The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


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During WWI, efforts were made on all sides to provide servicemen with identity tags to assist with identifying remains. This helped in some cases, but given the nature of the battlefields, many bodies were never recovered or were not identifiable. These servicemen made the greatest ultimate sacrifice. They not only sacrificed their lives – they sacrificed their identity. They are the “unknowns.” After WWI, many families had to deal with not just the loss of a servicemember but the idea that they would likely never know the final resting place of their loved one. In response to this collective loss, some nations constructed tombs to honor the unknowns. America’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands in the Memorial Amphitheatre of Arlington National Cemetery. It overlooks Washington, D.C. and is guarded 24/7 by soldiers of The Old Guard, the US Army 3rd Infantry Regiment. To explore the WWI origins of this tomb, the World War I Podcast spoke with Gavin McIlvenna, Co-Founder and Past President of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS).

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