This is the first time in 96 years that visitors have been allowed to approach the tomb, according to Karen Durham-Aguilera, executive director of Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery.
The rare chance for the public to get close to the unknown soldier’s grave falls on its hundredth anniversary celebration.
“The next two days will truly be a historic and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she said Tuesday morning, kicking off the start of the tomb’s two-day flower ceremony.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been a last resting place for three unknown U.S. service members, beginning in 1921, but has also served as a symbolic tomb for unidentified or unidentified U.S. soldering.
“When you lay your flower, we at Arlington encourage you to reflect on the significance of the grave. By the simple act of laying a flower, you honor not only the three strangers buried here, but all strangers or missing Americans. service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our nation, “said Tim Frank, Arlington National Cemetery’s historian, during Tuesday’s opening ceremony.
Tuesday’s start of the flower ceremony also included a smear ceremony and a prayer led by the Crow Nation.
Tuesday morning, a crowd of people and families lined up to place a flower at the grave.
The public will be able to lay a flower at the tomb of the unknown soldier between 6 p.m. 9 and 16 ET Tuesday and Wednesday. Arlington National Cemetery said on its website that it “expects to hold another event in our lifetime where the public will be able to approach the grave in this way.”
Visitors to Arlington National Cemetery must present a publicly issued ID to enter.
There will be an invitation-only wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier at the country’s celebration of Veterans Day on Thursday, which President Joe Biden plans to attend.
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