Please check back often as we are continuously updating the information on this page.
Centennial News and Updates
January 2020 – USS Olympia Crew Stories from 1921
This year marks the 125th anniversary of for the USS Olympia which carried the World War I Unknown Soldier home from Le Havre, France in 1921 #Olympia125.
The Independence Seaport Museum and the USS Olympia Foundation are strong supporters of the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier #TUS100
As their research into the history surrounding the events of October-November 1921 develop, they have been able to get in contact with family members of crew who served aboard the USS Olympia, and now are sharing their stories.
Please visit the USS Olympia Foundation website to read the latest article:
December 2019 – Centennial Meetings in Washington DC Update
In December the Committee Chairman returned to Washington DC for meeting with congressional staff, military commands, allies, veteran organizations, and individuals who want to assist with the national commemoration plans. Some of these included sitting down with:
- Embassy of France
- Commandant, Naval District of Washington
- Ceremonies Director, Military District of Washington
- Congressional Staff of Senator Patrick Toomey (PA)
- Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Foundation
- Navy History and Heritage Command
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- Association of the United States Army
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Women in Military Service for America Memorial
- US Capitol Historical Society
- Veterans of Foreign Wars
- Gold Star Mothers
- 10 different Congressional Legislative Assistants on both sides of the isle
- United States Army Museum
- Legislative Assistant, Sergeant Major of the Army
- Navy League of the United States
- Assistant Deputy to the Secretary of Defense for Strategic Engagement
These meetings covered how each has a stake in the national commemoration, as well as areas where they could support TUS100 projects/efforts to meet the objectives of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 which directed the commemoration. As a result of these meetings many organizations have expressed their desire to formalize a partnership as we move forward to 2021 and create a coalition to find ways to assist the government with official programs.
We seek your help in planning and funding many of the programs and events under consideration. The SHGTUS is a 501.c.3 non-profit organization and your donations are tax deductible, and the Centennial Fund and Educational Scholarships are just a few areas that you can support. Please contact the SHGTUS President if you wish to donate or help with these national efforts.
November 01, 2019 – An Update from the Centennial Committees on Our Current Projects
Since 2013 we began the detailed planning for Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1921-2021), looking once again to find a means to include all Americans and bring communities together. It is important to remember that the TUS is not just about World War I, but it is about every individual who has ever served – or will ever serve—and America’s promise to them that they will never forget them.
The TUS fosters a unifying national identity that transcends our differences of politics, race or religion, and we have applied our best efforts to plan, develop and initiate a number of projects/activities suitable for this solemn occasion of national importance:
Centennial Week We are planning to present the culmination of our work during the Centennial Week in Washington DC from November 8-11, 2021. Each of our projects, along with displays and seminars, will be open to the public so they can get a deeper understanding of how important the TUS is to our nation, and why millions of Americans visit to remember the countrymen who have fought and died for our liberty and our freedom. The week will culminate with planned observances at the TUS on the 100th Anniversary of the burial of the World War I Unknown Soldier.
Centennial Coin (SHGTUS) We have developed an appropriate “challenge coin” commemorating the Centennial of the World War I Unknown Soldier burial in Arlington National Cemetery, which will be a fundraiser and is available at the Society website. All proceeds will help fund Centennial Week.
Centennial Coin (US Mint) The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemorative Coin Act was introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives in 2018. This coin, created by the United States Mint at no expense to the taxpayer, will support the World War I National Museum and Liberty Foundation, who will in turn help with funding for the Centennial of the World War I Unknown Soldier burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
Girl Scout Merit BadgeWe are developing a new Girl Scout of America (GSA) Proficiency Patch as part of our Centennial Committee’s recognition of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the 100th Anniversary of the World War I Unknown Soldiers burial in Arlington National Cemetery. The project outline and design are pending GSA approval to implement it across the United States.
Lapel Pin Created in 2016, the Centennial Lapel Pin is designed to commemorate the Centennial of the World War I Unknown Soldier burial in Arlington National Cemetery. This is another fundraiser currently for sale at the Society website, and all proceeds will help fund Centennial Week.
National Salute The National Salute occurs on November 11 at 11:00 AM. This was first conducted during the burial of the World War I Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery in 1921. Since this date numerous communities, churches, fire stations and civic and patriotic organizations have included the ringing of bells (21 times) and a moment of silence into their Veterans Day programs. In 2018-2019 we collaborated with the World War I Centennial Commission (WWICC) to increase public awareness and participation and beyond with the “Bells of Peace” program. Information on how you can pledge to support this is found at the WWICC website.
