Posts tagged ‘Tomb of the Unknowns’

FRIDAY FOTO (January 14, 2022)

First Snow, Last Post.

(U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery)

Snow falls in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on January 3, 2022. This was the first snow of the year.

The holiday wreaths are placed on the graves during National Wreaths Across America Day in mid-December. During the annual event, nearly 38,000 volunteers place 257,000 wreaths at every gravesite, columbarium court column and niche wall column at Arlington National Cemetery

And yes, despite the cold and snow, the sentinels of “The Old Guard,” the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment maintained their solitary watch over America’s honored, unknown dead at Arlington.

 (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery)

January 13, 2022 at 11:55 pm 5 comments

SHAKO: Marine Corps Turns 246: Veterans Day 2021; National Veterans/Military Families Month; National Native American Heritage Month


November has long been a time of reflection for those in the U.S. military and those who care about them. November 10, marks the official birthday of the United States Marine Corps. November 11 is Veterans Day, the day Americans honor all of those who served in uniform. The Defense Department has declared November to be National Veterans and Military Families Month. November is also National Native American Heritage Month, and the Pentagon has honored the service of  American Indians and Alaska Natives who — from the Revolutionary War to present-day missions around the world — contribute greatly to national defense.

This post will focus of the two big days this week, and address National Veterans and Military Families Month, and National Native American Heritage Month next week.

UPDATES  with new photo and video

Success to the Marines.

Major Gen. Jason Q. Bohm, head of Marine Corps Recruiting Command, prepares to slice during the Cake Cutting Ceremony for the Marines’ 246th Birthday at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia on November 4, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Jennifer Sanchez)

Marines all around the globe celebrate November 10 as the birth of the Corps in 1775, when the 2nd Continental Congress authorized the formation of two battalions of Marines — more than seven months before the United States declared their independence.

Captain (later Major) Samuel Nichols — considered the Corps’ first commandant — advertised in and around Philadelphia for “a few good men” and signed them up at Tun Tavern in that city. Those early Marines first saw action in the Bahamas in a March 3, 1776 raid on New Providence Island, to capture naval supplies from the British.

New Providence Raid, March 1776. Oil painting on canvas by V. Zveg, 1973. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph)

As we have noted in the past, 4GWAR has a warm spot in its heart for the USMC, partly because this blog was also created in November — Nov. 12, 2009 — just two days after the Corps’ birthday.

The Marines take their birthday very seriously, especially since 1921, when then-Commandant Major General John LeJeune issued Marine Corps Order No. 47, Series 1921, summarizing the history, tradition and mission of the Marine Corps and directing that the order be read to every command on every subsequent Nov. 10, the Marine Corps Birthday.

Since 1952, the Marine Corps has maintained another tradition: the cake cutting ceremony. The 20th USMC commandant, Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr., formalized the ceremony, stating the first piece of cake must be presented to the oldest Marine present, who passes it to the youngest Marine.

General Lejeune’s Order No. 47,is read to the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Information Group during cake cutting ceremonies on November 5, 2021 at Camp Lejeune North Carolina.

Here is a link to a 13-minute 2020 video of the Marines’ 245th birthday celebration in Washington, featuring General David Berger, the commandant of the Marine Corps and a 100-year-old retired colonel, who received the traditional first piece.

Veterans Day 2021.

November 11, 2011 is Veterans Day, a federal holiday in the United States. It was first proclaimed by then-President Woodrow Wilson in 1919 as Armistice Day, marking the end of the First World War on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. Back then they thought it was the “War to End all Wars.” Nov. 11 has since become a day honoring all veterans of all wars as well as vets of peacetime service.

A few years after the First World War, the United States buried an unknown soldier killed on the battlefields of France in a new tomb, a monument to all the slain, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day there is always a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown (the original soldier has been joined by fellow nameless warriors from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Visitors participate in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration Flower Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 9, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser/ Arlington National Cemetery)

For the first time in nearly a century, visitors were allowed to walk on the plaza and lay flowers in front of the tomb as part of a two-day centennial event. While ceremonies are held at the tomb almost every day, this particular commemoration was mandated in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, NPR reported. It recognized the internment of the World War I Unknown Soldier and the dedication of the tomb exactly one hundred years ago, on November 11, 1921.

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SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

November 10, 2021 at 11:58 pm 1 comment

SHAKO: Veterans Day 2019

A Terrible Beauty.

In late May — on Memorial Day — America remembers the honored dead, those who gave their lives in this country’s wars since 1775.

But on Veterans Day every November, Americans honor the living who served or continue to serve in uniform. November 11 is the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I – the “War to End All Wars” in 1918. Unfortunately, history has proven that was an overly optimistic term for what turned out to be the First World War.

Veterans Day 2019 Arlington Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 3, 2019 (4GWAR photo copyright John M. Doyle)

A few years after that conflict, the United States buried an unknown soldier killed on the battlefields of France in a new tomb, a monument to all the slain, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day there is always a solemn ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown (the original soldier has been joined by fellow nameless warriors from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

On Sunday November  3, your 4GWAR editor joined more than 50 fellow Norwich University alumni at a much smaller ceremony in Arlington, to locate the graves of Norwich grads buried in the National Cemetery. We had the privilege of joining a small group of Norwich vets, including two serving Army officers, to do the honors among the fields of white headstones.

Veterans Day 2019 Arlington with Norwich

Norwich University alumni search the rows of gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery. (4GWAR photo copyright John M. Doyle)

Once a grave on our list was located, a small American flag and the Maroon and Gold flag of Norwich, a 200-year-old Vermont military academy, were planted in front of the headstone and a Norwich commemorative coin was placed atop it. The Army officers, a lieutenant colonel and a brigadier general saluted the fallen. Then we retrieved flags and coin and moved on to the next grave site.

Veterans Day 2019 Arlington with Norwich2

Honoring Norwich’s dead at Arlington. (4GWAR photo copyright by John M. Doyle)

Our task accomplished, we headed to the Tomb of the Unknown for a Norwich Maroon and Gold wreath laying ceremony at the tomb in the waning afternoon sunlight.

Veterans Day 2019 Honor Guard Tomb Norwich wreath

Third Infantry Regiment honor guard passes the Norwich wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown (4GWAR Photo copyright John M. Doyle)





November 11, 2019 at 11:59 pm 2 comments


January 2023


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