Tomb of the Unknown Soldier opens to public for first time in nearly a century
For decades, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery has drawn crowds to honor unidentified service members who died in U.S. wars. But for the first time in nearly a century, the public was briefly allowed to walk on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza and place flowers near the memorial.
For two days, some visited in uniform with families in tow, some saluted and others put their hands over their hearts. Visitors placed thousands of flowers as a thank you, and when the pile got too high, service members made room for more.
Darrell Bush, a 96-year-old veteran who served in the Army during World War II, was among those visiting Wednesday.
"I thought one time I would be an unknown," Bush said. "I was one of the lucky ones."
He was shot five times during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Bush lost his dog tags when he was shot and woke up in the hospital without the identifying necklace. Of 132 in his company, he said about eight or nine of them survived.
"It's an honor," Bush said of laying a flower at the Tomb of the Unknown, adding that the emotion would not "hit me until I get home."
Bush visited the tomb with his wife, Dorothy, who he's been married to for 78 years. "I kept thanking God that he was safe," she says of his time in the service.
When asked how she gives back, she said, "I think you treat other people the way you'd like to be treated. Even a little difference goes a long way."
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