Centennial Presentation We have developed an easy to use PowerPoint presentation for SHGTUS members who are conducting community outreach presentations across the United States.
USPS Stamp In 2015 we submitted a proposal for the creation of a series of stamps by the United States Postal Service (USPS) commemorating the Centennial of the World War I Unknown Soldier burial in Arlington National Cemetery, and the impact the TUS has had on countless generations of Americans. The project is still under consideration by the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee and is supported by the National Rural Letter Carriers Association (NRLCA).
Tool Box We have developed an educational tool kit containing materials that will help Americans reunite with those who have served and sacrificed in times of war or armed conflict. This tool kit is intended to help children learn more about the Unknown Soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery and all those who have served and sacrificed. The kit informs the groups before they visit or lay a wreath in Arlington, and then upon returning to their schools and communities, to help them share their experiences in Arlington and at the TUS.
Foreign Military Medals We are working with various embassy military attaché’s of the respective foreign governments, including the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, that conferred upon the World War I Unknown Soldier their nation’s highest military honor for valor, in the hopes to brining the unique history behind these events to light in 2021.
French Brother Cities We have been reaching out to contact and build ties with the mayors of Le Harve and Challon-en-Champagne in France, in hopes of forming a lasting bond of friendship and mutual respect. The Society and the citizens of France are tied to the pages of history in a truly unique manner as our histories cross paths over the remains of an unidentified American Serviceman, who fell in defense of France during the Great War, who is buried in Arlington National Cemetery representing all our fallen in that noble undertaking.
Historical Aircraft We have been working with various Air Force historians, including the 437th Airlift Wing and cadets from the USAF Academy, as we research
the crew manifests and location/condition of the aircraft used to transport the Trans-Pacific Candidate and the Korean War Unknown Soldier (1958), and the Vietnam Unknown Soldier (1984) in the hopes to bring the unique histories of these events to light in 2021.
Historical Ships We are working with the Naval Historical and Heritage Command and midshipmen at the US Naval Academy to research and preserve the historical documents, photographs, and items surrounding the transportation of the Unknown Soldiers by USN/USCG vessels. A special Joint Naval Symposium will be held at the historic Navy Yard in Washington DC on November 9, 2021 to commemorate the arrival home of the World War I Unknown Soldier and highlight interaction of the naval forces with the TUS.
Independence Seaport Museum We are working with the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia to bring attention and highlight the important part the USS Olympia and her crew played in the transportation of the World War I Unknown Soldier in 1921, and why money needs to be raised to inspect this historic ship.
US Capitol Historical Society We are working with the US Capitol Historical Society highlighting the important part the capitol played in the reception of the Unknown Soldiers as they lay in state in November of 1921, May of 1958, and May of 1984.
US Army Band We are working with the US Army Band on the creation of a new musical score that captures the complexity and power of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well a special concert in 2021 at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington DC.
Community Outreach & Support We are working with local communities all around the United States to highlight their involvement and support of the Society and Centennial Projects.
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden We are working with various seed companies to develop a box containing seed packets of iconic flowers that were used in 1921 and have become a part of our country’s expression of remembrance to those who have sacrificed.
Overseas Ceremonies Along with our French Brother Cities project, we are working with the American Battle Monuments Commission, American Legion Paris Post 1, Veterans of Foreign Wars Benjamin Franklin Post, and the USS Olympia Foundation to plan appropriate commemorations that highlight centennial activities that occurred in France in October 24-25, 1921.
How can you help?
We welcome any help as our projects move forwards, and you can become involved by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Sentinels that stand the eternal watch, and the Society please visit our various social media outlets:
- Website: www.tombguard.org
- Face Book: @societyofthehonorguard
- Twitter: @shgtus
October 2019 – Bells of Peace App Re-launched
This year we are again working with the World War I Centennial Commission (WWICC) to bring the wildly popular phone application “Bells of Peace” back in time for #NationalSalute. In 2018 during the Armistice Centennial WWICC developed the “Bells of Peace” allowing the individual, organization and community to participate on November 11 at 11:00am (local) by ringing bells 21 times, followed by a moment of silence for all who have sacrificed for this nation in the armed forces. A great feature is the automatic countdown to November 11 and being able to select just the special type of bell you want your device to ring at 11:00am. Of course is you wish to use a specific bell anytime of the year you can in manual mode.
Also take the time and visit the WWICC website to see where they are in the process of creating a National World War I Memorial in Washington DC.
