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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Has Opened to the Public for the First Time in Almost 100 Years

Visitors can walk around and lay flowers on the memorial in this special two-day event before Veterans Day.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user, Tony Fischer

Arlington National Cemetery has opened up the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to the public for the first time in nearly a century.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, visitors can walk on the plaza and lay flowers in front of the Tomb. The privilege is typically given only to members of “The Old Guard,” or sentinels of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment who stand watch at the memorial.

The memorial will be open from 9 AM-4 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday. Visitors must register for the event, bring a government-issued ID, and are encouraged to bring their own single-stem flowers. But complimentary roses, gerbera daisies, and sunflowers will be distributed.

This special event precedes a procession and flyover on Veteran’s Day that is reminiscent of the World War I Unknown Soldier’s 1921 funeral procession. The public can watch by standing along a special procession route inside Arlington National Cemetery. After the procession, there will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial.

Find more information about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration events here.

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Damare Baker
Assistant Editor

Before becoming an assistant editor, Damare Baker started out as an editorial fellow for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.