Memorial Day

Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers

Tomb of the Unknown, Rome, Italy

Tombs of Unknown Soldiers are exist around the world. Tombs of the Unknown refers to  graves in which the unidentifiable remains of a soldier are interred. Such tombs can be found in many nations and are usually high-profile national monuments. Throughout history, many soldiers have died in wars without their remains being identified. Following the First World War, a movement arose to commemorate these soldiers with a single tomb, containing the body of one such unidentified soldier.

The idea was first conceived by Walt Whitman during his first hand experience in the Civil War, where he reflects in Specimen Days on "the Bravest Soldier crumbles in mother earth, unburied and unknown." In 1916 by Reverend David Railton, who, while serving in the British Army as a chaplain on the Western Front, had seen a grave marked by a rough cross, which bore the pencil-written legend 'An Unknown British Soldier'. He proposed that a similar grave should exist in Britain as a national monument. The idea received the support of the Dean of Westminster and later from King George V, responding to a wave of public support. At the same time, there was a similar undertaking in France, where the idea was debated and agreed upon in Parliament.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada

The United Kingdom and France unveiled their monuments on Armistice Day, 1920. In Britain, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was created at Westminster Abbey, while in France La tombe du soldat inconnu was placed in the Arc de Triomphe.

The idea of a symbolic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier spread rapidly to other countries. In 1921, the following year, such tombs were unveiled in the United States, Portugal and Italy. Since then, many other nations have followed the practice and installed their own tombs.

In the United States, further tombs have subsequently been created in order to represent different wars seen as key in its history. In Ukraine, a second tomb was unveiled to commemorate The Unknown Sailor. The United States Army has 9 unknown Medal of Honor recipients. The tombs typically contain the remains of a dead soldier who is unidentified (or "known but to God" as the stone is sometimes inscribed) and thought to be impossible ever to identify, so that he might serve as a symbol for all of the unknown dead wherever they fell.

 

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_the_Unknown_Soldier

 

 

 

Unknown Soldier Identified

On Memorial Day (which honors U.S. service people who died in action) in 1958, two more unidentified American war dead, one from World War II and the other from the Korean War, were buried next the unknown soldier of World War I. 

A law was passed in 1973 providing interment of an unknown American from the Vietnam War, but because of the improved technology to identify the dead, it was not until 1984 that an unidentified soldier was buried in the tomb.

In 1998, however, the Vietnam soldier was identified through DNA tests as Michael Blassie, a 24-year-old Air Force pilot who was shot down in May of 1972 near the Cambodian border. His body was disinterred and reburied by his family in St. Louis, Missouri.

 

 

Memorial Day Quotes

The cost of liberty is less than the cost of repression. – W.E.B.Dubois.

 

On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation. – Thomas William Parsons

 

And I am proud to be American, where at least I know I am free, and I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me and I’ll proudly stand next to him to defend her still today, ‘cuz there ain’t no doubt that I love this land, god bless the USA.- Lee Greenwood

 

Although, no sculptured marble should rise to their memory, nor engraved stone bear record of their deeds, yet will their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored.-Daniel Webster

 

Freedom of speech and freedom of action are meaningless without freedom to think. And there is no freedom of thought without doubt. – Bergen Evans

 

War is too serious a matter to entrust to military men. – Georges Clemenceau

 

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty.- John F. Kennedy.

On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!  ~Thomas William Parsons




With the tears a Land hath shed
Their graves should ever be green.
~Thomas Bailey Aldrich


Are they dead that yet speak louder than we can speak, and a more universal language?  Are they dead that yet act?  Are they dead that yet move upon society and inspire the people with nobler motives and more heroic patriotism?  ~Henry Ward Beecher


Green sods are all their monuments; and yet it tells
A nobler history than pillared piles,
Or the eternal pyramids.
~James Gates Percival


Is't death to fall for Freedom's right?
He's dead alone who lacks her light!
~Thomas Campbell


For love of country they accepted death...  ~James A. Garfield


They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.
~Francis Marion Crawford


Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.  ~From a headstone in Ireland


Blow out, you bugles, over the rich Dead!
There's none of these so lonely and poor of old,
But, dying, has made us rarer gifts than gold.
~Rupert Brooke


