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Woodrow Wilson’s Role in Honoring the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

Learn about President Woodrow Wilson's role in honoring the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. Explore the historic events surrounding this momentous occasion, including the Evening Public Ledger's coverage and Wilson's visit to the Tomb of the Unknowns. Visit Woodrow Wilson House for more information.
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Here’s a video I came across on YouTube of the old president and recently inaugurated one attending the burial ceremony of the Unknown Soldier. President Wilson was instrumental in honoring those “unknown but to God” by having them interred in the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

The ceremony made all the national and local evening papers that day. Below is Philadelphia’s Evening Public Ledger (for only 2 cents) from November 11th, 1921.

Evening Public Ledger - Friday, November 11th, 1921
Evening Public Ledger – Friday, November 11th, 1921

Below is the photo on the front page of the paper (sorry for the slow download – it’s slightly higher resolution). The photo was taken by the Public Ledger’s photographer as it was being removed from the Capitol, getting ready for the slow march to Arlington National Cemetery.

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Ready for the start to Arlington - Unknown Soldier
Ready for the start to Arlington – Unknown Soldier

Here’s something I found on the Woodrow Wilson House website (if you haven’t visited, you should):

On his last official day in office, March 4, 1921, Woodrow Wilson also set into motion another of our Veterans Day traditions, the honoring of those fallen in battle “unknown but to God.” As Wilson arrived at the Capitol for the inauguration of his successor, Warren G. Harding, he went to the President’s Room in the Senate and signed the legislation that designated the interment of the remains of an Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery. Later that day, Wilson moved to his new home at 2340 S Street in Washington, which is now the Woodrow Wilson House. On November 11, 1921, former President Wilson attended the ceremonies in the Rotunda of the Capitol for the Unknown Soldier and later that day he returned to his home to greet the crowd that had gathered there.

Little known fact: Woodrow Wilson is the only president buried in Washington, D.C. He is buried in Washington National Cathedral.

UPDATE: I was just made aware of the Woodrow Wilson House blog. You should check it out and check out the house.

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