The Centennial Committee acts as the point of contact for Society matters related to the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and will develop resources, coordinate and implement new Society educational campaigns, programs, and media releases associated with the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Go to https://tombguard.org/home/centennial for more information.
100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Agenda
There is a group of people who are preparing for the Centennial of the TUS. That informal group has now become a Corporation. It is called “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Foundation”. We will soon seek 501©(3) status with the IRS. In the meantime the Corporation and the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are developing initiatives that will support the American people as they deliberate upon and celebrate the 100 YEAR Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery. My purpose in writing you is to seek your advice and counsel as we develop one of our educational initiatives intended to reach those people, especially school children, who will visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and participate in a ceremony. e.g., wreath laying. This could be, and we hope will be, extended to other groups, such as scouting organizations, police and fire departments, patriotic organizations, etc.
Here is what this is about. We are developing a “tool box” that will be presented to every school, patriotic organization or public service group that lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This box will contain items that are intended to assist educators prepare their students for their visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We know from direct observation, follow up letters and personal interviews, that TUS visitors experience something profoundly moving and sometimes life altering. That experience has been described as fostering a unifying American identity that transcends our differences of race, religion, political outlook or gender. Our “tool box” is intended to assist these students and groups in preparing for their visit and then remembering those moments and to share their experience with their classmates and others back home and their respective communities. We believe this initiative will answer the visitor’s desire to connect with those people and those principles that foster understanding of service, sacrifice and pride in America and being an American. It can strengthen that “electric cord” that connects us all to every patriot’s grave; to those that serve our Country now and those who will in the future. We fully intend that this initiative would provide the kind of knowledge, skills and abilities that would facilitate interaction with veterans’ hospitals or organizations. Here are some of the items that I have identified and some supporting rationale:
1. The American Flag suitable to be flown over their school or organization.
2. Suitable literature to educate about the American Flag; what it means and how to properly display and care for it.
3. A bugle with appropriate instruction and other information that will facilitate learning to play Taps. Nothing evokes the experience of Arlington more than Taps. Once heard, it is never forgotten. We hope that a member of the school band would take this up and provide the playing of Taps at appropriate functions, thereby stimulating interaction with veterans and appropriate agencies. Also they could even be available to play Taps at appropriate ceremonies, including burials. This would stimulate interaction between the youngest of our citizenry and those who have secured our Country’s freedoms.
4. Founding documents: The Declaration of Independence; The Constitution of the United States of America.
5. DVD/Video, such as Voices from the Tomb; the Discovery Channel’s video on American Icons: Arlington National Cemetery; The U.S. Army’s productions such as Never Falter and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution; (there are others, and I seek other suggestions.).
6. Appropriate Literature such as: General Douglas MacArthur’s Address to the Graduating Class at West Point; Pres. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and his remarks of 1858 on the Fourth of July; A copy of “WE The People”; George Washington’s Letter to the (Rhode Island Synagogue); Joshua Chamberlin’s remarks at reunion of the 16th Maine, Gettysburg, Pa.
7. From the American Battle Monuments Commission: American Armies and Battlefield In Europe, A History, Guide and Reference Book.
8. Brilliant work is now underway at Arlington National Cemetery as they prepare for the Centennial of WWI. The collaboration of ANC and the American Battle Monuments Commission has already produced a treasure of information. We look forward to their presentation and hope that we will be able to benefit from their expertise.
9. We could prepare a collection of photographs that capture the history of the TUS, and also convey the higher meaning of the TUS. We believe that the narrative that we would like to make available will be advanced by telling it through the lens of a camera. I say this because, I find myself saying in meetings that to understand what we are trying to describe one must see the faces of the visitors. Indeed, Neale Cosby and I never fail to take our guests to the place just behind the inspection point to better view the faces of the visitors. I see this narrative in the form of a book, the size determined by what the pictures require to best convey the information. Among other things this collection must tell the story of our diversity and inclusion. E.g. the pictures of Chief Plenty Coups at the burial site and his eloquent comments; the pictures of our soldiers that represent America’s diverse ancestry – the code talkers of the Southwest, or those of African, Japanese, Chinese, or Spanish descent, etc.
10. Our story must also be told through music and poetry. There is substantial precedent for this throughout our Country’s history.
11. Also we will supply the Sentinels Creed.
12. We need to identify effective tools and techniques to communicate that the TUS is inextricably part of America’s past, present and future. It is not about war, but rather America’s unshakeable commitment to the belief that “All Men Are Created Equal”, and that from the time that its citizenry took up arms to secure its beliefs and notions about the dignity of man, through today and in the future, Americans pledge their lives, their property and their sacred honor. It is the American people’s place to mourn and to also celebrate that we have such men and women who rise to defend America.
13. Develop a comprehensive list of websites and other public media to facilitate further research or following up on specific topics.