The Queen and The Tomb

4 months ago

I am sure all of you are aware that this year was the Platinum Jubilee celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 70 years of service as monarch of Great Britain. She became Queen at the early age of twenty-five when her father King George VI died on February 6, 1952. She has visited countries all over the world, many of them multiple times. The 96-year-old queen is like the Energizer Bunny who just keeps moving along. She is really an amazing woman. It got me thinking about how many times she has come to the United States and more specifically, any visits to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I have learned that the Queen visited us six times, but it is seven times if you count her visit as Princess Elizabeth when she came with her father King George VI in 1951. She has visited The Tomb and participated in wreath laying ceremonies three times.

1957 - Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrived in Washington, D.C. on October 17, 1957. They stayed with President Dwight D. Eisenhower and First Lady Mamie Eisenhower at the White House, and Queen Elizabeth II stayed in the Rose Bedroom while Prince Philip stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom. The visit was in part to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. The Sergeant of the Guard during this visit was MSG William Daniel (1957-60).

Queen Elizabeth II honors the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Sergeant of the Guard MSG William Rucker (1972-76) assist with the wreath.

1976 - During the American Bicentennial of 1975-1976, Queen Elizabeth II visited the United States and the White House on a goodwill tour. During this visit, the royal couple were hosted by President Gerald Ford and First Lady Betty Ford for a State Dinner on July 7, 1976, in the Rose Garden. The Sergeant of the Guard during this visit was MSG William Rucker (1972-76)*. This 3:40 minute YouTube video clip includes the wreath laying ceremony. The ceremony starts at 1:40: https://youtu.be/RW6JPklq660

Queen Elizabeth II honors the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Sergeant of the Guard SFC Edmond Gittens (1989-91) assists with the wreath..

1991 - President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush hosted Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip for a State Dinner on May 14, 1991. The Sergeant of the Guard during this visit was SFC Edmond Gittens (1989-91).

Many countries in the world have unknown soldier monuments like we do. If you think about it, due to her long reign as head of state, the Queen has visited the resting places of more unknown soldiers than any other leader in the world.

Larry W. Seaton (1970-71)
SHGTUS Treasurer/Historian


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