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Old November 10th, 2012, 04:08 PM   #1

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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


A little posting about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

In 1921 four unknown US servicemen who had died in battle during WWI, were exhumed from four different American cemeteries,
Aisne-Marne, Meuse-Argonne, Somme and St. Mihiel, in France. U.S. Army Sergeant, and Distinguished Service Cross recipient, Edward F.Younger (1898-1942)
was chosen for the honor of selecting the body. Four caskets were brought to city hall in Châlons-en-Champagne, France and Mr. Younger placed a spray of white roses on the third casket
from the left and the casket was taken with full military honors to a pier in Le Havre where Admiral George Dewey's flagship, the cruiser Olympia, was waiting.
As she left the harbor, she was given a seventeen gun salute by a French destroyer.
Click the image to open in full size.
Upon reaching America, the casket was taken to the US Capitol's rotunda
where it lay in state, viewed by thousands. At 8.30a 11 November 1921, the casket was removed from the rotunda and transferred under military escort
to the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery. President Warren G. Harding officiated at the interment ceremonies where he
bestowed to the Unknown Soldier, the Distinguished Service Cross and the
Congressional Medal of Honor. Other representatives from foreign nations
then in turn each conferred upon the Unknown Soldier, the highest military decoration of their nation. The ceremony was ended with
three salvos of artillery and the sounding of taps. The tomb today holds the remains of
service members from WWII, Korea and Vietnam. The only inscription on
the Tomb reads, "Here Rests In Honored Glory An American Soldier Known But To God"
Click the image to open in full size.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 06:15 PM   #2

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Wow great post thanks. God bless our troops
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Old November 11th, 2012, 07:49 AM   #3

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Great post!

Airforce 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, the unknown soldier from Vietnam, was identified through DNA research in 1998 and his remains were removed to the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. Blassie was shot down over An Loc, South Vietnam in 1972; the Vietnam crypt remains vacant.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 11:52 AM   #4

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Thanks guys and you're right Joe about the Vietnam DNA findings.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 12:06 PM   #5

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Nice post, TJ. Thank you.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 12:36 PM   #6

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Nice, do you mind if I add a little? I was reading about this just the other day...

The original idea of having a tomb for The Unknown Soldier came from British Army Chaplain David Railton who served on the Western Front during WW1 and first thought of the idea in about 1916. A great many dead from all countries were never identified or even found on the battlefields of WW1 - up to 50% according to John Keegan.

Railton's early suggestions were ignored, but after he wrote to Bishop Ryle, Dean of Westminster in 1920, the idea was taken up by Lloyd George and quickly became very popular, and such tombs now exist in a great many countries around the world.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 12:39 PM   #7

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Please do S_,, please do.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 01:16 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjadams View Post
Please do S_,, please do.
I guess it's a little insincere to ask "Do you mind if ..." and then go ahead and do it anyway before you have a chance to respond sorry :-)

I didn't know about the Unknown Soldier from Vietnam, and I'm curious now ... has the Vietnam crypt remained empty out of respect for Lt. Blassie, or is there some other reason? I can't imagine that there aren't other unidentified remains from Americans who died there.
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Old November 11th, 2012, 08:03 PM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sicknero View Post
I guess it's a little insincere to ask "Do you mind if ..." and then go ahead and do it anyway before you have a chance to respond sorry :-)

I didn't know about the Unknown Soldier from Vietnam, and I'm curious now ... has the Vietnam crypt remained empty out of respect for Lt. Blassie, or is there some other reason? I can't imagine that there aren't other unidentified remains from Americans who died there.
The belief is that with DNA, there it is very likely that any discovered "unknown" remains could be identified using the process. The inscription was changed from "Vietnam" to something along the lines of remembering all of America's missing soldiers. DNA has been used to identify or confirm remains of veterans from earlier wars, so I'm not entirely sure why they never placed other remains in the crypt.

There are forensic anthropologists who believe that there are still thousands of unidentified remains from past wars that could be identified through DNA testing; supposedly over 20,000 from WWII. As a historian, I am interested in these types of discoveries and closure to the soldier's story. I can only imagine family members who have lost loved ones, even in the literal sense of those who went missing. However, there is something about the Tomb of the Unknown that adds a degree of honor and understanding about sacrifice. It's an amazing testament to one's love of country and the guards add so much more.

I did some reading on the changing of the guard, how the ceremony came to be and its evolution over the years. The number of soldiers who have worn the badge of the guard over the length of its existance is somewhere around 600, which is very small compared to the number of men who have served in the military. The badge is one of the rarest awarded.

I should add that a few women have served as guards at the Tomb of the Unknown.
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Old November 12th, 2012, 08:59 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeGlidden View Post
DNA has been used to identify or confirm remains of veterans from earlier wars, so I'm not entirely sure why they never placed other remains in the crypt.
I kind of like the idea of keeping that particular crypt empty, if nothing else to symbolize the men and women whose remains were never able to be recovered.
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