What Is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?


Quick Answer

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is actually a collection of tombs in Arlington National Cemetery. The tomb under that of the large white sarcophagus is the term of the first unknown soldier buried there in 1921. There are also tombs of another soldier from World War I, a World War II soldier, a Korean War soldier and a Vietnam soldier.

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What Is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier?
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Full Answer

Although the remains in the tombs are of unknown individuals, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a symbol of all unknown soldier remains. The sarcophagus atop the tomb of the first soldier buried at the site features three Greek soldiers that represent peace, valor and victory. The inscription on the tomb reads, "Here rests in honored Glory a soldier known but to God." Currently, the tomb of the Vietnam unknown is empty. The soldier's remains were disinterred in 1998, and the body was identified using DNA. Afterward, it was decided that the tomb would remain empty to pay honor to "all of America's missing servicemen 1958-1975." The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment. From October through March, the guards change every hour. From April through September, the guards change every 30 minutes. This ceremonial is one of the most popular attractions at Arlington National Cemetery.

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