“an American soldier unknown but to God”
The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and has never been officially named. The Tomb of the Unknowns stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. On March 4, 1921, Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater. The white marble sarcophagus has a flat-faced form and is relieved at the corners and along the sides by neo-classic pilasters, or columns, set into the surface. Sculpted into the east panel which faces Washington, D.C., are three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and Valor. The six wreaths, three sculpted on each side, represent the six major campaigns of World War I. Inscribed on the back of the Tomb are the words: Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.
We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Changing of the Guard and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during our visit to Arlington National Cemetery. There was a group of people gathered on the steps watching the sentinel perform his walk. Everyone was quiet (as was posted on the signs). You could hear each step of the sentinel and the clack of his shoes on his turns. It was very unique experience. It is about a 20 minute walk from the visitor center (mostly uphill) so wear your walking shoes.
This was my first visiting here. I'd heard so much about this cemetery and have seen it featured in movies multiple times. Everyone says you have to come here and see the changing of the guards. I decided to stick around and watch the routine, which happens at the top of the hour in the fall and winter, and every half hour during the spring and summer months. When the staff sergeant comes out with the oncoming guard, he makes an announcement describing the process. Silence is required when coming so remember to put your phone on silent so that you aren't that guy.
If you're visiting Arlington you have to stop and experience this. It's been happening for years and years non-stop and is a quiet dedicated ceremony that forces you to think. Quite interesting.
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Tomb Of The Unknowns
- Wed: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Tue, Thu: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
- Mon, Fri, Sat: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Sun: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
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