Once you’ve downloaded the app we encourage you to make the pledge to join your neighbor this year and #TollTHeBells on Veterans Day. Don’t forget to share pictures of your event with us HERE
October 2019 – Supporter List Grows
Over the past year the Society has received tremendous support from various organizations and individuals, and we wanted to thank each one for standing with us. From echoing our message on your social media platforms, allowing us to share your logo and support, and advocating for free presentations in your community we cannot thank you enough!
Please take a moment to visit each supporter and thank them for their help in educating America on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the upcoming Centennial Commemorations. Find the list of Centennial Supporters HERE and the list of Centennial Sponsors HERE
September 2019 – National Salute is Coming!
November 11th is just a few months away, and it’s the perfect time to start planning your communities local National Salute. Lead the way by originating veterans and civic organizations in your community and hold a unique and special National Salute.
It’s easy to do and you are only limited by your creativity. Be the leader and bring your community together to remember our veterans on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.
Celebrate our veterans. Involve the local media, veterans, and future leaders. Take pictures and video and share them on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/
For more information about what you can do for the National Salute, please contact our Public Affairs committee
August 2019 – City of Ludington, MI Approves Never Forget Garden
Prompted by a request from Sawyer Hendrickson (10) of Miss Sawyer’s Kids With a Cause, the city council of Ludington voted on to approve the creation of a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden at the southwest entrance to the Veterans Memorial Park. Miss Sawyer presented a plan to create a garden with two yellow rose bushes, 21 red poppies and ground cover of blue Forget Me Nots at no cost to the city. This proposal to the city council was supported by many of the council members and the Mason County Allied Veterans Council.
We congratulate Miss Sawyer on her well thought out plan, and tenacity in bringing it to the city council. Thank you to City of Ludington for seeing her vision and approving the creation of a Never Forget Garden. We look forward to seeing the progress.
For more information on how you can follow Miss Sawyer’s lead and create a Never Forget Garden in your community, download the following:
August 2019 – A Call to Action
We are calling Americans to action and asking each of you reach out to your leaders in Congress to support the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemorative Coin Act. Information on the two bills before congress is below, and we ask that you cut/paste the following and send it asking that they co-sponsor the bill.
The more voices we get asking for them to be co-sponsors, the more likely this act will be passed.
I am asking you to support the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemorative Coin Act (S.3290 and HR.6635) now before congress. As you know Congress will only authorize two coins a year, and we need your support to get this approved sooner rather than later.
I support the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS) who has been planning for the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier since 2013. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemorative Coin Act is just one of many projects that they are working on as the nation approaches November 11, 2021.
Please add your voice to those who have already stepped forward and co-sponsor this bill. Please don’t let our state not be counted on to support this effort.
July 2019 – The USCG Cutter Ingham was one of the escort ships during May 1958, when the final selection of the World War II Unknown Soldier took place off the Virginia Capes in the Atlantic Ocean (37-00N, 75-30W). For more information on this historic event, visit our webpage HERE
We welcome the USCG Ingham Maritime Museum to the mission of remembering and honoring the Unknown Soldiers interred on the plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater. They are working on a presentation of USCG Ingham’s role during 1958 and will be present during a Joint Naval Symposium on November 09, 2021 at the Navy Yard as part of Centennial Week for TUS100.
“I want to reaffirm that the USCGC Ingham’s sincere interest in taking part in the Centennial Celebration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We have read all we can find on the subject and think we can qualify as an historic ship associated with the TUS.” – Joe Weatherby, Director USCG Ingham Maritime Museum Link HERE
If you wish to become a sponsor or a supporter, please contact the Centennial Committee Chairman, Gavin McIlvenna. Link HERE
June 2019 – “On the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month in 2021 Americans will pause to recognize those who have sacrificed and those who will sacrifice in the future in the defense of America’s freedom and democracy. SHGTUS hopes to include all Americans and bring communities together through a range of initiatives.”
Read an interesting article, Preparations Underway for Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial, written by The Maritime Executive. Link HERE
June 2019 – “Never Forget Garden” initiative represents America’s sacred duty to remember veterans.
Read an article written by Chris Isleib, the Director of Public Affairs, US World War One Centennial Commission. Link HERE
May 2019 – Oregon State Police is First in the Nation
The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is pleased to announce that the Oregon State Police has become the first law enforcement agency in the United States to embrace spirit of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden, and plant a garden in memory of the fallen officers who served the public from The Dalles Area Command.
In early May The Dalles Area Command Administrative Specialist Jennifer Albrecht reached out to the Troopers assigned to the office regarding the open space by the front door of the office, asking for help in the annual planting of flowers that the public would see when walking by. After viewing the Never Forget Garden project, Ms. Albrecht felt that the office could support this national initiative and plant a Never Forget Garden remembering those who fell in the line of duty from the area command.
