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Army JROTC Cadets Participate In TUS Wreath Laying
by Amy Turner, U.S. Army Cadet Command
June 26, 2023

"Here rests in honored glory an American Soldier known but to God.”

November of 1921, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier became the resting place for the remains of an unknown Solider from World War I. Later in 1958 and 1984, two more unknown Soldiers would call this their final resting place.

Now, over 100 years later, people come to visit the historic site and pay respects to American service members that gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom. One major way of showing this honor are wreath laying ceremonies ... a ceremony on June 20, 2023 that four U.S. Army JROTC Cadets had the honor to experience at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The four rising seniors from four different high schools were chosen to be part of this special ceremony and receive a tour of the Sentinel Quarters for the Old Guard, where they prepared for changing of the guard.

U.S. Army JROTC Cadets competing in the 2023 Army JROTC Leadership Bowl found time to explore the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. on June 20, 2023. A highlight for many of the Cadets was watching Tomb Guard Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witnessing the Changing of the Guard. Four high school Army JROTC Cadets were also chosen to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb.(Image created by USA Patriotism! from photo by Sarah Windmueller, U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs.)
U.S. Army JROTC Cadets competing in the 2023 Army JROTC Leadership Bowl found time to explore the National Mall and Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. on June 20, 2023. A highlight for many of the Cadets was watching Tomb Guard Sentinels at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witnessing the Changing of the Guard. Four high school Army JROTC Cadets were also chosen to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb.(Image created by USA Patriotism! from photo by Sarah Windmueller, U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs.)

“I learned about how they do the changing of the guard, and we got to talk to some of the guards,” Haylee Miller from St. James High School said. “I learned about what they use on their uniforms and how they put the uniform together, and how to train for it. [I learned] how to be able to become a guard for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

The gravity of the ceremony hit each student differently as they preformed the wreath laying ceremony in front of the crowd of Army JROTC Cadets, instructors and the general public.

“Just being there, it was really such a cool, surreal experience, seeing all those people there,” Robert Rasmusseen from Vilseck High School in Germany said. “I don’t really know how many people were there, but it was such a cool experience to be there. They are all looking at you, and you are doing something bigger than yourself.”

For Rasmusseen , who comes from a military family, the experience felt much more amplified.

“There were a lot of Gold Star families here and knowing that, especially growing up in the military and knowing what that is, I have known people that either had deployed parents, lost their parents to combat,” he said. “That was special to place a wreath for them and to represent the entire JROTC organization because I was a part of something larger than myself.”

Adam Rubalcava from Northside High School shared the sentiment noting, “it feels good to be a part of it.”

Each of these four leaders noted how privileged they were to be part of the experience.

Nathan Kozar from Huntington High School also highlighted the rarity of the chance to participate in the honored ceremony.

“As soon as we got up there, we were all shaking nervously,” Kozar said. “We all knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially as high schoolers.”

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Minor editing without impacting facts.

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