In 1958, The American Legion gave its Distinguished Service Medal to the unknown servicemen of World War I, World War II and the Korean War, who live only in the memories of their comrades and families, with no known final resting place. They didn't earn every honor imaginable, nor did they achieve the highest rank. Nonetheless, these men and women died fighting for the nation's freedom.
As Congress prepared to recognize World War II and Korean War unknowns on Memorial Day in 1958, remains of these unknowns were to be interred alongside unknown servicemen from World War I at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va. The Legion extended its recognition to all three wars.
The center of any visit to Arlington is a stop at the Tomb of the Unknowns, where visitors stand atop a hill overlooking the nation's capital, silently honoring those who served their country and died for our freedoms.
With utmost precision, the honor guard walks by the marble tomb in 30-minute shifts year-round, regardless of the elements.
The site dates to 1921, when Congress approved the burial of an unidentified U.S. soldier from World War I in the plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater.
West of the World War I Unknown are crypts for unknowns from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. White marble slabs mark these graves. Because the Vietnam War veteran was later identified through DNA testing, his body was exhumed in 1998, and the crypt remains empty.
For more on the Tomb of the Unknowns, click here: (http://www.arlingtoncemetery.org/visitor_information/tomb_of_the_unknown...).