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The Chrisman Shakespeare Club met on Thursday, November 11th at Randall Manor with eleven members present with Nancy Hodge and Trudi Brinkley as hostesses. Guests that arrived were served the choice of teas and coffee. Dessert for the meeting was ‘Better Than Anything’ cake, made from a chocolate cake with caramel inside. Whipped cream and toffee was on top.
Minutes from the previous meeting was approved and a Thanksgiving card was signed and sent out to member, LuLuBelle Wright.
Members also discussed the menu for their Christmas Luncheon that is set for December 9th at the home of Club President Nancy Harper with Front Street Market to prepare the meal. In lieu of the gift exchange, members decided to donate to a charity of their choice.
Roll Call for the meeting was the city where you were born. Some answers were Danville, Kankakee, Mattoon, and some were born in their own home. Others could even remember the doctor who delivered them.
Mrs. Hodge had the program for the meeting. With it being Veterans Day, Nancy chose a program on the 100th Anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which was that day.
The Department of Defense began the celebration with a year long commemoration. This commemoration was directed by the 2017 National Defense Authorization act. The commemoration was inaugurated on November 18th, 2020 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Events included a time capsule from 2020, a free educational module for learners of all ages, an official commemorative publication and a ceremony where visitors can place flowers on the tomb plaza.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is Arlington National Cemetery’s most iconic memorial. The neoclassical, white marble sarcophagus stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. Since 1921, it has provided a final resting place for one of America’s unidentified World War I service members, and Unknowns from later wars were added in 1958 and 1984. The Tomb has also served as a place of mourning and a site for reflection on military service.
In March 1926, soldiers from nearby Fort Myer were first assigned to guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The guards, present only during daylight hours, discouraged visitors from climbing or stepping on the Tomb. In 1937, the guards became a 24/7 presence, standing watch over the Unknown Soldier at all times.
The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” was designated as the Army’s official ceremonial unit on April 6, 1948. At that time, The Old Guard began guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Soldiers of The Old Guard also serve as escorts to the president and conduct military ceremonies in and around Washington, D.C., including military funeral escorts at Arlington National Cemetery.
Soldiers who volunteer to become Tomb Guards must undergo a strict selection process and intensive training. Each element of the Tomb Guard’s routine has meaning. The Guard marches 21 steps down the black mat behind the Tomb, turns and faces east for 21 seconds, turns and faces north for 21 seconds, and then takes 21 steps down the mat.
Next, the Guard executes a sharp “shoulder-arms” movement to place his/her weapon on the shoulder closest to the visitors, signifying that he or she stands between the Tomb and any possible threat.
The number 21 symbolizes the highest symbolic military honor that can be bestowed: the 21-gun salute.
Laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has long been a way for individuals and organizations to honor the sacrifices of American service members.
Presidents, politicians, public figures and foreign dignitaries have all paid their respects in this way. Honor Flights, which honor our nation’s veterans with all-expense paid trips to see the memorials in Washington, D.C., almost always visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and sometimes lay wreaths.
The opportunity to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony is also open to the general public, including school groups. In addition, each year, millions of people from around the world visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Some visit to honor military service and sacrifice; some to mourn a loved one; and some because of the Tomb’s historical and national significance.
One hundred years after the World War I Unknown’s burial, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier continues to be a powerful symbol of service and sacrifice, mourning and memory.