Ms. Albrecht summed what planting the garden meant to her: “Our Troopers leave their families and put their lives on the line day in and day out to keep us safe. This Never Forget Garden is a small way to say thank you to those that have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the safety of others”.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden is a nationwide invitation to all Americans to plant gardens to express our profound love, sorrow, respect, and gratitude to those who have served and sacrificed on behalf of America and their families. The Society feels that every flower, plant, or tree planted will be a symbol of love and act of unity. In the timeless language of flowers, they will quietly trumpet the message that must never weaken: “We will never, ever, forget or forsake our veterans or the principles that define us as Americans.” Any time that we pause to remember our veterans could not be more serious. On that day, in that place, is the time for reflection and remembrance. A day when personal grief and love for country go hand in hand.
For more information on how you can participate, please contact Richard Azzaro, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden Project Director HERE or our Public Affairs Director HERE. You can also download the project by visiting our website at:
May 2019 – Partnership with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Foundation
The Centennial Committee is pleased to announce our partnership with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Foundation (TUSF) as we work towards many of our national educational goals and other projects for the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 2021.
When talking about our partnership, TUSF President Richard Azzaro says “The relationship was created out of a recognition by the Society leadership and the founders of the Foundation recognizing the need to find funding for the several educational and ceremonial initiatives already planned by the Society. The Society’s outreach to other organizations, both private and governmental, to develop observances for the coming centennial to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”
The TUSF joins a long list of organizations that are supporting the Society in the planning of the national commemoration of the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 2021. If you or your organization would like to support the Society, please visit https://tombguard.org/
April 2019 – “Author Hour” Participants Confirmed for 2021
The Centennial Committee is pleased to announce that the following award winning authors have agreed to participate in Centennial Week (TUS100) the week of November 8-12, 2021 by hosting a very special “Author Hour” where they will speak about their literary work that talks about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in very different ways. The public will have an opportunity to listen and then meet the authors, who will be glad to sign books.
Patrick O’Donnell “The Unknowns” published 2018 https://tombguard.org/store/the-unknowns/
Philip Bigler “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: A Century of the Honor” published 2019 https://tombguard.org/store/tomb-of-the-unknown-soldier-a-century-of-the-honor/
Jeff Gottesfeld “21 Steps” to be published in 2021
April 2019 – First Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden planted
George Washington’s Mount Vernon led the nation by being the first to answer the call and begin to install the first of many plantings for the very first Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden.
The Director of Horticulture, Dean Norton, explained that Mount Vernon hopes to demonstrate that even the simplest of plantings can be an easy way to capture the Never Forget Garden vision. Started at an intersection where the public and staff converge daily, the Never Forget Garden at Mount Vernon surrounds the start to the Purple Heart Trail and will be the constant reminder that to all that at that location we will renew our promise to fulfill America’s sacred duty to never forget.
Pictured: (left) Richard Azzaro, Never Forget Garden Project Director, and (right) Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture at Mount Vernon talk about why the Never Forget Garden, as a living tribute, distinguishes a garden from a monument and while it has beauty it is something intend to show respect and gratitude.
Mount Vernon is a tremendous supporter of the Society our Centennial mission, as well as the Military Order of the Purple Heart.
March 2019 – Launch of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden Project
As we get closer to the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 2021, and after consulting with garden industry leaders, we recognize the unifying effect the language of flowers and trees offers in expressing the profound emotions of patriotism, remembrance and love. The languages of music, prose and poetry offer unique ways to express and communicate love for America, patriotism and remembrance. So too with the language of flowers and trees.
The growing of flowers, plants, or trees is a very personal experience, in a very personal space. Visiting a cemetery or participating in a formal ceremony with flowers is a common and beautiful way to pause and remember. But for those who want to express their love of Country in a more private space, to bring that beauty home; create a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Never Forget Garden and cherish it in the Spring, throughout the Summer into the Fall and early Winter.
As you develop you special Never Forget Garden, please share photos and stories with us HERE or on our social media page using the tag #NeverForgetGarden or #TUS100
For more information please contact the Never Forget Garden Project Director, Richard Azzaro HERE
March 2019 – The Society adopts the White Rose as its official flower
By unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, the Society has adopted the White Rose as its official flower, honoring a tradition started on October 24, 1921 when Sergeant Edward Younger (USA) identified the World War I Unknown Soldier by placing a spray of white roses on his casket. The white rose is a simple, clean, yet emotionally provoking flower that denotes an expression of our sacred duty to never ever forget. This emotional act of love was followed on October 25, 1921 by André Maginot (designer of the Maginot Line, and wounded enlisted veteran of World War I) who lay a single white rose on the casket of our Unknown Soldier before bestowing upon him the Croix de Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur. A single white rose. Such a powerful statement and image on the ebony coffin bearing our honored dead.
