Featured - Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

“Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

These are the words on the west face of one of the most recognized memorials in Arlington National Cemetery; the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier.

It is common knowledge that the remains of an unknown soldier are entombed in the memorial. What is not common knowledge is that there are in fact 3 sets of remains there and at one time there were four.

In December 1920, New York Congressman and World War I veteran Hamilton Fish Jr. proposed that a special tomb be constructed at Arlington National Cemetery and that it should be the final resting place of one unknown American soldier. On November 11, 1921, the remains of an unidentified American soldier from World War I, originally buried in France, were interred at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the interment at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier remains of an Unknown from World War II and from the Korean conflict and on May 30, 1958, remains from those two wars were also interred at the Tomb of the Unknown.

The Vietnam war also brought a desire to have an unknown soldier from that war interred at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier but many felt that with improvements in technology, all remains would eventually be identified. By 1984, only one set of remains of those killed in Vietnam had not been identified and those remains were interred on Memorial Day 1984. In May of 1998, using DNA testing, the remains of the Vietnam Unknown were positively identified as those of 1st Lt. Michael Blassie, a pilot who had been shot down in 1972. Blassie’s remains were then reinterred in St. Louis, Missouri.

Since 1937, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been guarded 24 hours a day, seven days a week and in 1948, that honor has been carried out by members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as “The Old Guard.”

This year marks 100 years since the interment of the first Unknown at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and each year millions of people visit this sacred tomb and experience a ceremony full of symbolism that has been carried out, without fail, for decades.

To learn the complete story of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier visit: https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Tomb-of-the-Unknown-Soldier

Source: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Retrieved from https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Tomb-of-the-Unknown-Soldier


He was my friend. No, -- Much more than a friend. He was my brother because he died a thousand deaths for me!! In Belleau Wood, a mortar cut him down. At Iwo Jima, it was a bullet as he raised the Stars and Stripes and was frozen into bronze for all to remember. Over the hot sand of Africa, it was his plane that went screaming down in flames, and at Pearl Harbor, his ship is resting at the bottom of the bay supporting now the permanent shrine to his bravery and sacrifice. In the biting cold of Korea, eh died another death and he is still dying today in a place called Vietnam. Yes, he was my brother because he died a thousand deaths for me.

He was not really a fighting man, but fought for all men and gave for his country the last full measure of devotion, because he knew, as all of us know, that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Yet I cannot see his face clearly for he wore so many of them. He was swarthy but pale; a red-headed, brunette, blonde, with with sometimes greying hair, and his young old eyes reflected the browns, blues, and greens of his ancestry. He was Irish, Polish, French Italian, American Indian ------My Brother!!!!!! Although I cannot see his face clearly now, I know his uniform. It's the uniform of the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines. That's what it was !!!! And he wore it proudly. Yes, he was wearing it proudly before that mortar, that bullet, that anti-aircraft gun and that torpedo bloodied it and ended his life; the kind of life he fought to preserve.

Yes, he was my friend. No ----, much more than a friend. He was my brother. He died a thousand deaths for me and for you, for us. With each of them he gave that last full measure of devotion. He was and still is a part of that eternal vigilance which has kept us free. For that freedom, we, you and I, owe him a debt, this day and every day; a debt that only eternal vigilance and devotion to Americanism can repay. He is not buried at Arlington but lives in our hearts. He was my friend and my brother and I don't even know his name. Yes ----, yes --, I do too. He was called -- "An American."

Norman E. Baguhn

Past Post 388 Commander