Saturday, November 11, 2023

1921 at Tomb of The Unknown Soldier - Veterans Day

Tomb of The Unknown Soldier

The White House Historical Association tells us that November 11 is Veterans Day, & on this day in 1921 President Warren G. Harding presided over the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. 

The process of selecting the World War I Unknown had begun earlier that fall in France. Once the casket was randomly chosen, it was then transported to Washington, D.C. aboard the USS Olympia. 

Arriving in the nation’s capital on November 9, the World War I Unknown was brought to the Capitol Rotunda. Some 90,000 people filed past the bier to pay their respects to this fallen soldier. 

On Armistice Day (November 11), an honor guard of service members from the Army, Navy, & Marine Corps escorted the casket from the Capitol to Arlington Cemetery, while a procession followed including President Harding, Vice President Calvin Coolidge, Medal of Honor recipients & other prominent military officers & veterans. 

At the Arlington ceremonies, President Harding said, "Standing today on hallowed ground, conscious that all America has halted to share in the tribute of heart, & mind, & soul to this fellow American … it is fitting to say that his sacrifice, & that of the millions dead, shall not be in vain." 

As the ceremony drew to a close, President Harding pinned the Medal of Honor & the Distinguished Service Cross to the casket of the Unknown.