With this adoption of the White Rose as the official flower of the Society, we will ensure that it will be included in all of our ceremonies, with the exception of a single yellow rose laid upon the empty crypt of the Vietnam Unknown Soldier during our Rose Ceremony, including when we pay our respects for the graves of our brother Tomb Guards no matter where they rest.
The White Rose is the cornerstone of the soon to be released “Tomb Guard Never Forget Garden” project that the Centennial Committee has been working on.
February 2019 – Update from the Chairman
The Centennial Committee Chair will be in Washington DC and Philadelphia from April 3-8 to conduct meetings with Arlington National Cemetery and the USS Olympia Museum surrounding their involvement in events in 2021.
We are also pleased to announce that our first confirmed symposium speaker during Centennial Week (November 8-11, 2021) will be none other than our very own Associate Member Jari Villanueva, who will present “The History of Taps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. This hour-long talk will look at the history of Taps and its use at Arlington National Cemetery along with profiles of five prominent buglers who sounded Taps for important ceremonies including the interment of the World War I, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam Unknown ceremonies. He will also discuss also is how Taps came to be sounded at Arlington and the history of how the military bands assumed the responsibility of rendering that honor at ceremonies. Jari is a retired Master Sergeant who spent 23 years in the US Air Force sounding the call at Arlington National Cemetery including ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
You can visit his website “Taps for Veterans” at http://tapsbugler.com/
July 2018 – Congressman Jones (NC) supports the Stamp Project
In 2015, the Society submitted a proposal for the creation of a series of stamps by the U.S. Postal Service to commemorate the Centennial in Arlington National Cemetery, and the impact that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has had on generations of Americans. This project is still under consideration by the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee.
Last month the Centennial Committee reached out to members of Congress and the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, asking for their support on the Stamp Project. We have received many responses, and wanted to share a couple with you:
The Committee is asking the public to reach out locally to organizations and provide them a copy of our letter for consideration.
June 2018 – Centennial Committee assists with KMBC Chronicle: Known But to God
Back in September 2017 the Society provided support and historical advice to LTC (Retired) Rob Hill of the Kansas City Heartland Men’s Chorus on their production of “We, The Unknown”. As part of this support the Centennial Committee Chairman was interviewed by Matt Flener of KMBC in Kansas City for an hour-long story call “Chronicle: Known But to God”. You can view the story by going to their YouTube by clicking HERE.
June 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with the Grand Chancery of the Legion of Honor
The Centennial Committee is pleased to announce that the Grand Chancery of the Legion of Honor in France will be assisting our Foreign Military Medals project as we bring the history and stories behind the medals presented to the World War I Unknown Soldier during the internment ceremonies on November 11, 1921. They join the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association and the Romanian Embassy in the United States on this project.
June 2018 – National Salute Update
The Centennial Committee has updated the time(s) for this years National Salute to align with Public Law 114-240, dated October 7, 2016 and enacted by the 114th Congress.
The National Salute includes the National Moment of Silence, where we as a nation pause for one minute to reflect on the lives of those who have served and sacrificed before us, followed by one minute of silence to reflect on those that will do so in the future.
Our recommended observance starts with the ringing of bells 21 times (as 3 second intervals), followed by the National Moment of Silence, and concluded with the playing of Taps. Per the law the National Moment of Silence should be planned into your observance beginning at:
3:11 p.m. Atlantic Standard Time;
2:11 p.m. Eastern Standard Time;
1:11 p.m. Central Standard Time;
12:11 p.m. Mountain Standard Time;
11:11 a.m. Pacific Standard Time;
10:11 a.m. Alaska Standard Time; and
09:11 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time
This year the Society will be working with the World War I Centennial Commission as they ask the nation to participate in the “Bells of Peace, a World War I Remembrance”, in which our National Salute program has been the foundation of for the last few years.
For more information on how you and your community can participate in the National Salute, click HERE.
