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Arlington National Cemetery

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Tomb of the Unknowns
A sentinel salutes the Tomb of the Unknowns.

A sentinel salutes the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Photo by Kimberly Nguyen: Courtesy of Arlington National Cemetery
Since opening on April 9, 1932, the Tomb of the Unknowns, also called the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, has been one of the most visited sites at Arlington Cemetery. It contains four graves:
  • The Unknown of World War I: Interred November 11, 1921 in a ceremony presided by President Harding.

  • The Unknown of World War II: Interred May 30, 1958 in a ceremony presided by President Eisenhower.

  • The Unknown of the Korean War: Interred May 30, 1958 in a ceremony presided by President Eisenhower.

  • The Unknown of the Vietnam War: Interred May 28, 1984 in a ceremony presided by President Reagan. Subsequently, the remains of the Vietnam Unknown were disinterred and identified. At the request of the family, he was re-interred close to their home. It has been decided that the Vietnam Unknown crypt will remain empty.
On April 6, 1948, the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry, known as "The Old Guard," began guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns. It is guarded around the clock each day of the year by volunteer Tomb Guard sentinels, who are considered to be the best of The Old Guard:
  • October 1 to March 31: The guard is changed every hour on the hour.
  • April 1 to September 30: The guard is changed twice per hour on the half-hour.
U.S. Civil War Unknowns: Dedicated September 1866

A monument near Arlington House marks the vault that contains remains of about 2111 unknown Confederate soldiers and Union troops. The remains were gathered from the battlefields of Bull Run and the route to the Rappahannock.

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