National Salute Project
HERE is the 2021 National Salute Memo and how you can participate.
One of the first Centennial Committee projects as we approached the
100th Anniversary of the burial of an Unknown American Soldier who
fought and died in World War I is the National Salute.
City, town and church bells have served our country and its citizenry from the very beginning. They can do so again. Imagine a silent afternoon in your community where you start to hear the bells toll. Steady and resounding, they ring and are joined by other bells, until all you hear is a crescendo of bells echoing through your community. Then you remember, it’s November 11th at 11:00 a.m. You stop what you are doing and count 21 seconds, standing in solidarity with everyone else in the U.S.A. And as the bells slowly start to fade away, perhaps you hear the haunting wail of a lone trumpeter playing ‘Taps’. A silence once again envelops your community, and you realize that the bells were telling everyone that a moment of remembrance had arrived.
The National Salute, re-instituted in 2015, is a means to show our deep respect for our Unknown Soldiers buried in the east plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery. On the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day, of the 11th Month we ask Americans across the United States and foreign lands, to pause and recognize those who have sacrificed and those who will sacrifice in the future in the defense of America’s “Freedom and Democracy.”
This commemoration provides a unique
opportunity to celebrate America’s unshakeable commitment to those who serve and sacrifice.
Ready to participate? Creating a simple ceremony that fits your community should include:
- Count Honors – Be creative with a 21 Count Honors (bell ringing with five second interval between counts) — by all available means — gun salute (land and sea), church bells, rifle salute, ROTC, police and fire dept. sirens, etc. This calling to “Attention” of the freedom loving people of the world for purposes of rendering the highest honors to those Americans who have paid the ultimate price for freedom. Communities are invited to pay respects to the honored dead. Religious organizations, patriotic organizations, scouting organizations, schools, communities, libraries, industrial and business entity of all sizes, unions, communications media, social media, transportation services and individuals across the land are invited to participate in these highest honors. The idea is for the American people to pause, show their gratitude, and render their highest honors to the people’s unsung valor.
- Great Silence – for two minutes, the first minute for those who have already sacrificed and the second minute for those who will sacrifice in the future with their lives for the American way of life. This two-minute silence ceremony is a reaffirms what President Harding did during the funeral of the Unknown Soldier on November 11, 1921. It is a grateful nation pausing to honor our Nation’s promise to never ever forget or to forsake America’s glorious and immortal dead and missing.
- Taps – This easily recognized emotive and powerful twenty-four notes bugle call is the international melody for “lights out” — final resting for deceased soldiers. This synchronized playing of Taps around the free world by individuals and organizations is a solemn calling for the defense of free peoples worldwide.
Your community can use different models and venues in honoring the Centennial of this nation’s symbol of patriotism. Some individuals/organizations will be able to conduct formal ceremonies, while others may be less formal. We encourage all communities to commemorate, as they like, this transcending moment in the life of the United States of America.
We invite you to reach out into your community to become part of the National Salute this year.
Never Forget Garden Project
This project is a nationwide invitation to all Americans and freedom loving people to plant gardens as a visual way to represent unwavering commitment to our sacred duty to recognize, remember, and honor our veterans and their families now and for many years to come.
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, your Never Forget Garden will quietly trumpet the message that must never weaken: one of America’s sacred commitment to never, ever, forget or forsake our veterans or the principles that define us as Americans.
For information on the marker and how to purchase: /general/never-forget-garden-marker
We encourage you individually, and through public and private institutions, to visit our website and download the free document that details the Never Forget Garden project, and provides suggestions on how you can participate starting now. We hope you will enlist others to join in bringing unity to our national identity in a unique way that will transcend our political, social, religious or regional differences.
When you start planning your Never Forget Garden now, you will be able to cherish it in the Spring, throughout the Summer into the Fall and early Winter. An easy 12-step guide can be downloaded here.
- Download the "Circular Letter" HERE
- Download the "Project" HERE
- Download "Getting Started" HERE
- Download "Choosing Plants" HERE
- Download "Recommended Rose Names" HERE
- Download "Simple NFG Example" HERE
- Download "Detailed NFG Example" HERE
- Download "Detailed NFG Example 2" HERE
- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial – Connecting All of America to its Past, Present and Future Through the Language of Flowers, article by the Project Director
- PowerPoint by American Rose Society President on the "Rose of the Unknown Soldier"
For those who wish to use the White Rose in ceremonies, please review this document that details the White Rose Bouquet of the Centennial that will be used by the Society of our functions that require a wreath or rose bouquet.
Lapel Pin Project
The Centennial Lapel Pin is pictured is the first project the committee tackled. The pin was designed by one of the committee members and former Tomb Guard, who wanted to capture the feeling of what a visitor sees when standing on the steps of the plaza and looks toward the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the crypts. There is much symbolism designed into the lapel pin:
- The three crypts are at the base of the Tomb.
- The green trees behind and east of the Tomb are reminiscent of the summer days in Arlington.
