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Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
A Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a monument dedicated to the services of an unknown soldier and to the common memories of all soldiers killed in war. Such tombs can be found in many nations and are usually high-profile national monuments. Throughout history, many soldiers have died in war with their remains being unidentified. Following World War I, a movement arose to commemorate these soldiers with a single tomb, containing the body of one such unidentified soldier.
France and the United Kingdom
During the First World War, the British and French armies who were allies during the war jointly decided to bury soldiers themselves. In the UK, under the Imperial War Graves Commission (now Commonwealth War Graves Commission), the 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".
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 the UK 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. At the same time, a similar concern grew in France. In November 1916, a local officer of Le Souvenir français proposed the idea of burying "an unknown soldier" in the Panthéon. A formal bill was presented in Parliament in November 1918. The decision was voted into law on September 1919.
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 the UK, 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, the United States unveiled its own Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Portugal its Túmulo do Soldado Desconhecido, and Italy its La tomba del Milite Ignoto. Other nations have followed the practice and created their own tombs.
In Chile and Ukraine, second 'unknown tombs' were unveiled to commemorate The Unknown Sailor.
The Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers typically contain the remains of a dead soldier who is unidentified (or "known but to God" as the stone is sometimes inscribed). These remains are considered impossible to identify, and so serve as a symbol for all of a country's unknown dead wherever they fell in the war being remembered. The anonymity of the entombed soldier is the key symbolism of the monument; it could be the tomb of anyone who fell in service of the nation, and therefore serves as a monument symbolizing all of the sacrifices.
Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers from around the world and various wars include the following:
|Argentina||Metropolitan Cathedral in Buenos Aires||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Argentine War of Independence|
|National Flag Memorial in Rosario||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier|
|Armenia||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Victory Park in Yerevan||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; commemorates the victory of the Soviet Union in World War II|
|Australia||Australian War Memorial in Canberra||The tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.|
|Austria||Outer Palace Gate at the Heldenplatz in Vienna||Within the 1818 neo-classical gateway to the Hofburg, the former Imperial Palace.|
|Bangladesh||Jatiyo Smriti Soudho in Savar Upazila||Jatiyo Sriti Shoudhor National Martyrs' Memorial is the national monument of Bangladesh for those who gave their lives in the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971, many of whom were buried in mass graves in that park. The monument is located in Savar, about 35 km north-west of the capital, Dhaka. It was designed by Syed Mainul Hossain.|
|Shikha Onirban or 'Eternal Flame' in Dhaka||Shikha Onirban was built to commemorate the valour and the sacrifices of Bangladesh Armed Forces Soldiers died in the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.|
|Belgium||Congress Column in Brussels||The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the base of the location.|
|Bolivia||Monumento al Soldado Desconocido in La Paz||The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, center piece of the location.|
|Brazil||Monument to the dead of World War II, Flamengo Park in Rio de Janeiro.||The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the monument's platform.|
|Brazilian Monument and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of World War II, near Pistoia, Italy.||Votive Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, with monument pavilion.|
|Bulgaria||Monument to the Unknown Soldier in Sofia|
|Monument to the Unknown Soldier in Haskovo.|
|Canada||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial, in Ottawa||The tomb is located next to the National War Memorial in Confederation Square in Ottawa. It contains the remains of a Canadian soldier from World War I, who was buried near Vimy Ridge.|
|Chile||General Manuel Baquedano Square in Santiago||Contains the remains of a soldier who died in 1881 during the War of the Pacific.|
|Plaza de la Ciudadanía (Citizenship Square), Santiago||Contains the remains of a soldier found in Perú. Died in 1881 during the War of the Pacific.|
|Cripta del Morro de Arica (Morro de Arica Crypt), Arica||Contains the remains of a soldier found in 1998. Died during the War of the Pacific.|
|Unknown Sailor Monument||A monument built in honor to the sailors that fought and died in the Battle of Iquique, a naval battle off the coast of Chile.|
|Colombia||Plaza y Monumento de los Caídos on Centro Administrativo Nacional in Bogotá|
