Thousands of people are visiting Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day weekend. Arlington is Ground Zero for honoring and remembering the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice so Americans can enjoy freedom every day of the year.
The hallowed ground is the final resting place for more than 400,000 fallen warriors from the United States and 11 countries, as well as their families, including President John F. Kennedy:
— Arlington Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) May 28, 2018
But beyond those whose names are engraved in the sea of tombstones, the one grave that is protected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
Those entombed there represent the fallen from World War 1. Two more crypts on the site hold the remains of the Unknowns from the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
But because of the modern means of identifying remains, one soldier has been identified, according to the cemetery’s website:
The remains of the Vietnam Unknown were exhumed May 14, 1998. Based on mitochondrial DNA testing, DoD scientists identified the remains as those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. It has been decided that the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam Unknown will remain vacant. The crypt cover has been replaced with one that has the inscription “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen, 1958-1975.”
The inscription on the back of the tomb reads, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God:
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