Mayor Kelly Yaede to Place Wreath at Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in August; Invites Hamilton Veterans to Join in Trip to Arlington National Cemetery
The words on the website of the Society of the Honor Guard Tomb of the Unknown Soldier provide a simple, but poignant message: “Soldiers never die until they are forgotten; tomb guards never forget.”
In August, Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede will be traveling to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and is inviting Hamilton veterans to join in the trip to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (also known as the Tomb of the Unknowns, although never officially named) was established in 1921. The Unknown Soldiers that were laid to rest at the Tomb – from World War I, World War II, and the Korean War – represent all missing and unknown service members who made the ultimate sacrifice. A tomb crypt also exists for the Vietnam War Unknown; however it has been determined that the crypt will remain vacant.
“Hamilton Township is a community that recognizes the sacrifices made by all of our veterans – as evidenced by our Veterans Park and its numerous memorials to those who have served in defense of our freedom. As Mayor, when I place this memorial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, I will do so on behalf of our entire community as a reminder that Hamilton Township remembers those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us all,” says Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede.
Mayor Yaede is scheduled to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on August 15, 2014; and to help Hamilton veterans who may wish to attend, Mayor Yaede has organized a bus to provide transportation. Seating for Hamilton veterans will be provided on a “first-come, first serve” as long as bus capacity remains; and Hamilton veterans are asked to RSVP by August 1st by contacting the Mayor’s Office at 609.890.3503. There is no charge for Hamilton veterans who are able to attend, thanks to a sponsorship by the Sorce company and transportation by Starr Tours. Additionally a free, boxed lunch will be provided thanks to Fred & Pete’s Deli & Catering.
At the formal ceremony, scheduled for 11:15 AM, Mayor Yaede will place a wreath on behalf of Hamilton Township, followed by a salute and the playing of “Taps” by a bugler. Attendees can witness the Changing of the Guard Ritual at 11 a.m., prior to the ceremony, or at 11:30 a.m., after the ceremony.
The Tomb of the Unknowns is solemnly protected by Tomb Guards and has been guarded daily – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – since 1937. Since 1948, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard"), which is the United States Army's official ceremonial unit, has maintained a 24-hour vigil at the Tomb.
While guarding the Tomb, soldiers (known as "Sentinels") take 21 steps – chosen for symbolizing the highest military honor: the 21-gun salute – then stop on the 21st step, changing their weapon to the outside shoulder, and begin another 21 step walk across the Tomb of the Unknowns. The procedure is repeated until the guard is relieved.
The Changing of the Guard Ritual occurs every thirty minutes from April 1st to September 30th of each year and every hour from October 1st to March 31st.