facebook linkedin twitter

Public Given Rare Access at Centennial for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

November 10, 2021 by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t happened in close to one hundred years and isn’t likely to ever happen again, but for two full days in advance of Veteran’s Day, the public has been invited to approach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

A Centennial Commemoration for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was mandated by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which features a series of events leading up to a ceremony at the Tomb on Nov. 11, Veteran’s Day. Members of the public were invited to experience and participate in events at the cemetery and virtually, including the rare opportunity to walk next to the Tomb and place a stemmed flower. 

Since Nov. 11, 1921, the Tomb has provided a final resting place for one of America’s unidentified World War I service members, with unknowns from later wars joining him in 1958 (World War II and Korea) and 1984 (Vietnam, later removed).

The Tomb has been guarded since Apr. 6, 1948, by Army soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Regiment, who reverently walk the length of the Tomb’s plaza in a ceremonial routine at all hours of the day and night. The public can view the changing of the guard and their patrol when the cemetery is open, but visitors are usually forbidden from walking onto the plaza.

Only at one time since the installation of the Tomb has it been opened to the public. According to Military Times, near the beginning of America’s involvement in World War II in 1943, the public was able to approach the plaza, but it has since been strictly off-limits and will continue to be.

“We do not anticipate another event like this in our lifetimes in which the public will be able to approach the Tomb in this manner,” a statement on the Arlington National Cemetery site claims. 

To begin the solemn flower placements on Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, a representative from the Crow Nation recited a prayer similar to the one given a century ago by Native American Chief Plenty Coups at the Tomb’s dedication. 

Between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, participants will be offered a commemorative flower to lay in front of the Tomb as they walk past. 

According to the website of the non-profit committed to the preservation of the history of the Tomb, The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, “We view the Centennial not only as a celebration to remember the burial of the World War I Unknown Soldier, but an opportunity to reflect on what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier means to America.”

In addition to the public flower laying, celebrations across the country will mark the Tomb’s Centennial anniversary on Veteran’s Day.

Kate can be reached at [email protected].

A+
a-

Veterans

November 17, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
House Panel Seeks Better Interventions To Prevent Veteran Suicides

WASHINGTON — The heartrending subject of veteran suicide was again front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a House... Read More

WASHINGTON — The heartrending subject of veteran suicide was again front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a House panel heard one heartbreaking story after another about young people who placed themselves in harm’s way for their country only to return home and take their... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Seeks to Serve More Food to Veterans Who Served the US

WASHINGTON — Navy veteran Tim Keefe told a congressional panel Wednesday about how he was willing to give his life... Read More

WASHINGTON — Navy veteran Tim Keefe told a congressional panel Wednesday about how he was willing to give his life for his country when he enlisted in the military. After he left the Navy, he had trouble finding a sandwich to eat. He suffered a job... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
How the Mission Act is Negatively Impacting Veteran Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON — The Mission Act was launched in 2019 to protect veterans' access to health care, but now health policy... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Mission Act was launched in 2019 to protect veterans' access to health care, but now health policy experts are finding that the legislation may actually be preventing access. “Veterans who need to go to [into] the community are not getting care, or getting... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Kate Michael
Public Given Rare Access at Centennial for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t happened in close to one hundred years and isn’t likely to ever happen again, but for... Read More

WASHINGTON — It hasn’t happened in close to one hundred years and isn’t likely to ever happen again, but for two full days in advance of Veteran’s Day, the public has been invited to approach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  A Centennial Commemoration for the... Read More

May 25, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Texas Approves Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Study for Veterans with PTSD

AUSTIN, Texas-- In Texas this week, a bipartisan bill to develop a study on the use of psychedelic therapy to... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas-- In Texas this week, a bipartisan bill to develop a study on the use of psychedelic therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in veterans was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate.  “We are losing over 20 veterans a day to suicide in the United States.... Read More

December 10, 2020
by Dan McCue
IAVA Celebrates Senate Passage of Landmark Women Veterans Legislation

WASHINGTON - The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on Thursday cheered Senate passage of the Deborah Sampson Act, which... Read More

WASHINGTON - The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America on Thursday cheered Senate passage of the Deborah Sampson Act, which directs the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out the three-year pilot program to assess how best to provide assistance to women veterans. The pilot program,... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top