The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is one of the most heavily guarded sites in the whole world. Well-trained sentinels of the 3rd Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, watch the tomb 24/7 regardless of the weather: whether it is raining or even during hurricanes, and they take their job seriously.

Unknown Soldiers of War

On November 11, 1921, an unknown soldier was brought back from France after World War I. During that time, there were not enough technological advances yet, like dental records or DNA testing, to help the government identify this soldier and the other thousand unidentified ones. And so, the US government approved the construction of a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery as a final resting place for the unidentified soldiers that were brought back in the US. The unknown soldier from France was the first to be buried below that three-level marble tomb. At first, it was a stone slab that covered the rectangular opening. However, it was changed to Yule marble in 1931. There had been four bodies in the tomb, each from World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnamese War. However, the latter was identified in 1998 as Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie. His remains were sent home to his family in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was reinterred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. At the west panel of the tomb was an inscription:






Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery. Brittany HoganCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tomb Guards

It is said that the badge of the sentinels guarding the tomb was one of the hardest to acquire, and serving as a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns is considered one of the highest honors. As of 2020, there were only 688 of these badges issued, 23 of which were revoked, and 7 were “administrative errors.”