"HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD."

For over 100 years, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has served as the heart of Arlington National Cemetery. 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. It stands as a people’s memorial that inspires reflection on service, valor, sacrifice, and mourning. Since November 11, 1921, the Tomb has provided a final resting place for one of America’s unidentified World War I service members, and Unknowns from later wars were added in 1958 and 1984.

Throughout 2021, Arlington National Cemetery held a series of commemorative events, exhibits, and ceremonies that culminated on November 11 in conjunction with the National Veterans Day Observance. Below are materials curated from those activities, as well as resources and information for those who wish to learn more about the tomb and its history.




SEE EVENT VIDEO

100th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATION

The public participated in commemorating the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – just as the public was involved in the 1921 ceremony including a recreation of the public flower laying ceremony a century before. The public was able to walk onto the plaza and lay a flower at the base of the Tomb.



THE EXHIBIT

Arlington National Cemetery installed a new exhibit focused on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Memorial Amphitheater Display Room. You can experience this exhibit in person or virtually.



ANC Historian Tim Frank gives an inside look at the display room in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery.
U.S. Army video by Les Owen / Arlington National Cemetery

MONTHLY COMMEMORATIVE VIRTUAL PROGRAMS

As part of the Department of Defense Commemorative Program, Arlington National Cemetery partnered with many stakeholders to provide the public with virtual programs, descriptive talks, and live webinars to discuss the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in depth. Beginning in January of 2021, below are the series of monthly events.


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    October Eternally Unknown: The Selection of the WWI Unknown Soldier (With the National World War I Museum & Memorial)
    Explore the fascinating story of how the U.S. Army selected the World War I Unknown Soldier and went to great lengths to ensure his eternal anonymity.

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    September Here Rests in Honored Glory: Part 2 (With the National Archives)
    National Archives records Related to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with archivists from the National Archives

  • Video Thumbnail

    September Here Rests in Honored Glory: Part 1 (With the National Archives)
    National Archives records Related to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with archivists from the National Archives

  • Video Thumbnail

    August World War II Unknowns (With the National World War II Museum)
    A roundtable discussion Commemorating the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with the National World War II Museum

  • Video Thumbnail

    July Restoration and Conservation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
    For 100 years, Arlington National Cemetery’s staff have worked to maintain and preserve the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, ensuring that future generations can pay their respects to the nameless but not forgotten soldiers who fought for our freedom.

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    June Ask a Tomb Guard with The Old Guard (With The Old Guard)
    The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) has the honor of guarding the Tomb. As a part of ANC’s yearlong education program leading up to the Centennial, guards answer the most common Tomb Guard questions.

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    May Exploring the Connection Between the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Memorial Day (With the National Park Service)
    Drawing on American military history going back to the Civil War, ANC Historian Tim Frank and NPS Ranger Heidi Dietze detail how the creation of the Tomb and its connection to Memorial Day sought to heal the country's divide in the wake of the Civil War.

  • Video Thumbnail

    April The Memorial Arboretum
    ANC Horitculture Chief Stephen Van Hoven tells us about the rich history of the Memorial Arboretum that is tied of the history of the Tomb.

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    March The Medal of Honor and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (With Gen. Mark Milley)
    Gen. Mark Milley, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Foley, and Vice Air Marshall Mick Smeath explain the history of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Crow Nation’s gift to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Americans who have been awarded the Victoria Cross and why wreath ceremonies for the Unknowns are so important to our countrymen and international visitors.

  • Video Thumbnail

    February Teaching with Things: How Artifacts Illuminate the Past (With the National WWI Museum and Memorial)
    Educator’s workshop focused on engaging students with historical artifacts. Presenters will show and discuss a wide range of items, from mailing envelopes to military jingle dresses to artifacts from the World War I Unknown Soldier’s ceremonial and solemn interment.

  • Video Thumbnail

    January Centennial of and Teaching the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the National World War I Museum and Memorial
    Join us for an introduction to a new module of the ANC Education Program focused on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In this webinar, historians and educators from Arlington National Cemetery provide a live conversation on how to use these resources, developed for students of all ages as well as adult lifelong learners.

