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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Friday, November 5, 2021

What is it?

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier serves as the heart of Arlington National Cemetery (ANC). It is a people’s memorial that inspires reflection on service, valor, sacrifice and mourning. As a sacred memorial site and the grave of three unknown American service members, the Tomb connects visitors with the legacy of the United States Armed Forces throughout the nation’s history.

2021 marks the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Since 1921, it has provided a final resting place for unidentified American service members from World War I, World War II and the Korean War.

What are the current and past efforts of the Army?

The U.S. Army honors the service and legacy of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. ANC is preparing the most comprehensive publication on the history behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, detailing information from World War I on the concept, selection and burial of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Army has:

  • Created an enduring centennial program which will continue to serve American school children, international visitors and lifelong learners.

  • Established a historical overview that explores the Tomb’s role in transforming Arlington National Cemetery, including exhibits of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Memorial Amphitheater Display Room and the Arlington National Cemetery Welcome Center

  • Connected to the public by inviting participation in the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier celebration.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

The Army will continue to:

  • Honor America’s commitment to never forget or forsake those who served and sacrificed for the country.

  • Educate the American public about the service and sacrifice on behalf of the nation and the principles that define and unite the country.

  • Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during times of war or armed conflict.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands physically and symbolically at the heart of the cemetery – and the heart of the Nation. The Unknown Soldier — an American warrior — represents no section, no creed or race and who typifies moreover the soul of America and the supreme sacrifice of her historic dead.

The Army is privileged to serve as caretakers of the nation’s most sacred shrine at Arlington.


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Focus Quote for the Day

“As the stewards of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, it’s our honor to lead the centennial commemoration of this site”.

— Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director, Arlington National Cemetery, Jan. 28, 2021