What is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier all about?
You're listening to the how in the world podcast we unravel some of the planet's most perplexing questions about ten minutes. Nope we're not scientists or scholars. We're just normal. People like to figure things out. Sometimes inspiring sometimes informative. Our topics are always fascinating hosted by me mark johnson and my lovely wife me holly johnson. We do the research. So you don't have to veterans day. Twenty twenty was last week and we were watching the ceremony on tv where. The president laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier. And i had so many so boom. That's how ideas for episodes are born in fact we've had a bunch of ideas recently. I'm not sure what that means. Maybe we've been watching too much. Tv or something. Well have been a lot of events and things going on and questions. Raise like veterans day and christmas. Coming in the spacex mission to the international space station and like our seventh grader pete. Yeah he's just a few good questions lately. And i've got all them in my notes so we'll get to them but before we get to today's episode. I have to mention my favorite veteran dad. Although he passed away ten years ago. I think of every day. He was my hero the very best dad ever in the world. No offence sweetie men take. He was a great guy he was. He had a really interesting time. While in the army. Interesting about the only word. I could come up with their first as a model for army promotional posters literally a poster boy then as a member of general macarthur's honor guard where he hung out with the general and his wife watching movies every friday night. That was a very cush job. But then crap got real when he became a forward observer in the korean war. That's the guy who's part of a team of three who go ahead of the rest of the group in radio back until then where the enemy lines are and stuff. It's a very dangerous job. Maybe the most dangerous in the military at that time yes indeed but he came home then and he met my mom and they had me. Yea so thanks for indulging me a moment to recognize him. Okay let's get to it. I the basics. The tomb of the unknown soldier is in arlington national cemetery and strangely enough. I've never been there. I know the air and space museum. So well i could give tours. But we never went to arlington national. I'm i'm ashamed really. You're mad my school for never taking us there. I don't know but we we've got to do this on our own. We definitely will. The tomb actually contains and unknown soldier from world war. One who was buried ride underneath a memorial which is made of marble like everything in dc tomorrow and the city. It has six wreaths carved into the sides three on the opposite two sides that represent the six major campaigns of world war one on the third side. There are three. Greek figures carved these figures represent peace victory in valor and on the fourth side contains the inscription here rests in honored glory in american soldier known but to god. That's just beautiful. The memorial also referred to as tomb of the unknowns actually has no official name president. Warren g harding officiated the ceremony. That laid this first soldier to rest on veterans day november eleventh nineteen twenty one the tomb of the unknowns generally refers to four tombs world war one world war two korea and vietnam. Three other soldiers were interred in tombs. Right beside the memorial. Those unknown soldiers represent world war two korea and vietnam although the soldier representing the vietnam war was removed once. Dna analysis identified him and he was returned to his family in nineteen ninety eight. He'd only been there like four years or something. The vietnam tomb now intentionally remains empty and is a monument. Honoring all of america's missing servicemen and. Women that's awesome. Yeah one of the questions. I've always had about the tomb of the unknowns. Is how they got the soldier so there's not just one unknown soldier in a war right. I mean. aren't there many. They're just one. And how did they choose this one who would be buried there and where are the rest so tell us about that. Honey yes. That's a great question that i've had to which means probably a lot of you have wondered about it as well for the first memorial. The the world war one memorial they uninsured four soldiers that had been buried in france. They put each in an identical casket and then a decorated wounded. Combat soldier made the choice from these four identical caskets at a city hall in france. He chose the third from the left. And signified is choice by laying white roses on top of that casket. That's the soldier who is in the tomb in dc. The other three were reinterred in france. That's the process that's been used to select the unknown for each tomb and yes there are plenty of unknowns. Buried all over the world.