Issue 5-11-14 Website - page 11

“Flags In”
On the Historical Society’s
recent trip to Washington D.C.
it was important for us to visit
Arlington Cemetery. And
although it was a cold windy
andverywet, day,we all left the
comfort of ourwarmbus towalk
over to theTombof theUnknown
Soldier towatch the changingof
the guard.
The ceremony is based on
the highest military honor, the
marches twenty one steps, then
faces east for 21 seconds and
north for21seconds. Hemarches
back21stepsand faceseast for21
secondsandsouth for21seconds.
Theguardsareallmembersof the
3rd U.S. Infantry known as the
“Old Guard” which has served
this nation since 1784. No other
army unit has served longer.
It was given its name by
General Winfield Scott during
a victory parade during the
MexicanWar in 1847. In 1948,
on the graves in Arlington and
also the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s
Cemetery for Memorial Day.
Every available member of the
“OldGuard”helps toplace nearly
300,000flagson thegraves, all in
three hours. The event is called
“Flags In.” (On Saturday, May
24, beginning at 9:00 am at
Macpelah Cemetery, a group of
gravesites. Everyone is invited to
help. Volunteers also place flags
at St FrancisCemetery. )
The Tomb of the Unknown
Soldier was established in 1921
with the burial of an unknown
WordWar I serviceman brought
back from France. The large
marble monument was not
completed and dedicated until
1932. The stone was quarried
from the Yule Marble Quarry
for the Lincoln Memorial and
other monuments was obtained.
The large marble block was
shipped to Rutland, Vermont,
where it was sawn and dressed.
Then itwasshipped toArlington
where it was carved by two
Piccirilli under the direction of
artist Thomas Jones.
The Piccirilli brothers also
carved the colossal statue
of Lincoln in the Lincoln
Monument. The family, Attilio
andFurio, their fourbrothersand
their father came from Tuscany,
Italy in 1888. They lived in the
Bronx and gained a reputation
for theirskillsassculptors. (They
also sculpted the two lions at the
entrance of the New York City
There are three Greek figures
carved in the panel that faces
Washington,D.C.They represent
Peace, Victory andValor.When
but was later renamed. The
Western panel is inscribed with
the famous words: “Here rests
in honored glory an American
soldier known but toGod.”
Many years ago, cracks
appeared in the 48-ton marble
tomb. Several attempts were
made to fill the cracks but they
kept reappearing and were
getting larger. Therewere plans
to completely replace the tomb
with a new piece of marble, but
it was discovered that the new
marble would eventually crack
just like the original.
In the meantime, preser-
vationists insisted that thecracks
couldbe sealedand that itwould
bea travesty to totally replace the
original monument. It was also
determined that the cracks were
not structural, however, they
were very noticeable.
Whenwewereat the tomb, the
rain and wind were so severe, I
don’t think that anyone noticed
the cracks. During the past
couple of years, severe weather
in Washington has prompted
orders for the guards to seek
shelter, but in every case, the
orders were ignored. The tomb
remains guarded, twenty four
hours a day, seven days aweek.
A tribute to the Americans who
paid the ultimate price for our
If you know of anyone from
LeRoy buried at Arlington,
please let us know.
Aswe turn to springand look forward to summer
activities, Botts-FioritoPost #576would like to
encourage asmany homes and businesses to fly the
American flag, especially on the following days:
MemorialDay -
May 26th
FlagDay -
June 14th
IndependenceDay - July 4th
LaborDay -
There is nothing like seeing the
Stars&Stripes flying in the breeze.
Please consider this proposal tofly the
National Colors as a symbol of Americanism.
1...,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20
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