For one hundred years, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has served as the nation’s most cherished shrine to the country’s fallen military soldiers. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: A Century of Honor, 1921-2021, tells in detail this amazing story within the context of American history. Following a tradition established by the British and French, an American unknown from the Great War was interred on the plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater on Armistice Day 1921. The hastily build, simple marble sarcophagus served as the nation’s primary monument to the Unknown until the addition of the more elaborate and current die stone in 1932. In 1958, unknowns from World War II and the Korean War were buried in separate crypts in front of the main monument. A Vietnam unknown was designated and buried in 1984 but his body would be later disinterred and identified through the use of new DNA technology.
Professor Bigler spent two years conducting primary source research at the National Archives, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Eisenhower Library, the Library of Congress and other national repositories. His investigation has resulted in the most complete and well-documented history of the Tomb ever compiled and includes many newly discovered facts and fascinating details. The book includes comprehensive chapters on the selection of all of the American unknowns as well as on the subsequent identification of the Vietnam unknown as 1LT Michael Blassie (USAF). Likewise, there are detailed chapters on the construction and dedication of the Memorial Amphitheater as well as on the Tomb sentinels. The book also includes a complete historical timeline, several informative appendices, extensive end notes and a comprehensive bibliography.