Tomb of the Unknowns – Arlington National Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknowns – Arlington National Cemetery

The Tomb of the Unknowns, often referred to as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, is attached to the south side of the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery.  It has been guarded continuously 24/7/365 since July 2, 1937 by the Tomb Guards, a platoon within the 3rd US Infantry Division.  The changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns is an honour to observe and demonstrates the highest respect paid to even the unknown servicemen who gave their lives for their country.

The WW I unknown soldier was randomly selected by Sargent Edward Younger from four unknown servicemen exhumed from cemeteries in France on October 24, 1921.  The selected soldier was brought to America where he lay in state in the Capitol until being re-interred in the plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater on November 11, 1921.  The sarcophagus seen in these pictures is located above the WW I Unknown Soldier.  There are three crypts immediately west of the sarcophagus, marked by three white marble slabs. The outside crypts contain the bodies of an unknown soldier from WW II and the Korean War while the central crypt formerly contained the body of an unknown soldier from the Vietnam War.  The then unknown Vietnam soldier was exhumed in 1998 and positively identified through DNA testing as First Lieutenant Michael Blassie. The Vietnam crypt remains empty to this day.

The lone Tomb Guard on his watch, the Tomb of the Unknowns is on the left and you can see the three marble slabs above the crypts for the WW II, Vietnam and Korean War unknown soldiers.

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View from the Memorial Amphitheater looking West.

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Taken looking directly into the sun, but the shadow made for an interesting image. The guards always carry their rife (without a magazine) on the shoulder opposite the tomb.

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Unknown Soldier 01

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