Welcome to the Modern Typewriter, a daily blog to discuss topics that can’t be answered easily, or are just some fun topics! Today is May 31st, 2008, I’m Melanie, and I’m here to talk to you about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a grave of a serviceman who wasn’t ever identified. It is dedicated to the men and women who die without being identified. It’s location is in Arlington National Cemetery.
The inscription on the massive tomb reads:
IN HONORED GLORY
AN AMERICAN SOLDIER
KNOWN BUT TO GOD
Visitors from all over America travel to see this one grave on a soldier who died in World War One.
On Memorial Day of 1921, four caskets with four unknown soldiers were taken from American Cemeteries in France. US Army Sergeant Edward F. Younger, who was wounded in combat, was chosen to choose the soldier to be placed in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He picked the third from the left. The chosen unknown soldier was then taken to the United States by the USS Olympia, and the other three were returned to the French Cemeteries.
There are guards for the tomb. The guards guard the tombs 24/7. It is one of the highest honors to be chosen to go through training to become a guard. Less than 20% who applied are chosen to go through training. And only a fraction of the 20% make it out of training to become a guard.
The guards do not wear ranks on their uniform to make sure they do not outrank the unknown soldiers.
A special ritual is performed out of respect to the unknowns by the guards. This is how they guard.
- The soldier walks 21 steps across the tomb. His gun is always on the shoulder opposite the tomb.
- On the 21st step, the soldier stands and faces the tomb for 21 seconds.
- The soldier then turns to face the other way across the tomb and changes his weapon to the outside shoulder.
- After 21 seconds, the first step is repeated.
Remember, I’m Melanie, and this is the Modern Typewriter, OUT!