Year
1921
Month Day
November 11

Dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Exactly three years after the end of World War I, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia during an Armistice Day ceremony presided over by President Warren G. Harding.

Two days before, an unknown American soldier, who had fallen somewhere on a World War I battlefield, arrived at the nation’s capital from a military cemetery in France. On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding and other government, military, and international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The Tomb of the Unknown Solider is considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery, America’s most sacred military cemetery. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

In 1998, a Vietnam War unknown, who was buried at the tomb for 14 years, was disinterred from the Tomb after DNA testing indicated his identity. Air Force Lieutenant Michael Blassie was returned to his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, and was buried with military honors, including an F-15 jet “missing man” flyover and a lone bugler sounding taps.

READ MORE: The Last Official Death of WWI Was a Man Who Sought Redemption

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Poor leadership leads to Cherry Valley Massacre

On November 11, 1778, Patriot Colonel Ichabod Alden refuses to believe intelligence about an approaching hostile force. As a result, a combined force of Loyalists and Native Americans, attacking in the snow, killed more than 40 Patriots, including Alden, and took at least an ...read more

Armistice Day: World War I ends

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First ...read more

Nat Turner executed in Virginia

Nat Turner, the leader of a bloody revolt of enslaved people in Southampton County, Virginia, is hanged in Jerusalem, the county seat. Turner, an enslaved man and educated minister, believed that he was chosen by God to lead his people out of slavery. On August 21, 1831, he ...read more

Louisa May Alcott publishes her first story

The Saturday Evening Gazette publishes “The Rival Painters: A Story of Rome,” by Louisa May Alcott, who will later write the beloved children’s book Little Women (1868). Alcott, the second of four daughters, was born in Pennsylvania but spent most of her life in Concord, ...read more

Police make a grisly discovery in Dorothea Puente’s lawn

Authorities unearth a corpse buried in the lawn of 59-year-old Dorothea Puente’s home in Sacramento, California. Puente operated a residential home for elderly people, and an investigation led to the discovery of six more bodies buried on her property. Puente was a diagnosed ...read more

Soviet Union refuses to play Chile in World Cup Soccer

The Soviet Union announces that, because of its opposition to the recent overthrow of the government of Chilean President Salvador Allende, it would not play a World Cup Soccer match against the Chilean team on November 21, if the match were held in Santiago.  The International ...read more

The General Lee jumps into history in “The Dukes of Hazzard”

On November 11, 1978, a stuntman on the Georgia set of “The Dukes of Hazzard” launches the show’s iconic automobile, a 1969 Dodge Charger named the General Lee, off a makeshift dirt ramp and over a police car. That jump, 16 feet high and 82 feet long (its landing totaled the ...read more

World War I ends

At 11 o’clock in the morning of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I–known at the time as the Great War–comes to an end. By the end of autumn 1918, the alliance of the Central Powers was unraveling in its war effort against the better supplied and coordinated ...read more

Draft age is lowered to 18

On November 11, 1942, Congress approves lowering the draft age to 18 and raising the upper limit to age 37. In September 1940, Congress, by wide margins in both houses, passed the Burke-Wadsworth Act, and the first peacetime draft was imposed in the history of the United States. ...read more