Any occasion that you take a moment or two and reflect on our nations fallen heroes is time well spent. We all owe them a debt of gratitude and admiration far beyond just remembrance, reaching to your very heart and mind. In Arlington National Cemetery you will find the final resting place of the nation’s most honored and influential persons in the history of the United States. It serves presidents to privates with distinction, all having given their devotion and lives for the country they served. The Tomb of the Unknowns is inscribed, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier, known but to God.”
The Tomb of the Unknowns is located at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. This cemetery began during the Civil War on property owned by Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Today, the over two hundred acre cemetery is the final resting place more than 300,000 persons, both military and civilian. The actual tomb is constructed of gold veined marble and is situated over the remains of an unknown soldier from WWI. There are three additional marble slabs that are placed over the graves of unknown soldiers from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
The soldiers in the Tomb have been given the Congressional Medal of Honor and have had their funerals presided over by the President of the United States. The Unknowns have been selected by a Medal of Honor recipient who had served in the same conflict as that Unknown Soldier. The selection of an individual is not only to honor the chosen soldier, but to serve as a lasting memorial to all those that gave their lives in the defense of the United States of America.
The Tomb is guarded 24 hours, 7 days per week. Rain or shine. The guards are referred to as sentinels and began their duty July 2, 1937. Sentinel selection is very rigorous and only the best are selected to wear the distinguished Honor Guard badge. The sentinels march in a specific pattern, taking 21 steps across the Tomb, turning to face the Tomb for 21 seconds, turning and taking 21 steps back across the Tomb. This never changes, never falters, never fails. The significance of the number 21 is in honor of a 21 gun salute.
In 1984, President Ronald Regan presided over the interment of the Unknown from the Vietnam era. On May 14, 1998 the remains of this soldier were exhumed after they were positively identified as those of First Lieutenant Michael Blassie, who was shot down in 1972. After his remains were removed, it was decided that the crypt for the Vietnam Unknown Soldier would remain empty.
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Kuna VFW Post 7019 is sponsoring the Veterans Corner in the Kuna Melba News to be posted in the first available issue of each month. We welcome individuals and organizations to submit articles about Veterans to go in this space. Please submit articles of 300 to 500 words, and not more than 600, to Dave Lyon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kuna VFW Post 7019 would welcome any potential members. Come to one of our meetings and meet the guys, share a story or two, gripe a little, have some fun. We meet at the Kuna senior center, second Wednesday of the month at 19:30 hrs.