- The dark blue outer ring is reminiscent of the blouse the Sentinel wears, which was authorized by the Adjutant & Inspector General’s Office on March 27, 1821.
- The light blue sky represents the color of the Infantry, paying homage to the Sentinel’s parent Regiment, the 3d United States Infantry (The Old Guard) which is the oldest Infantry Regiment in the Army and has provided Sentinels who guard the Tomb since 1948.
- The black numerals in the dates 1921 to 2021, and the inverted gold wreath represent mourning.
These pins are available to the public and the proceeds will help fund other Centennial Committee projects in the future. Information on how you can purchase a Centennial Lapel Pin and support the Society can be found by visiting our Quartermaster Store.
Historical Aircraft Project
We are researching the historical documents, photographs, and items surrounding the transportation of the Trans-Atlantic Candidate, Trans-Pacific Candidate, Korean War Unknown Soldier, and the Vietnam Unknown Soldier by United States Air Force (USAF) or United States Navy (USN) aircraft. We hope to create a presentation on what we have found during Centennial Week in 2021.
If you took part in any of these events or were crew members on the aircraft, please contact the Centennial Committee Chairman HERE so we can capture your experiences and share them with America.
Historical Ships Project
In conjunction with our efforts with historical aircraft, we are also researching the historical documents, photographs, and items surrounding the transportation of the Unknown Soldiers by the naval forces of our nation, including the US Marines who stood the vigil while the missions were underway. We are working closely with the Independence Seaport Museum, Navy History and Heritage Command, and the USCGC Ingham Maritime Museum. Each time the Unknown Soldier was brought home to the mainland it was by the US Navy:
- USS Olympia (1921)
- USS Blandy, USS Boston, USS Canberra (1958), and the US Coast Guard escort ship USCGC Ingham (1958)
- USS Brewton (1984)
- or other naval assets identified during the research.
If you took part in any of these events or were crew members on these
historic ships, please contact the Centennial Committee Chairman HERE so we can capture your experiences and share them with America.
To read about the difficult journey home of the World War I Unknown Soldier and the Olympia's Marines from October 25 to November 9, 1921 please visit HERE.
To read about the 1958 mission to bring home the World War II and Korean War Unknown Soldiers please visit HERE.
Independence Seaport Museum
Throughout 2021, Independence Seaport Museum will honor the Centennial Anniversary of the Unknown Soldier’s journey home by sharing stories, presenting programming, hosting discussions, and premiering digital content highlighting not only the Unknown Soldier’s story, but how important the concepts of home and loss are as it relates not only to civilians, but also veterans, active-duty military, and military families.
US Capitol Historical Society Project
Working beside the US Capitol Historical Society we will be highlighting the important part the capitol played in the reception and burial of the Unknown Soldiers. We are working to develop articles, webinars, and virtual events for each of the events that took place in November of 1921, May of 1958, and May of 1984 at the US Capitol.
The following is a list of suggested books or articles that provide historical context about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. If there is an addition that you feel should be added to the list, please contact the webmaster.
Published Articles by the Centennial Committee
- Centennial of Honor A Brief History of the TUS
- The Eternal Mission
- Never Forget Garden and Memorial Day
- Connecting All of America to its Past, Present and Future Through the Language of Flowers
- Olympia Marines - With the Hand of God
- Standing the Watch Alone
- Welcome Home
- Marking the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Washington Times op-ed by Alexa Fish-Ward, the granddaughter of Congressman Hamilton Fish III
- NY National Guardsman Led Fight for Tomb of the Unknown, by Colonel Richard Goldenberg, New York Army National Guard
- The Rose of the Unknown Soldier, by Robert Martin Jr., American Rose Society President
- Roses in Remembrance, by Mary M. Shanley, San Diego Rose Society
- Creating an American Landmark, Excerpts from a story by LeRoy Brady, American Rose Annual
- ‘Never Forget’ Rose Created for Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial, by Ellen Hampton
- DAR establishes garden at Kansas Veterans' Cemetery, news article by the Hays Post
- My Never Forget Garden, by Karen Lodico
- Celebrations planned for Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, by Tom Young of the National Press Club
- The Victoria Cross and the Unknown Soldier, by the Centennial Committee
- The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial – Connecting All of America to its Past, Present and Future Through the Language of Flowers, by Never Forget Garden Project Director Richard Azzaro
- The ship that saved the unknown soldier from disaster, by Washington Post reporter Michael E. Ruane
- Retracing the Steps of the Unknown Soldier by Ellen Hampton
- American pilgrimage across France to honor WWI Unknown Soldier finishes in Paris by Erik Slavin with Stars and Stripes, October 27, 2021
- Veterans Tribute Guide, by Alyssa McBeth , Stars and Stripes, November 1, 2021
- Taps in Honored Glory by Jeff Stoffer, American Legion, November 8, 2021
- Unknown Soldier’s homecoming honored at Navy Yard by Jeff Stoffer, American Legion, November 9, 2021
- NHHC Hosts Symposium for 100th Anniversary of the Return of the Unknown Soldier to U.S. Soil, November 9, 2021
- Hamilton Fish III and the Tomb of the Unknow Soldier by Chris Carola, The Union Times, November 10, 2021
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Honors All American War Casualties by Deborah Block, Voice of America, November 10, 2021
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Marks Centennial by Quade Kelley, Scholastic Kids Press, November 10, 2021
- Walking the Mat by Thomas Branding, November 10, 2021
- The Sacrifice of the Unknown Soldier by Andrew Thomas, Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2021
- A prayer for the Unknown Soldier by Chris Gibbons, Broad and Liberty, November 11, 2021.
