Scenic USA - Virginia

Tomb of the Unknowns

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Tomb of the Unknowns - Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Photo by Brad Troy
Brad Troy Photography

     Even before the conclusion of the Civil War, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s family property had been taken for a cemetery. By war’s end 16,000 graves dotted the hillsides around the mansion. From the Arlington House portico, an official day of remembrance was issued in 1868.
     Today, Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for nearly 300,000 service members and their family members. Best known of all the national cemeteries, the Memorial Amphitheater is one of the most popular stops at Arlington. The amphitheater hosts both Memorial Day and Veterans Day services. Just to the west of the amphitheater is the Tomb of the Unknowns. The Tomb, containing the remains of WWI, WWII, Korean War, and the Vietnam unknown American soldiers, is protected by Tomb Guard Sentinels (The Old Guard). Specially trained members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry maintain a vigil around the clock, with a Changing of the Guard every hour (on the half hour from April through September). The sarcophagus inscription reads, Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.

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