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Pics/Videos: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier open to the public for first time in history

Soldiers assigned to the 3rd Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery, Va. (National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph Rivera Rebolledo)
November 10, 2021

For the first time in its 100-year history, the public was allowed on Tuesday and Wednesday to approach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to pay their respects.

Last month, Arlington National Cemetery announced the public would be allowed to approach the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on November 9 and 10, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the monument’s dedication on November 11, 1921.

“WATCH: Members of the public were able to walk on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza and lay flowers for the first time in nearly 100 years on Tuesday. The plaza at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is open to visitors during a two-day event,” Local News 8 tweeted.

Boston 25 News shared photos of members of the public laying flowers at the tomb. Arlington National Cemetery encouraged members of the public to bring their own flowers, while noting complimentary roses, gerbera daisies and sunflowers would also be available.

“For the first time in nearly 100 years, the public is able to walk on the Plaza at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to pay respects,” Boston 25 News tweeted.

WAMU 88.5 and DCist reporter Rachel Kurzius tweeted on Tuesday, “Here at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, which is commemorating its centennial. Members of the public are waiting 45 mins or more to lay down flowers.”

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was opened as part of an organized two-day event. The event began on November 9 with representatives from the Crow Nation placing flowers at the tomb and reciting the same prayer American-Indian Chief Plenty Coups gave 100 years earlier at the tomb’s dedication ceremony.

“Members of the Crow Nation American Indian tribe gather during a 100th anniversary commemoration event at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, Tuesday, November 9. (AFP/VOA),” WBC News tweeted.

Indian Country managing editor Jourdan Bennett-Begaye tweeted footage of a Crow Nation representative performing a smudging ritual along with photos of Crown Nation representatives approaching the tomb.

7News DC tweeted a photo of Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) approaching the tomb with his family. Cotton served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, as well as the 3rd Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard.” The 3rd Infantry Regiment has stood constant guard over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 1948.

“@SenTomCotton, who served in the @USArmyOldGuard, paid respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier today,” 7News DC tweeted. “The public has the opportunity to lay a flower at the tomb today and tomorrow for the first time in nearly 100 years.”

The two-day opening to the public was expected to end at 4 p.m. on Wednesday with the original closing prayer offered by Army Chief of Chaplains, Maj. Gen. Thomas L. Solhjem 100 years ago.