesting Memorials at Arlington National Cemetery which you can learn about by going to: www.arlingtoncemetery.net
Interesting facts about the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier Memorial.
- The memorial was built in 1954 and features a statue of George Washington looking toward Independence Hall, as well as an eternal flame.
- The plaque above the tomb of the Unknown Soldier reads: "Beneath this stone rests a soldier of Washington's army who died to give you liberty."
- The memorial honors the thousands of soldiers who died during the American Revolutionary War. Many of these brave and valiant soldiers are buried in mass graves in the park.
Included on the wall of the Memorial are the following words:
· “The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts of common dangers, suffering and success.” (Words from Washington’s Farewell Address, September 17, 1796)
· "Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness"
· "In unmarked graves within this square lie thousands of unknown soldiers of Washington's Army who died of wounds and sickness during the Revolutionary War."