Skip to comments."Known but to God"
Posted on 10/24/2008 10:25:43 AM PDT by thinkingIsPresuppositional
On this day in 1921, Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a U.S. Army veteran, decorated war hero, and recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, entered a hall in Chalons-sur-Marne, France carrying a spray of white roses. Before him were four identical caskets, each draped with an American flag and each cradling the body of a World War I American soldier. Younger circled the caskets three times and then placed the white roses on the third casket from the left.
The selected casket was brought aboard the USS Olympia, which carried it across the ocean to the United States, where the soldier within lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda until November 11, when he became the first Unknown Soldier buried in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.
An informal letter written November 13, 1921 by 23-year-old U.S. Health Service employee Miriam “Mimi” Felt to her family provides a glimpse into America’s response to her fallen solder:
Thursday night after work, Gertie and I went up to the Capitol to see the body in state there. We went up about six o’clock, thinking the crowd would not be so large. But at that time the line (four abreast) extended over two blocks, and by the time we had reached the Capitol steps and could look back at the crowd, it extended up one side of the park, down another side, then the third side of it and on beyond around the Capitol building where we could see no farther, so I don’t know how much longer it was.
Indeed, America recognized a hero was in her midst.
On November 11, 1921, President Harding presided over the interment ceremonies at Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater, and today, the Tomb of the Unknowns, which marks the final resting place of three unknown servicemen – one each from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War – is one of the most visited sites in Arlington National Cemetery.
Throughout our nation’s history, countless brave Americans have sacrificed all for the cause of freedom. In Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas, and on the high seas, husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, sons and daughters, have given their last full measure of devotion. Many are remembered by name. Many are not.
Eighty-seven years ago today, America officially selected her first Unknown Soldier, and today the three soldiers in Arlington represent the thousands of unknown American soldiers resting in cemeteries around the world.
It is right that we honor the three in Arlington, and in doing so, it is vital that we remember the rest – those heroic souls known but to God.
Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of the Unknowns
Gina L. Diorio is a full-time freelance writer. Please visit her website at www.LibertyWritingSolutions.com.
Touching.. To such as there we owe homage.
The Unknowns are a symbol of all the sacrifices made for our freedom. Not only theirs, but that of all our warriors. When their country called, they answered. Then they heard the sound of gunfire, they rode towards it.
Without their sacrifice and that of millions of others, we would have no freedom to take as lightly as we do.
I somehow doubt you really take our freedom as lightly as you mention. I've read the recent posts on your blog.
You can add another to the millions who have sacrificed.
SSG Kenneth Mayne was killed in action in Iraq on September 4th of this year. He was back for his second tour, and told him mom before he left that he wouldn't be coming back, but that it was worth it, to fight for our people, and the Iraqi people. At least we got him back, and his family know what happened to him, and how he felt about it.
WRM, MSgt, USAF(Ret.)
I once worked for the company the identified by use of mitochondrial DNA the unknown soldier from Vietnam as USAF 1st Lt. Michael J. Blassie.
I have also been to the tomb of the unknown to pay my respect to my fallen brothers in arms (USAF vet).
If you ever get the chance to go, do so.
Two places every American should visit:
The Tomb of the Unknowns
Its really what Freedom, Patriotism and Sacrifice is all about.
I was ‘vaklempt’... talk amongst yourselves....
The unknown soldier from Vietnam is neither unknown or a soldier. discuss.
Yes, Gettysburg is really worth visiting as well. Myself I like Manassas Battlefield, my brother and I used to take our golden retriever out there every weekend come rain shine sleet or snow.
Manassas is great too - more like what it looked like before the battle.
Gettysburg has been commercialized a bit.
But ALL the cemetaries in the town - the rows and rows of graves with only the name of a state, or of units and no names of individual soldiers, as well as those with individual soldier’s names, makes it one of the most haunting and moving places I have ever seen. Its almost heart-breaking, even a century and a half later.