COMMEMORATIVE EVENT DETAILS & COVERAGE

Arlington National Cemetary hosted events leading up to the centennial ceremony on November 11, 2021. The public was able to experience and participate in the commemorative events in many ways, both at the cemetery and virtually. For detailed information on the events, please visit the events page at www.arlingtoncemetary.mil. The official Department of Defense Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration events included:

  • November 9,
    2021

    WASHINGTON NAVY YARD 21-GUN SALUTE

    A Naval District of Washington historical plaque dedication, naval symposium and 21-Gun Salute Ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard.  

  • November 9 - 10,
    2021

    PUBLIC FLOWER CEREMONY

    An Arlington National Cemetery Public Flower Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This was the first time in nearly a century that the public has been allowed access to the Tomb Plaza to pay respects.  

    Livestreamed Events (Recorded) 

    November 9: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Flower Ceremony

    •  8:00–9:00 a.m. EST, www.dvidshub.net/webcast/27490 

    •  Noon–1:00 p.m. EST, www.dvidshub.net/webcast/27491

    •  4:00–5:00 p.m. EST, www.dvidshub.net/webcast/27492

    November 10: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Flower Ceremony 

    •  8:00–9:00 a.m. EST, www.dvidshub.net/webcast/27495

    •  Noon–1:00 p.m. EST, www.dvidshub.net/webcast/27496

    •  4:00–5:00 p.m. EST,  www.dvidshub.net/webcast/27497

  • November 11,
    2021

    JOINT FULL HONORS PROCESSION

    The public observed a joint full honors procession, meant to replicate elements of the World War I Unknown Soldier’s 1921 funeral procession.  

    ANC Photo Gallery

  • November 11,
    2021

    JOINT FLYOVER

    With participation from the armed services branches, a flyover passed over the cemetery and the National Mall. While not part of the original 1921 ceremony, the flyover was added to the centennial ceremony as an element of contemporary military rituals.  

  • November 11,
    2021

    ARMED FORCES FULL HONORS WREATH CEREMONY

    An Armed Forces Full Honors Wreath Ceremony honored the Unknowns and the centennial of the Tomb. This event was closed to the public due to COVID-19 mitigation protocols. The event was livestreamed.  

    Livestreamed Events (Recorded) 

    •  Wreath Laying Ceremony Livestream
    11 a.m.–11:30 a.m. EST, www.dvidshub.net/webcast/27489

  • November 11,
    2021

    NATIONAL VETERANS DAY OBSERVANCE

    The National Veterans Day Observance took place at the Memorial Amphitheater in conjunction with the centennial ceremonies. This event was closed to the public due to COVID-19 mitigation protocols but was livestreamed.  

    Livestreamed Events (Recorded) 

    •  Veterans Day Memorial Amphitheater Observance
    11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. EST, www.dvidshub.net/webcast/27487

    ANC Photo Gallery

THE EXHIBIT

Arlington National Cemetery installed a new exhibit focused on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Memorial Amphitheater Display Room. You can experience this exhibit in person or virtually.



ANC Historian Tim Frank gives an inside look at the display room in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery.
U.S. Army video by Les Owen / Arlington National Cemetery

MONTHLY COMMEMORATIVE VIRTUAL PROGRAMS

As part of the Department of Defense Commemorative Program, Arlington National Cemetery partnered with many stakeholders to provide the public with virtual programs, descriptive talks, and live webinars to discuss the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in depth. Beginning in January of 2021, below are the series of monthly events.


  • Video Thumbnail

    October Eternally Unknown: The Selection of the WWI Unknown Soldier (With the National World War I Museum & Memorial)
    Explore the fascinating story of how the U.S. Army selected the World War I Unknown Soldier and went to great lengths to ensure his eternal anonymity.

  • Video Thumbnail

    September Here Rests in Honored Glory: Part 2 (With the National Archives)
    National Archives records Related to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with archivists from the National Archives

  • Video Thumbnail

    September Here Rests in Honored Glory: Part 1 (With the National Archives)
    National Archives records Related to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with archivists from the National Archives

  • Video Thumbnail

    August World War II Unknowns (With the National World War II Museum)
    A roundtable discussion Commemorating the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with the National World War II Museum

  • Video Thumbnail

    July Restoration and Conservation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
    For 100 years, Arlington National Cemetery’s staff have worked to maintain and preserve the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, ensuring that future generations can pay their respects to the nameless but not forgotten soldiers who fought for our freedom.

