Local residents will soon have the opportunity to pay tribute and honor fallen soldiers before a replica of the Tomb of the Unknowns.
This exact replica will be on display June 6-8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wilson County Veterans Museum located in Lebanon.
The traveling exhibition “A Call To Honor: The Traveling Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Replica” is sponsored by the museum and The Exchange Club of West Wilson County.
“Bringing the replica to Wilson County is deeply important to providing access to one of the nation’s most sacred places,” said Nancy Britt, president of The Exchange Club of West Wilson County.
“I have had the distinct honor of seeing the original Tomb of the Unknowns,” she said. “This may very well be the closest some may get to viewing the original.”
“To be an active part in enabling this exhibit to be set up in Wilson County means a great bit of joy to me,” Britt continued. “I can’t guarantee I won’t shed a tear or two knowing what this replica, and the original, symbolizes to our Veteran community. Exhibits like this serve a greater purpose though. They enrich the culture of the community where they are displayed. I firmly believe this adds context to the sacrifices our servicemen and women make to keep this nation free. It is truly the land of the free because of the brave.”
Retired U.S. Air Force Major Bill King, chair of the Americanism Committee for The Exchange Club of Rome, Georgia and other club members will be on hand to educate the public about the Tomb.
The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of the Memorial Amphitheater on March 4, 1921.
The Arlington National Cemetery describes the original tomb as a white marble sarcophagus with a flat-faced form, relieved at the corners and along the sides by neo-classic pilasters set into the surface.
Sculpted into the east panel, which faces Washington, D.C., are three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory and Valor. The six wreaths — three sculpted on each side — represent the six major campaigns of World War I. Inscribed on the back of the Tomb are the words, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”
The Tomb was placed above the grave of the Unknown Soldier of World War I. West of the World War I Unknown are the crypts of unknowns from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Those three graves are marked with white marble slabs flush with the plaza.
It is requested that observers follow the same reverence at the replica as shown at the actual Tomb of the Unknowns. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed.