Commemorating the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Seize the day!

by Lacy Saye

This is a story that will inspire and move you, especially if you’re an educational traveler. Any teacher, student or parent participating in a DC class trip will agree that one of the highlights of the trip is Arlington National Cemetery. What’s even more special for Tour Sponsors, is watching four of their students lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s a tremendous honor that very few get to experience, including our own traveling teachers.

Four middle school students place a wreath with an honor guard in salute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

For our traveling teacher Dave Worden, it’s been a lifelong dream to participate in a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. “I’ve always wanted the chance to do it. I’ve even joked that one of these years I was going tackle one of the kids and take their place.”

Thankfully, no students have been tackled. Now in all seriousness, this speaks to how much this truly means to pay tribute to the unknown fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

This year marks a special anniversary, the Centennial Commemoration of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. For the first time in nearly 100 years, the public can walk on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza and lay flowers (November 9th & 10th only). And for a passionate educator like Dave, he was not about to miss this unique and rare opportunity. “About one o’clock [on Tuesday] afternoon I saw a news report… Seven hours later who’s sitting in the airport waiting for his red-eye to the East Coast? This guy! Seize the day!”

History Teacher Dave, holds his flowers up as he prepares to lay them on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza.
Image Courtesy of Dave Worden.


With the love and support of his family and friends, Dave flew across the country, arriving in Washington, DC at 7:30am and was in line at Arlington by 8:30am. Within 45-minutes, Dave would fulfill his dream. “What a morning! I have laid flowers at the Tomb of the Unknowns…Now I get the rest of the day to explore DC without a bunch of kids.” On behalf of all traveling educators, who lead East Coast student trips every year, let us be the first to say, well deserved!

When reading Dave’s story, one can’t help but admire his love, passion, and reverence for history. You can also feel a little bit of that same envy he once felt. More than anything, I’m left feeling inspired and reminded how important it is to SEIZE THE DAY! Thanks for inspiring us Dave and teaching us valuable lessons in and outside of the classroom.

The Flower Ceremonies have already taken place, but other events are happening on Veterans Day 2021. For more information about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Centennial Commemoration events click here.

A Fall view of Arlington National Cemetery.
Image Courtesy of Dave Worden.
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