Arlington National Cemetery–Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 100th Anniversary

wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

How old is the Tomb of the Unknown Solider?  

This is a question asked frequently on our tours. Here’s a little bit of history about the Tomb of the Unknown Solider and unknown soldiers in general. The year 2021 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, which was dedicated November 11, 1921, on the date World War I ended in 1918: Armistice Day, November 11, which we now recognize as Veterans Day in the United States. The United States shares this tradition of burying an unknown from World War I with several other allies, including France (whose unknown is interred at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and Great Brittan whose unknown is in Westminster Abbey in London). Today, in addition to the unknown soldier from World War I, at the Tomb at Arlington National Cemetery, there is also an unknown from World War II and the Korean War.  These are only three of innumerable missing and dead who were lost in battle throughout this nation’s history. For example, just a short distance from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and just a few steps away from Arlington House, there is a memorial tomb holding a mass grave of over 1000 unknown dead from the Civil War whose remains were not identified. 

How can I visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery?

The Changing of the Guard Ceremony is a must-see when you visit Arlington National Cemetery.  There are several ways to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Arlington National Cemetery is open to the public and does not have an admission fee, so visitors are welcome to walk in during normal business hours and visit on their own. The cemetery also offers a bus tour inside the cemetery for a small fee. Custom Tours of DC offers private tours of Arlington National Cemetery.  We are happy to set up stand alone private tour of the cemetery, timing it just right so that you can experience the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. We also can combine your cemetery tour with a more comprehensive tour of Washington, DC that we can customize to suit your interests, time, and budget. 

How can I arrange a public wreath ceremony for my group? 

We’ve experienced mainly two types of groups who have laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: veteran/military groups and school groups. You can request a wreath ceremony by submitting a request form to the cemetery administrators. If you book your student tour or veteran group tour with us, we are happy to help you with submitting the request.

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