Story and Photo By Scott Kent
During a recent winter afternoon, an honor guard passes in front of the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia. Also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, it is one of the most popular sites at the Cemetery and is the final resting place for unknown soldiers from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.
In 1864, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton officially designated Arlington Mansion and 200 surrounding acres as a United States military cemetery. Along with Mill Springs National Cemetery in Pulaski County, Kentucky, Arlington has the distinction of being the oldest military burial ground in the United States. Today, more than 300,000 people are buried at Arlington Cemetery.
The Tomb of the Unknowns has been perpetually guarded since July 2, 1937, by the United States Army. President Herbert Hoover conducted the first national Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on May 29, 1929. Many Mississippians are buried at Arlington, dating back to the Civil War, and including military casualties from every one of the nation’s wars.