Tomb of the Unknown Soldier opens to public for first time in nearly a century

For the first time in nearly 100 years, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery is open to visitors for two days, honoring the memorial's centennial.

Arlington National Cemetery said in a statement that the open hours on Tuesday and Wednesday mark a "rare opportunity for the public to walk next to the Tomb—a privilege otherwise given only to the Sentinels of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment or 'The Old Guard.'"

The move comes just ahead of Veterans Day on Thursday.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has served as the symbolic final resting place for unidentified or missing American soldiers — and specifically the final resting place since 1921 for three unknown U.S. service members from World War I. 

Visitors, who were required to register online before the event ran out of passes, will be able to visit and lay complimentary flowers at the memorial from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Walk-ups might also be permitted.

"As you lay your flower, we at Arlington encourage you to reflect on the meaning of the Tomb. By the simple act of laying a flower, you are not only honoring the three unknowns buried here but all unknown or missing American service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation," Tim Frank, the Arlington National Cemetery's historian, said during Tuesday's opening ceremony, according to CNN.

There will also be a joint service flyover with aircraft from all branches of the military, along with an invite-only wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which President BidenTomb of the Unknown Soldier opens to public for first time in nearly a centuryJoe BidenNicaragua's Ortega set to win election amid international criticism Rep. Gosar posts anime video showing him striking Biden, Ocasio-Cortez Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Activists cry foul over COP26 draft MORE is scheduled to attend.

Tags Joe Biden Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of the Unknown Soldier