- Local man commemorates Unknown Soldier flight, by The Nugget Newspaper, November 23, 2021
- Behind the scenes with only female guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Voices from the Tomb, a documentary by the Society
- Unknown Warriors Webinar, hosted by the National Army Museum of the United Kingdom
- We, The Unknown, documentary on the making of a special choral work from the Heartland Men's Chorus in Kansas City
- The Unknowns, a documentary by a former Tomb Guard
- Honoring The 100-Year History Of The Tomb Of The Unknown Solider interview with Arlington National Cemetery Historian, May 31, 2021
- NBC News Now report on ceremonies in France with Aaron Gilchrest, October 24, 2021
- NBC Nightly News report on ceremonies in France with Lester Holt, October 25, 2021
- 'Sacred duty' of Tomb of the Unknown Solider by 6News Richmond reporter Greg McQuade, October 29, 2021
- Centennial of the Arrival of the Unknown Soldier by the Defense Media Activity, November 9, 2021
- AUSA's Army Matters interview with the Society President, and the President and Executive Director of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Foundation (TUSF), July 7, 2021
- Shaping Opinions interview with the Society President, June 14, 2021
- Borne The Battle interview with the Society President, May 31, 2021
- Mission Inspire interview with the Society President, May 30, 2021
- NBC News Now interview with the Never Forget Garden Project Director and Education Committee Chairwoman, May 28, 2021
- The Ordinary, Extraordinary Cemetery interview with the Education Committee Chairwoman, May 27, 2021
- In Honored Glory by Philip Bigler
- Arlington: The Story of Our Nation's Cemetery by Chris Demarest
- On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery by Robert M. Poole
- The Unknowns: The Untold Story of America's Unknown Soldier and WWI's Most Decorated Heros Who Brought Him Home by Patrick O'Donnell
- A Century of Honor: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by Philip Bigler
- Twenty-One Steps by Jeff Gottesfeld
- Cruiser Olympia and the Unknown Soldier Throughout 2021, Independence Seaport Museum will honor the Centennial Anniversary of the Unknown Soldier’s journey home by sharing stories, presenting programming, hosting discussions, and premiering digital content highlighting not only the Unknown Soldier’s story, but how important the concepts of home and loss are as it relates not only to civilians, but also veterans, active-duty military, and military families.
- USS Olympia Foundation
- American Rose Society
- U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Ingham (WHEC-35)
Maritime Museum & National Historic Landmark
- Military Women's Memorial
- American Gold Star Mothers
- Daughters of the American Revolution
- Arlington National Cemetery Centennial Information
The Centennial Flag Project
Leading up to the national commemoration of the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS) proposed that a special flag be flown at key locations surrounding the World War I Unknown Soldier selection and journey home from France to the United States in 1921. The idea was that this special “Centennial Flag” would be flown at key locations in the history of the World War I Unknown Soldier as part of the historic pilgrimage that was planned for October 2021.
Leg #1 - Arlington National Cemetery
Leg #2 - USS Olympia pending on September 27, 2021
Leg #3 - St. Mihiel American Cemetery on October 21, 2021
Leg #4 - Aisne-Marne American Cemetery on October 22, 2021
Leg #5 - Somme American Cemetery on October 22, 2021
Leg #6 - Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery on October 23, 2021
Leg #7 - Vigil at Châlons-en-Champagne, France on October 23, 2021
Leg #8 - Châlons-en-Champagne, France on October 24, 2021
Leg #9 - Le Havre, France on October 24, 2021 PENDING
Leg #10 - Historic Navy Yard, Washington DC on November 9, 2021 PENDING
Leg #11 - US Capitol on November 10, 2021 PENDING
Leg #12 - Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2021 PENDING
To view the entire briefing on the project please click HERE
Support the Society
The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (SHGTUS) is able to provide our programs, events, assistance, scholarships, and services due to the generosity of its members, organizations, and individuals. SHGTUS does not receive institutional funding. Note: The Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your contributions may be fully tax deductible.
Did you know?
There is a small green shack next to the Tomb. What is it for?
'The Box' (as it is affectionately known) is used primarily during wreath laying ceremonies for the Sentinel to retreat to while flowers and Taps are being presented. There also is a phone with a direct line downstairs to the Tomb Guard Quarters. This is used in times of emergencies or just to notify the next shift of something.