As part of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration, the public will be able to pay their respects at the Tomb of Unknown Soldier in a way they haven’t been able to for a hundred years — by laying a flower at the tomb.
“It has been decades since the American public, other than for wreath ceremonies, has been able to step foot on the tomb plaza,” said Mike Binetti, chief of staff at Arlington National Cemetery.
That changes Tuesday and Wednesday, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Binetti said members of the public who want to take part must sign up for a time slot online.
Sentinels, including the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, “The Old Guard,” have kept watch over the tomb 24 hours a day, seven days a week but the public hasn’t been allowed near the tomb since 1921.
“This will be a very special opportunity to be able to go a little bit closer to where the sentinels normally are,” Binetti said.
During the two-day event, the sentinels will stand guard on the front side of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza.
Members of the public who sign up are encouraged to bring their own flowers, but for those without, flowers will be provided.
After the flower ceremony on Tuesday and Wednesday, a full honors procession will mark Veterans Day on the hallowed ground, including a joint-service flyover with aircraft from all branches of the military.
“I think events coming up next week, up through Veterans Day, really help to connect the American people present with service members and family members past and help to make a personal and professional, emotional and historic connection between those who have come before them and lead a life of service,” Binetti said.