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A Tomb of the Unknown Soldier refers to a monument in dedication to the services of an unidentified soldier and to the common memories of all soldiers killed in any war. Such tombs can be found in many nations and are usually high-profile national monuments. Throughout history, many soldiers have died in wars without their remains being identified. Following the First World War, a movement arose to commemorate these soldiers with a single tomb, containing the body of one such unidentified soldier.
During the First World War, the British and French armies jointly decided to bury soldiers themselves. In Britain, under the Imperial War Graves Commission, Reverend David Railton had seen a grave marked by a rough cross while serving in the British Army as a chaplain on the Western Front, which bore the pencil-written legend "An Unknown British Soldier".[1] He suggested (together with the French in their own country) the creation at a national level of a symbolic funeral and burial of an "Unknown Warrior", proposing that the grave should in Britain include a national monument in the form of what is usually, but not in this particular case, a headstone. The idea received the support of the Dean of Westminster, Prime Minister David Lloyd George, and later from King George V, responding to a wave of public support.[1] At the same time, there was a similar undertaking in France, where the idea was debated and agreed upon in Parliament.
The United Kingdom and France conducted services connected with their 'monumental' graves (as presumably newly conceived, and in any case approved, by their respective armies) on Armistice Day 1920 (the burial itself taking place later in January of the following year in France). In Britain, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior was created at Westminster Abbey, while in France La tombe du soldat inconnu was placed in the Arc de Triomphe. The idea of a symbolic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier then spread to other countries. In 1921, tombs were unveiled in the United States, Portugal and Italy. Since then, other nations have followed the practice and installed their own tombs. In the United States, further tombs have subsequently been created in order to represent different wars seen as key in its history.In Chile and Ukraine, a second tomb was unveiled to commemorate The Unknown Sailor.The tombs typically contain the remains of a dead soldier who is unidentified (or "known but to God" as the stone is sometimes inscribed)[2] and thought to be impossible ever to identify, so that he might serve as a symbol for all of the unknown dead wherever they fell. The anonymity of the entombed soldier is key to the symbolism of the monument: since his identity is unknown, it could theoretically be the tomb of anyone who fell in service of the nation in question, and therefore serves as a monument to all of their sacrifices. Much work goes into trying to find a certain soldier, and to verify that it is indeed one of the relevant nation's soldiers.

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Additional Photos by Chris Vekris (chrisvek) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 793 W: 11 N: 1384] (7003)
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