Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – did you know?

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We give honor to “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” located in Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia that serves as a resting place for unidentified U.S. soldiers who died in combat. Since World War I, unidentified remains from major wars have been symbolically buried there. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made in war by countless soldiers. The tomb allows people to pay respects to soldiers throughout history. Below is the meticulous routine that the guards follow while watching over the graves. Did you know?

  • The guard walks 21 steps across the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • The 21 steps are symbolic of the 21-gun salute which is the highest honor given to any military or foreign dignitary
  • The guard waits 21 seconds after his about face to begin his return walk
  • The guard carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the Tomb
  • After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder
  • The guard repeats the routine until the soldier is relieved of duty at the Changing of the Guard
  • The Guard is changed every thirty minutes during the summer (April 1 to Sep 30) and every hour during the winter (Oct 1 to Mar 31
  • The soldiers usually commit two years of life to guard the Tomb and may live in barracks under the Tomb
  • After nine months of service, the guard is given a Tomb Guard Identification Badge (TGIB) that is worn on the right pocket of the uniform jacket signifying their service as a guard of the Tomb
  • The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • There has been a Sentinel on duty in front of the Tomb every minute of every day since 1937

Homeschoolers: Sketch/color an illustration. Theme: sacrifice. Read the story called “The Happy Prince” in Learning to Read: Fairy Tale Adventures. Describe how the prince sacrificed for his people.  Explain the significance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and what it means to you.

About Martha Quinn

Book author, licensed teacher, master's degree (Reading K-12, Social Studies 7-12). Former homeschooler. Happily married Christian with two terrific children. Loves animals, swimming, music, fishing, gardening, cooking, traveling, exciting movies, good books, and the great outdoors.

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