Tomb of the Unknowns Opens to Public for the First Time

The Arlington National Cemetery opened its Tomb of the Unknowns to the public for flowers and procession for the first time, as it marked its centennial. The event takes place between Tuesday and Wednesday, November 9-10 from 9 AM to 4 PM. Those of the public must register to attend the event, to commemorate the establishment of the tomb 100 years ago.

The procession proceeded quietly, most leaving flowers in front of the tombs. They were generally told to keep the line moving.

The memorial was established to honor those perished in World War I, one of the most unprecedented and devastating wars. For example, at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, more than 19,000 British soldiers were killed in a single day, within the first 30 minutes for most of the deaths.

In 1921, folks lined up to watch horse-drawn casket carry remains of an unknown American soldier through the city, over the Potomac, and into the cemetery.

The procession continues Wednesday. Participants are asked to register at Eventbrite and must have government-issued identification. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own flowers but complimentary flowers will be available.

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