Politics

For the first time in 100 years, the public will be able to approach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

For the first time in nearly a century, members of the public will be able to walk on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier plaza and lay flowers before the sacred memorial site in Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza is on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is normally reserved for the sentinels who stand guard, as well as presidents and other dignitaries presenting wreaths or flowers.

Ahead of Veterans Day on Thursday, members of the public were able to step forward on the plaza Tuesday to pay their respects by placing flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The tomb will be open again from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time Wednesday. Tickets are sold out, but walk-ups will be allowed.

The memorial was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1921, after the remains of an unidentified soldier from World War I were exhumed from a military cemetery in France, flown to the U.S. and buried in a ceremony officiated by President Warren G. Harding.

Karen Durham-Aguilera, the executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery spoke ahead of the opening. “The next two days will truly be a historic and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said Tuesday morning, kicking off the start of the Tomb’s two-day flower ceremony.

Tim Frank, the Arlington National Cemetery’s historian, also spoke during Tuesday’s opening ceremony. “As you lay your flower, we at Arlington encourage you to reflect on the meaning of the Tomb. By the simple act of laying a flower, you are not only honoring the three unknowns buried here but all unknown or missing American service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” 

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: THE WASHINGTONIAN

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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