The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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Kenneth W. Hagin


Sometimes we take our freedom in the natural and our freedom in the spiritual for granted.

The Tomb of the Unknowns in the Arlington National Cemetery represents the men and women who lost their lives on the battlefields of war. These soldiers gave the ultimate sacrifice so others can experience freedom. And since 1937, a sentinel has guarded The Tomb of the Unknowns 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

In Jerusalem, an empty tomb stands unguarded. This tomb represents something greater than our natural freedom. It represents the freedom Jesus Christ won for all mankind through His death on the Cross of Calvary.

As we remember the brave men and women who gave their lives so we might live in freedom, let’s also remember the freedom we have in Christ. And let’s walk in our complete freedom, both spiritually and naturally.

Below are some interesting facts about the Tomb of the Unknowns.*

  • Arlington National Cemetery opened as a military cemetery on June 15, 1864.
  • The interment of the World War I Unknown Soldier happened on November 11, 1921.
  • The first 24-hour guard was posted on July 2, 1937.
  • The double interment of the World War II and Korean War Unknown Soldiers occurred on May 30, 1958.
  • The interment of the Vietnam Unknown Soldier took place on May 28, 1984.
  • On May 14, 1998, the Vietnam Unknown Soldier was disinterred. (The remains were positively identified by DNA to be 1LT Michael J. Blassie, US Air Force.)
  • The Vietnam Unknown Crypt Cover was re-dedicated on September 17, 1999.
  • The United States Army has been the only military service to guard the Unknown Soldiers.
  • The 3d US Infantry (The Old Guard) assumed the sole responsibility of guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on April 6, 1948.
  • The Tomb Guard takes 21 steps, stops on the 21st step, then turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds.
  • He then turns to face back down the mat, changes his weapon to the outside shoulder, counts 21 seconds, then steps off for another 21 step walk down the mat. These steps are repeated over and over until the Sentinel is relieved at Guard Change.
  • The 21 steps allude to the twenty-one gun salute, which is the highest honor given to any military or foreign dignitary.

*Information is taken from www.tombguard.org.

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