May 2018 – Centennial Committee Update
The Committee Chair spent over a week in Washington DC in meetings to talk about the Centennial and how the federal government and civilian agencies can work together in the planning for November 2021 under the NDAA2017. Organizations contacted included:
- Naval History and Heritage Command
- National Museum of the United States Navy
- American Battle Monuments Commission
- Senator Tom Cotton
- National Rural Letter Carriers Association
- Gold Star Mothers
- 3d United States Infantry (The Old Guard)
- United States Capitol Historical Society
- Military District of Washington – Ceremonies
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Military Security Force (Joint Staff)
During the same time, our Historical Aircraft Project Director spent two days with the Maxwell Air Force Base historians, Archie DiFante and Tammy Horton, and was able to obtain digital copies of critical documents surrounding the movement of the Trans-Pacific Candidate from Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines on a Douglas C-54 “Skymaster” to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii. As this project develops we will be reaching out to the USAF crews to get their story on their participation in the transport of the Unknown Soldiers and candidates.
Past President and one our Society Founders, Richard Azzaro (1963-65), joined author Patrick O’Donnell to talk about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier prior to Memorial Day 2018. Mr. O’Donnell is the author of “The Unknowns”, a book which focuses on the pall bearers surrounding the World War I Unknown Soldier in 1921. Mr. O’Donnell will be joining the Society at our reunion in November 2018, where he will talk to our members about his new book.
You can find the link to the audio interview with Richard Azzaro by clicking HERE
The Society is also pleased to announce that the General Society of the War of 1812 is working with the TUS100 committee on the USPS Postal Stamp Project which is seeking support for a series of postal stamps that will tell the story of the service and sacrifice of Americans on behalf of America in times of war or armed conflict. It is our hope that as Abraham Lincoln spoke of what unifies our diverse population, this series of stamps can also serve as an “Electric Cord” that connects us to every patriot grave.
You can help support this project by writing to the Post Master General at the address below, and ask them to proceed with the project:
Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300
Washington, DC 20260-3501.
April 2018 – Centennial Committee Update
The Centennial Committee is happy to announce that the National Infantry Museum and the Maxwell Airforce Base historians have agreed to help with multiple projects that are underway as we move toward the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in November 2021.
The Society is also working with the World War I Centennial Commission to bring our grass roots efforts on the National Salute to a wider audience leading up to Veterans Day 2018 and beyond. Please check back for more detailed information as we get closer to November 11th.
March 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army
The Society is excited to announce that Mr. Allen Hoe, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, will be joining former Sergeant of the Guard, Master Sergeant Tanner Welch (2012-14), on the Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam (PBPHH) Project. The JBPHH Project hopes to capture the history of Hawaii’s involvement with the ceremonies surrounding the Trans-Pacific Unknown Candidate, the Korean War Unknown Soldier and the Vietnam Unknown Soldier in 1958 and 1984.
March 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with the VC & GC Association
The Society is pleased to announce that the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association, which represents all living holders of the United Kingdom’s highest award for valor, the Victoria Cross and George Cross, will be assisting with the Foreign Military Medals project as it brings this history and stories behind the medals presented to the World War I Unknown Soldier during the internment ceremonies on November 11, 1921.
The Unknown Soldier was honored by our ally when they conferred the Victoria Cross for his gallantry during the great war. The United States had bestowed the Medal of Honor in the name of the Congress of the United States upon the unidentified British soldier buried in Westminster Abbey on March 4, 1921.
March 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with the Romanian Military
The Society is pleased to announce that the Military Attaché, Brigadier General Constantin Iacobita, of the Romanian Embassy in the United States is working with the TUS100 committee on the Foreign Military Medals project. This rich history between the Romanian Military and the United States in only highlighted by the unique story behind the presentation of the Military Virture Medal to the World War I Unknown Soldier on November 11, 1921. We hope to bring this story to the pubic in 2021 during the Centennial Week.
February 2018 – Society supports grassroots efforts in Washington State
Members of the Society are working with the Stonehenge War Memorial Community Committee in the planning of Veterans Day events, including the National Salute at the memorial this year. Community members from both sides of the Columbia River Gorge representing Maryhill Museum, Washington State Parks, Goldendale Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Gold Star mothers, veterans, and the Boy/Girls Scouts of America came together along with the Society President and Society Associate Members to start the planning stages to commemorate the end of World War I on November 11th.
The Stonehenge War Memorial, a replica of the original Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain in England, had its main alter dedicated in 1918 paying homage to the “”To the memory of the soldiers and sailors of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death alone can quench.” Completed in 1929 and re-dedicated that same year it has become of the United States most unique World War I memorials.
January 2018 – TUS100 Committee works with NHHC
The Society is pleased to announce that the Naval History and Heritage Command at the historic Navy Yard in Washington DC will come on board to assist the Centennial Committee on the Historical Ships Project, with the research of naval assets that were involved in the transportation of each of the Unknown Soldiers in 1921, 1958, and 1984.
