How do you decide which students have the great honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns?
The Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetery is an incredibly moving experience. For many, it is the highlight of their school trip! In addition to the guard change, a wreath is often laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during this ceremony. This special privilege is made available to school groups visiting Washington DC, although a limited number of slots are available each day. You can request a public wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier online.
Up to four students can take part in the wreath laying ceremony. These students meet with the Honor Guard prior to the Changing of the Guard to discuss the ceremonial procedure. Meeting members of the Honor Guard is an honor in itself!
So, how do you decide which students have the great honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns? One elementary school that travels with Scholastica conducts an essay contest for their fifth grade class. A panel of judges evaluates the essays to determine the four students who will take part in the ceremony.
The school shared this wreath laying writing prompt with us as well as the winning essays. We hope that you can adapt this prompt for your school trip!
Tomb of the Unknowns Wreath Laying Writing Prompt
In just a few weeks, the fifth grade class will be going to visit our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. While in D.C., one of the special sites we will see is Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington is the resting place for many soldiers who served in our military. It is also the location of one of the special memorials in Washington, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb of the Unknowns is a memorial dedicated to remembering all soldiers who lost their lives in battle and could not be identified.
Four students from the fifth grade class will be selected to place a wreath at the memorial. If you would like to be considered for this very prestigious opportunity, please write a letter to the committee describing why this is important to you.
Along with your letter, grades, behavior, and citizenship will be considered. Please submit your letter to your homeroom teacher by Wednesday, April 15.
Read the winning essays. I think that you will be very impressed with the sincerity, knowledge, and writing skills put forth by these fifth graders!
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