|Czech Republic||National Monument on Vítkov Hill in Prague||Contains remains of an unknown Czechoslovak soldier fallen at the Battle of Zborov as well as an unknown Czechoslovak soldier fallen at the Battle of Dukla, a part of a larger memorial to all Czechoslovak soldiers.|
|Dominican Republic||Flag Square of Santo Domingo||The Arc of the Square contains the tomb of the soldier who died for the freedom of the Dominicans in the Dominican War of Independence.|
|Egypt||Unknown Soldier Memorial in Cairo||Also includes the tomb of President Anwar Sadat.|
|Alexandria Naval Unknown Soldier Memorial|
|Estonia||Defence Forces Cemetery in Tallinn|
|Finland||Hietaniemi cemetery in Helsinki||In the centre of the military cemetery are the tombs of the unknown soldier and Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim.|
|France||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile in Paris|
|Gambia||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier behind Arch 22 in Banjul|
|Georgia||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Tblisi||Located in Vake Park|
|Germany||Unter den Linden, Berlin||Within a 19th-century guardhouse, the Neue Wache.|
|Greece||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Syntagma Square in Athens||
|Hungary||Heroes' Square in Budapest||The Memorial Stone of Heroes (Hősök emlékköve) is a low stone cenotaph surrounded by an ornamental iron chain. The cenotaph is dedicated "To the memory of the heroes who gave their lives for the freedom of our people and our national independence."|
|India||Amar Jawan Jyoti, New Delhi||Burning in a shrine under the arch of India Gate since 1971 is the Amar Jawan Jyoti (the flame of the immortal soldier) which marks the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The shrine itself is a black marble cenotaph with a rifle placed on its barrel, crested by a soldier's helmet. Each face of the cenotaph has inscribed in gold the words "Amar Jawan" (Immortal Warrior) in Hindi (Devanagri script). The Prime Minister of India pays homage to the country's fallen soldiers along with the Chiefs of Staff of each arm of the Armed Forces on each Republic Day of India.|
|Indonesia||The Pandu war cemetery at Bandung||The Field of Honor is a memorial to the unknown soldier. There is also the Tomb of the Unknown (Dutch) Sailor in Kembang Kuning war cemetery in Surabaya.|
|Iran||Chizar, Tehran||In Iran, unknown soldiers are buried in public places. Chizar is the largest of all.|
|Behesht Zahra, Tehran|
|Unknown Soldier Park, Tehran|
|Iraq||The Monument to the Unknown Soldier, in Grand Festivities Square, Zawra Park, Baghdad||Three monuments in Zawra Park commemorate Iraq's fallen soldiers; The Monument to the Unknown Soldier (pictured), the Victory Arch (completed in 1989) and the Al-Shaheed Monument (also known as the Martyrs' Monument, completed in 1983). The Monument to the Unknown Soldier was constructed between 1979 and 1982, and replaced an earlier Unknown Soldier's Monument built in 1959 in a different location, but dismantled when the current monument was inaugurated.|
|Israel||National Memorial Hall For Israel's Fallen, Mount Herzl in Jerusalem||The Eternal Flame Monument to Unknown Soldiers.|
|Italy||Piazza Venezia in Rome||The Tomb of the Milite Ignoto in the Altare della Patria (Vittoriano).|
|Japan||Chidorigafuchi National Cemetery in Tokyo|
|Ryozen Kannon in Kyoto|
|Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the World in Ogose, Saitama|
|Dai Heiwa Kinen Tō in Tondabayashi, Osaka|
|Jordan||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Amman||Source: |
|Lebanon||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Lebanon, Beirut, Mathaf||The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Lebanon represents the forming and independence of the Lebanese Armed Forces from the French Army in 1943. The tomb also commemorates soldiers of the Legion of Orient and the Army of the Levant during the French Mandate of Lebanon from 1920 to 1943. The cenotaph in the middle includes a Cedrus libani tree surrounded by a laurel; the main symbol of Roman Legions. Around the cedar tree and laurel reads in Arabic : "Glory and Immortality for our Martyred Heroes". Behind the cenotaph are original Roman Columns.|
|Lithuania||Vienybės Square in Kaunas||Tomb of Nežinomas kareivis, with remains of soldier who died in fights against Bolsheviks in 1919.|
|Malaysia||National Monument in Kuala Lumpur||Completed in 1966 to commemorate combatants who fought against Japanese occupation of pre-independence Malaysia in World War II and the Malayan Races Liberation Army insurgency during the Malayan Emergency. Also includes a pre-independence cenotaph, which was shifted from its original location closer to the old town of Kuala Lumpur, commemorating the war dead of World War I, World War II and the Malayan Emergency.|
|Mauritius||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Curepipe|
|Namibia||Heroes' Acre in Windhoek||The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier contains soil from Cassinga and Oshatotwa from the Namibian War of Independence.|
|New Zealand||Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, National War Memorial in Wellington|
|Nigeria||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Eagle Square, Abuja.||Statue of the Unknown Soldier, at the Eagle Square, Abuja, formerly located in Idumota, Lagos as Soldier Idumota, the tomb was relocated to Abuja.|
|Peru||Plaza Bolivar in Lima||Contains the remains of a soldier who died in 1881 during the War of the Pacific.|