The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men.
~Minot J. Savage


The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.  ~Benjamin Disraeli


And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.
~Lee Greenwood




They are dead; but they live in each Patriot's breast,
And their names are engraven on honor's bright crest.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Peace to each manly soul that sleepeth;
Rest to each faithful eye that weepeth...
~Thomas Moore


But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for,
Is their monument to-day, and for aye.
~Thomas Dunn English


And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.  ~Joseph Drake


Perform, then, this one act of remembrance before this Day passes - Remember there is an army of defense and advance that never dies and never surrenders, but is increasingly recruited from the eternal sources of the American spirit and from the generations of American youth.  ~W.J. Cameron


How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
There Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay;
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell, a weeping hermit, there.
~William Collins


The patriot's blood is the seed of Freedom's tree.  ~Thomas Campbell


Decoration Day is the most beautiful of our national holidays.... The grim cannon have turned into palm branches, and the shell and shrapnel into peach blossoms.  ~Thomas Bailey Aldrich


Better than honor and glory, and History's iron pen,
Was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow-men.
~Richard Watson Gilder


We who are left how shall we look again
Happily on the sun or feel the rain
Without remembering how they who went
Ungrudgingly and spent
Their lives for us loved, too, the sun and rain?
~Wilfred Wilson Gibson


A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.  ~Joseph Campbell


Who kept the faith and fought the fight;
The glory theirs, the duty ours.
~Wallace Bruce


I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day.  I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it.  We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did.  ~Benjamin Harrison


Cover them over with beautiful flowers,
Deck them with garlands, those brothers of ours,
Lying so silent by night and by day
Sleeping the years of their manhood away.
Give them the meed they have won in the past;
Give them the honors their future forcast;
Give them the chaplets they won in the strife;
Give them the laurels they lost with their life.
~Will Carleton


Life hangs as nothing in the scale against dear Liberty!  ~Lucy Larcom


All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.
~Rudyard Kipling, The Old Issue, 1899


Our battle-fields, safe in the keeping
Of Nature's kind, fostering care,
Are blooming, - our heroes are sleeping, -
And peace broods perennial there.
~John H. Jewett


These heroes are dead.  They died for liberty - they died for us.  They are at rest.  They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the tearful willows, and the embracing vines.  They sleep beneath the shadows of the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or of storm, each in the windowless Place of Rest.  Earth may run red with other wars - they are at peace.  In the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of death.  I have one sentiment for soldiers living and dead:  cheers for the living; tears for the dead.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll


Their silent wounds have speech
More eloquent than men;
Their tones can deeper reach
Than human voice or pen.
~William Woodman




Their own souls rose and cried
Alarum when they heard the sudden wail
Of stricken freedom and along the gale
Saw her eternal banner quivering wide.
~John LeGay Brereton


The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem.  ~Aaron Kilbourn


Our cheer goes back to them, the valiant dead!
Laurels and roses on their graves to-day,
Lilies and laurels over them we lay,
And violets o'er each unforgotten head.
~Richard Hovey


But fame is theirs - and future days
On pillar'd brass shall tell their praise;
Shall tell - when cold neglect is dead -
"These for their country fought and bled."
~Philip Freneau


Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic.  ~John A. Logan


Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The story of America's quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots.  ~Randy Vader




Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson


Alas, how can we help but mourn
When hero bosoms yield their breath!
A century itself may bear
But once the flower of such a death.
~S. Weir Mitchell


They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation.  ~Henry Ward Beecher


These martyrs of patriotism gave their lives for an idea.  ~Schuyler Colfax


They saw their injured country's woe;
The flaming town, the wasted field;
Then rushed to meet the insulting foe;
They took the spear, - but left the shield.
~Philip Freneau


For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.  ~William Penn


Ah! never shall the land forget
How gushed the life-blood of her brave -
~William Cullen Bryant


"Dead upon the field of glory,"
Hero fit for song and story.
~John Randolph Thompason


Knights of the spirit; warriors in the cause
Of justice absolute 'twixt man and man.
~Richard Watson Gilder




Fold him in his country's stars.
Roll the drum and fire the volley!
What to him are all our wars,
What but death bemocking folly?
~George Henry Boker


The Flag still floats unblotted with defeat!
But ah the blood that keeps its ripples red,
The starry lives that keep its field alight.
~Rupert Hughes


The hero dead cannot expire:
The dead still play their part.
~Charles Sangster


We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.  ~Francis A. Walker




How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!  ~Maya Angelou

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