From the True Woman archives, a piece I wrote back in 2015 which poses the question, if my most fervent, difficult, selfless labors are known to God, and God alone, is that enough? It should be, right? But is it?
Atop a hill overlooking our nation’s capitol, a simple monument of white marble lies under perpetual watch at Arlington National Cemetery. Inscribed on the structure’s west-facing side are these words:
Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.
This, of course, is what’s known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and incidentally, the subject of my son’s American history project. Although the monument now honors soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War as well, the original “unknown” was selected on Memorial Day, 1921, having been one of four American unknowns exhumed from four World War I cemeteries in France. Highly decorated World War I veteran U.S. Army Sergeant Edward F. Younger was chosen to make the selection as the soldiers lay before him, encased in identical caskets. A spray of white roses was placed by Younger on the third casket from the left, and that soldier became America’s World War I Unknown.
And so it is that this soldier’s story rests in shadow along with a multitude of others whose lives met the same fate. His age and hometown are sealed in the tomb. His rank is a mystery—in fact, the tomb sentinels do not wear their insignia while guarding so as not to outrank him. We will never know whether he died providing aid to another soldier or lying in a trench. Any acts of valor, any deeds of sacrifice, anything good or hard or praiseworthy that he had done is buried with him . . . unknown but to God.