|Philippines||Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig||Contains the remains of Filipino soldiers who have joined the military and served on the Philippine Revolution, Philippine–American War and World War II.|
|Poland||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Marshall Józef Piłsudski Square in Warsaw||Constructed as the arcade of Saxon Palace, which was destroyed by the Germans in 1944. Contains the remains of a soldier who died between 1918 and 1920.|
|Portugal||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Batalha Monastery|
|Romania||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Carol Park in Bucharest|
|Russia||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Alexander Garden in Moscow|
|Serbia||Monument to the Unknown Hero on Mt. Avala near Belgrade||Memorial was built on the place where an unknown Serbian World War I soldier was buried.|
|Slovenia||Monument to the Unknown French Soldier, French Revolution Square in Ljubljana|
|Somalia||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Mogadishu||A monument erected in honour of the Somali men and women who died in defense of the Somali Republic. It's popularly known as Daljirka Dahsoon, and it is an important landmark in Mogadishu.|
|Spain||Monumento a los Caídos por España, Plaza de la Lealtad in Madrid||Popularly known as the Obelisco ("Obelisk"), it is built on the same place where General Joachim Murat ordered the execution of numerous Spaniards after the Dos de Mayo Uprising of 1808. Originally inaugurated on 2 May 1840, it was re-inaugurated on 22 November 1985, by Juan Carlos I of Spain as a remembrance to all those who gave their life for Spain. An eternal flame fuelled by gas has been constantly burning on the front of the monument.|
|Syria||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Damascus|
|Turkey||Çanakkale Martyrs' Memorial on Gallipoli||Erected for the unknown martyrs of the Çanakkale Front, which was the arena for the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. Opened on 20 August 1960. Another monument[which?] at the same site is for the foreign soldiers (mostly Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) lost in the same clash.|
|Ukraine||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Dnieper Park in Kyiv|
|Monument to the Unknown Sailor, Shevchenko Park in Odessa|
|United Kingdom||Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, Westminster Abbey in London|
|United States||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia|||
|Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, Washington Square in Philadelphia|
|Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution|
|Civil War Unknowns Monument, Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia||Contains the remains of 2,211 unknown Union and Confederate soldiers from Civil War battlefields.|
|Tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier at Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi|
|Uruguay||El Entrevero at Plaza Fabini in Montevideo||Inaugurated in 1967 in honor of the Oriental Revolution its inscription reads in spanish: "The Fatherland pays tribute to its anonymous heroes, who in the solitude of the fields lost their lives in the sacrifice for their ideals".|
|Uzbekistan||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Mustaqillik Maydoni in Tashkent||Created in 1975, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated to the Uzbek soldiers who served in the Red Army during World War II.|
|Venezuela||Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Carabobo Field, Carabobo||Contains the remains of a Venezuelan soldier who died in 1824 during the Battle of Ayacucho.|
|Vietnam||Monument of Heroic Martyrs in Hanoi||The monument to Heroic Martyrs is dedicated to the wounded and fallen soldiers who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for Vietnam national liberation, independence, freedom and the happiness of the people.|
|Zimbabwe||Statue of the Unknown Soldier at the National Heroes Acre, Harare|
- Henry Allingham, Dennis Goodwin (2011). Kitchener's Last Volunteer: The Life of Henry Allingham, the Oldest Surviving Veteran of the Great War. p. 132. Random House, 1976
- (in French) Jean-Yves Le Naour, Le soldat inconnu : la guerre, la mort, la mémoire, Gallimard, 2008, p. 20
- Kwon, Heonik (2008). Ghosts of War in Vietnam. Cambridge University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-521-88061-9.
- Wagner, Sarah (2013). "The making and unmaking of an unknown soldier". Social Studies of Science. 43 (5): 631–656. doi:10.1177/0306312713484646. JSTOR 43284199.
- "The Unknown Soldier Memorial in Haskovo".
- "National War Memorial". ottawakiosk.com. Archived from the original on 18 May 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
- Thucydides (1942). "2.34.3". Historiae in two volumes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available online at the Perseus Project.
- Thucydides (1942). "2.43.3". Historiae in two volumes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Available online at the Perseus Project.
- "Netherlands war cemeteries in Indonesia", Netherlands War Graves Foundation
- "Lebanese Ground Forces". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 8 December 2008.
- "LAF History". Lebanese Armed Forces. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
- "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
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