January 2018 – Cadets support the Society
Cadets from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado have volunteered to assist the Centennial Committee on the Historical Aircraft Project, which is researching the Researching the location/condition of the aircraft used to transport the Vietnam Unknown Soldier, Trans-Pacific Candidate, and the Korean War Unknown Soldier from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii to the mainland.
December 2017 – Girl Scout Merit Badge hits 90%
Project Director Sheila Cavanaugh announced that the Girl Scout Merit Badge project is 90% complete, and is in the final phase of work. The project is designed to help Girl Scouts of all levels to explore the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the pioneering women that who have served as Sentinels standing the eternal watch.
December 2017 – Midshipmen support the Society
Midshipmen from the United State Naval Academy in Annapolis have volunteered to assist the Centennial Committee on the Historical Ships Project, with the research of naval assets that were involved in the transportation of each of the Unknown Soldiers in 1921, 1958, and 1984. The project will capture the individual crew thoughts and memories, historical timelines, and information about each vessel involved including the USS Olympia which carried the remains of the World War I Unknown Soldier home from France in 1921.
November 2017 – Independence Seaport Museum supports the Centennial
Michael Flynn, the Vice President of Interpretation and Visitor Experience at the Independence Seaport Museum pledged to work with the Society on the Centennial, with the hopes that a partnership will “help raise awareness of the USS Olympia‘s role in American History, and in particular the connection to the Unknown Soldier” of World War I. This is a huge boost to many projects currently underway.
November 2017 – 3rd Annual National Salute
Organizations from all 50 states were contacted this year as the National Salute continues to grow each year across the nation. This year we want to highlight the following to their support:
Alabama Republican Party (AL)
Redding Elks Lodge #1073 (CA)
Redding Emblem Club #515 (CA)
US Air Force Academy Association of Graduates (CO)
World War I Centennial Commission (DC)
Honor Guards of American (FL)
Exchange Club of Rome (GA)
Walk of Heroes War Memorial (GA)
First Church of God (KY)
Bethel First Presbyterian Church (KY)
Kentucky Colonels (KY)
Operation Second Chance (MD)
Borough of Ramsey (NJ)
Borough of Allendale (NJ)
Francis Lewis Hight School JROTC (NY)
Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (OR)
Old St. Peter’s Landmark Cathedral (OR)
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (OR)
Hood River American Legion Post #22 (OR)
Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue (OR)
Hood River Fire & EMS (OR)
Hoodland Fire District #74 (OR)
Oregon Army National Guard (OR)
Andersons Tribute Center (OR)
The State of Oregon (OR)
Midway Fire & Rescue (SC)
WERA 96.7 FM (VA)
National Rifle Association of American (VA)
Maryhill Museum (WA)
November 2017 – State of Oregon issues Proclamation
Governor Kate Brown (D) became the first state to issue a proclamation supporting the Society, by declaring November 11, 2017 to be “National Salute Day”. Governor Brown urged all Oregonians to join pausing to remember and recognize “those who have sacrificed and those that will sacrifice in the future in the defense of America’s Freedom and Democracy”.
November 2017 – SHGTUS Board members interviewed on the Weather Channel
On November 11, 2017 the Society President and Secretary were interviewed live by the Weather Channel leading up to the national Veteran’s Day observances in Arlington National Cemetery.
November 2017 –World War I Centennial Commission Podcast
On November 8, 2017 the Centennial Chairman was interviewed about the National Salute on the World War I Centennial Commission podcast with Theo Mayer. You can listen to WW1 Centennial News Episode #45 by following this LINK.
October / November 2017 – Committee Chairman meetings in Washington DC
The Centennial Committee Chairman met with various organizations this week to consolidate support and efforts leading up to the Centennial in 2021 working within the confines of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017. Productive meetings were held with the Military District of Washington, American Battle Monument Commission, World War I Centennial Commission, Arlington National Cemetery, the 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), and the US Army Quartermaster Museum.
September 2017 – Society supports the Heartland Men’s Chorus
The Society is providing support and historical advice to Rob Hill of the Kansas City Heartland Men’s Chorus on their pending production of “We, The Unknown” scheduled for premiere in June 2018. You can learn more about the project HERE.
July 2017 – Society supports grassroots efforts in Maryland
On July 15, 2017 members of the Clarksville, Maryland community to include the Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, Boy Scout Troop 007, Walnut Grove Home Owners Association, Boy Scouts of American, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts of America, and individual historical reenactors gathered at Colonel Gassaway Watkins grave to lay a wreath in remembrance of his service during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Also, present will be members of the Fife and Drum Corps, who are assigned to the oldest infantry unit in the US Army and official escort to the President: the 3d United States Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
Col. Watkins enlisted in a regiment from Maryland in January of 1776 as a Sergeant. By April 1776 he was commissioned as an Ensign in the 7th Maryland Regiment eventually earning the rank of Captain having fought the British in over 10 battles. He again answered our country’s call, returning to duty in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of Colonel. Col. Watkins passed away on his property on 14 July 1840 having seen the nation he fought for become a reality.
May 2017 – Centennial Challenge Coin reaches last phase
The much-anticipated Centennial Coin has reached the final phase of design. The project team has submitted the final design, and along with one special edition design, to the Board of Directors for consideration. The final design incorporates the elements of the east face of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with a period Sentinel and dates. Expect the coin to be available for purchase in November 2018 in the Society Store.
November 2016 – Centennial Lapel Pin Project completed
The first project for the committee is complete, with the design and creation of the Centennial Lapel Pin. For information on the design process and aspects of the lapel pin, go to this LINK. If you feel like supporting the Society, you can purchase a Centennial Lapel Pin in our Quartermaster Store and the proceeds go directly into the Centennial Committee other projects.
November 2016 – 2nd Annual National Salute
More communities became involved this year with the National Salute and with organizations from 39 states stepping up. We wish to highlight the following for stepping up this year:
Task Force Heroes (CA)
Washington National Cathedral (DC)
Loyal Order of the Moose Lodge 1585 (FL)
Walk of Heroes War Memorial (GA)
First Congregational Church (IL)
Rochester Fire Department (IN)
Iowa National Guard (IA)
Ebenezer UMC (MD)
Truman State University (MO)
Veterans of Foreign Wars (MO)
Kalispell Fire Department (MT)
Spencerport Fire District (NY)
Bahama Volunteer Fire Department (NC)
Boardman Rural Fire Protection District (OR)
City of Hood River (OR)
Clock Tower Ales (OR)
Covenant Hood River (OR)
Fox12 Oregon (OR)
Hood River Fire & EMS (OR)
Hood River County School District (OR)
Hoodland Fire Department (OR)
KODL Radio Station (OR)
Lars Larson Radio Show (OR)
Marion County Fire District #1 (OR)
Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue (OR)
Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (OR)
Old St. Peter’s Landmark Cathedral (OR)
St. Thomas Episcopal Church (OR)
St. Mary’s Catholic Church (OR)
University of Oregon ROTC (OR)
Willamette National Cemetery (OR)
Amarillo Fire Department (TX)
Bush Hill Presbyterian Church (VA)
WERA 96.7 FM (VA)
Edison High School (VA)
Ferndale Fire Department (WA)
Starbuck Elementary School (WA)
United Methodist Church (WA)
November 2016 – Mayor issues Proclamation
Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn became the first city to issue a proclamation supporting the Society, by declaring November 11, 2016 to be “National Salute Day”. Mayor Blackburn urged all citizens in the community “ring our community’s bells” and remember the Unknown Soldiers buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
November 2016 – National Cathedral rings bells for the Unknown Soldiers
The Washington National Cathedral supported the National Salute by ringing the bells of the cathedral 21 times to remind Americans of the sacrifice of so many of our sons and daughters in uniform. You can hear and see the events HERE.
November 2015 – Inaugural National Salute
After researching the history surrounding the internment of the World War I Unknown Soldier, the Society re-instituted the National Salute across the United States with 15 organizations participating across 10 states. Our deepest thanks to:
Walk of Heroes War Memorial (GA)
Severns Valley Baptist Church (KY)
Bethany Lane Baptist Church (MD)
Ebenezer UMC (MD)
Gaither UMC (MD)
St. Pauls UMC (MD)
Francis Lewis High School JROTC (NY)
St. Marks Episcopal Church (OR)
Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon (OR)
Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue (OR)
Ocean Breeze Baptist Church (OR)
Old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (OR)
The Dalles Chronicle (OR)
Zion Lutheran Church (OR)
This is an important first step, and we hope to continue to improve upon our community’s involvement next year.
August 2015 – First phase of the Stamp Project gets the go-ahead by USPS
The United States Postal Service (USPS) advised that the Society’s proposal for the issuance of a stamp commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was accepted by the Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee. This committee reviews the all proposals and then makes recommendations to the US Postmaster General. You can help the committee by writing a letter and asking them to support our proposal. For information on how to help, follow this LINK.
For further information on how you may help us, contact The Centennial Committee, by clicking HERE.