Pilgrimage to France
1 year ago
The Pilgrimage to France to commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of the World War I Unknown was a plan long in the making, but well planned and constructed by many hands indeed. Although it took years to put together, the trip seemed like a blur of a moment now that it's past. Having been on my first ever trip to Paris, France I was immediately taken in by the awe of the historic nature of the country I landed in, the beauty of the City of Paris, the people and the language there.
We came here as many different individuals, but as one alike, Patriots of the country we love, the United States of America. We came as Tomb Guards, past and present, American Gold Star Mothers, Daughters of the American Revolution and individuals who represented the values of the Society of the Honor Guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, either as Associate Members or husbands, wives, mothers and fathers.
Once everyone in our party were assembled together, the schedule of events in hand, the journey commenced. The reality of what we were about to do started to sink in. "Historical", a unique word in itself, but that was exactly what we were about to embark on. We would be a very small group of Americans on an historical journey to follow what linked the selection of our World War I Unknown Soldier together, but 100 years to the date later.
From each of the (4) cemeteries would be borne an individual Unknown Soldier that would make up the (4) to be selected from. Our journey would give us the chance to visit those brave individuals that remained behind and honor them all for their sacrifice to our great nation and the liberty of the nation we stood in.
We would carry a special flag with us that would fly at each cemetery during our ceremonial wreath laying and comments, to then be brought home and be retired to the Memorial Amphitheater Display Room for all visitors to see. Being a part of each ceremony either on Flag Detail or as the Wreath Bearer was an honor I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I feel as if I took part in carrying our nation of citizens on my shoulders in the process to allow them to be a part as well.
To finish our journey, and being of French descendants, I had the honor of laying a White Rose at the French Unknown Soldier, a very distinct honor that represents the smallest percentage of people to have ever had that chance, that in itself, was remarkable to say the least.
I consider myself to be a very lucky and humble individual to have been a part of this journey and to have shared it with such a great group of individuals that I will forever call my Tomb Guard Brothers and Sister, friends and especially, fellow Americans
Viva la France, Viva la Liberty..
Lonny LeGrand, Jr (1981-83)
**Article republished from the White Rose Journal: The Never Forget Garden Project. To find out more visit HERE ** Follow these 10 tips, so your winter tender Niphetos will thrive every season!...
The History of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in 26 paintings by artist Dave Rappaport going on exhibit in France (three locations).Presented by the Military Women's Memorial and the Society of the...
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?
Has anyone ever tried to get past the Tomb guards, or attempted to deface the Tomb?
Yes, that is the reason why we now guard the Tomb. Back in the early 1920's, we didn't have guards and the Tomb looked much different. It was flat at ground level without the 70 ton marble 'cap'. People often came to the cemetery in those days and a few actually used the Tomb as a picnic area, likely because of the view. Soon after in 1925, they posted a civilian guard. In 1926, a US Army soldier was posted during cemetery hours. On July 1, 1937 guard duty was expanded to the 24 hour watch. Since then, the ceremony has evolved throughout the years to what you see today. Today, most of the challenges faced by the Sentinels are tourists who are speaking too loudly or attempting to get a better picture (by entering the post).