Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day in Arlington National Cemetery

Today is Memorial Day in the United States of America. This day, celebrated on the last Monday in May, honors and remembers the brave men and women who lost their lives defending our Constitutional rights and freedom. 

Pictured below are images of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, America’s most hallowed ground.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands on top of a hill overlooking Washington, D.C., and is one of the most well-attended sites at the cemetery.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has been perpetually guarded since July 2, 1937, by the U.S. Army. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (“The Old Guard”) began guarding the Tomb on April 6, 1948. The guards follow a meticulous routine when watching over the graves: 

  1. Marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb

  2. Turns and faces east for 21 seconds

  3. Turns and faces north for 21 seconds

  4. Takes 21 steps down the mat

  5. Repeats the routine until the soldier is relieved of duty at the changing of the guard

After each turn, the Guard executes a sharp “shoulder-arms” movement to place the weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors to signify that the Guard stands between the Tomb and any possible threat. The Tomb Guard routine of 21’s is because twenty-one symbolizes the highest military honor that can be bestowed—the 21-gun salute.

Regardless of weather conditions, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is always guarded. The guard is changed every 30 minutes during summer daylight hours, every hour during winter daylight hours, and in 2-hour increments at night when the cemetery is closed to the public. 

Would you like a private guided tour of Arlington?

The Unknown Road has partnered with the best tour agencies to provide you with an unforgettable experience seeing highlights such as:

• US Marine Corps War Memorial

• President John F. Kennedy Gravesite

• U.S. Coast Guard Memorial

• General John J. Pershing Gravesite

• Memorial Amphitheater

• Robert E. Lee Memorial

Contact Us to learn more.

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