  • Video Thumbnail

    June Ask a Tomb Guard with The Old Guard (With The Old Guard)
    The 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) has the honor of guarding the Tomb. As a part of ANC’s yearlong education program leading up to the Centennial, guards answer the most common Tomb Guard questions.

  • Video Thumbnail

    May Exploring the Connection Between the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Memorial Day (With the National Park Service)
    Drawing on American military history going back to the Civil War, ANC Historian Tim Frank and NPS Ranger Heidi Dietze detail how the creation of the Tomb and its connection to Memorial Day sought to heal the country's divide in the wake of the Civil War.

  • Video Thumbnail

    April The Memorial Arboretum
    ANC Horitculture Chief Stephen Van Hoven tells us about the rich history of the Memorial Arboretum that is tied of the history of the Tomb.

  • Video Thumbnail

    March The Medal of Honor and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (With Gen. Mark Milley)
    Gen. Mark Milley, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Robert Foley, and Vice Air Marshall Mick Smeath explain the history of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Crow Nation’s gift to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Americans who have been awarded the Victoria Cross and why wreath ceremonies for the Unknowns are so important to our countrymen and international visitors.

  • Video Thumbnail

    February Teaching with Things: How Artifacts Illuminate the Past (With the National WWI Museum and Memorial)
    Educator’s workshop focused on engaging students with historical artifacts. Presenters will show and discuss a wide range of items, from mailing envelopes to military jingle dresses to artifacts from the World War I Unknown Soldier’s ceremonial and solemn interment.

  • Video Thumbnail

    January Centennial of and Teaching the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the National World War I Museum and Memorial
    Join us for an introduction to a new module of the ANC Education Program focused on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In this webinar, historians and educators from Arlington National Cemetery provide a live conversation on how to use these resources, developed for students of all ages as well as adult lifelong learners.

VISITING

The cemetery is open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The parking garage closes an hour later at 6 p.m. The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier occurs every hour on the hour. The Tomb is located at the center of the cemetery and is about a 20-minute walk from the entrance. There is also a tour shuttle, with tickets available for purchase in the Welcome Center. Download the ANC Explorer app in the App Store for interactive maps, “Find a Grave”, locations of water stations, restrooms and more.

COVID-19 Restrictions: All employees, contractors, family pass holders and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks while indoors at ANC.

LOCATION

ADDRESS

Arlington National Cemetery
1 Wilson Ave, Fort Myer, Virginia 22211

RESOURCES

EDUCATION PROGRAM

Arlington National Cemetery’s new Education Program shares free virtual and in-person learning resources for educators, students of all grade levels, visiting families and lifelong learners. Audiences may now discover the diverse history of the United States through the unique lens of ANC and its history. One learning module explores the history and meanings of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

TOMB 100 WALKING TOUR

Visit and learn about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the gravesites of individuals related to the Tomb's history in this two-mile walking tour.

Commemorative Guide and Book

The U.S. Army Center of Military History and ANC are partnering to release two publications to serve as the U.S. Army’s official commemorative histories honoring this centennial. A richly illustrated free commemorative guide, available now, provides an engaging interpretive overview of the Tomb. A forthcoming longer official history of the Tomb based on extensive primary source research will delve into the details of how the Tomb was created.



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Image below: Members from five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own”, a Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, and foreign defense attachés march in a Joint Procession in honor of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va., Nov. 11, 2021. Soldiers wear uniforms representative of different historical eras. (U.S. Army photo by Cpl. XaViera Masline)
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EXPLORE HISTORY

“...an unknown American warrior who in himself represents no section, creed, or race in the late war and who typifies, moreover, the soul of America...”

- Congressman Hamilton Fish Jr., Hearings in the House of Representatives regarding the Unknown Soldier. 1921

For a detailed history and further resources, please visit https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Tomb-of-the-Unknown-Soldier

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