This week’s Borne the Battle features Army Veteran Gavin McIlvenna, who talks about the selection process of becoming and walking as a tomb guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; he then shares about his own mentors, how he founded the Society of the Honor Guard, shares crazy guard stories and the process of disinterring a Veteran at the tomb.

Roughly 130,000 visitors toured Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day pre-COVID. This year may be different, but it is still an important occasion for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Memorial Day seeks to honor those who have fallen while serving our country, and the Unknown Soldiers are no different.

On November 11, 2021, Arlington National Cemetery will be commemorating the centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The centennial is not only a day to celebrate and remember the burial of the World War One’s Unknown Soldier but to reflect on what the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier means to the nation.

McIlvenna breaks down the history of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and how the tomb doesn’t represent just one conflict; it represents all conflicts, the significance and purpose behind the upcoming events for centennial and where Americans can find information on these events and projects.

Lastly, McIIvenna talks about the first VA facility to have a never forget me garden, why every American should visit the tomb, and how communities can get involved in the centennial and learn about a unique part of its history and why the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is important to so many gold star families and Veterans.

Borne the Battle Veteran of the Week:

  • The Veteran in your life that is no longer with you.


Additional links:

Michaela Yesis is a podcast volunteer with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. She recently graduated from George Mason University with a BA in English.

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Published on May. 31, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.1 min.

Views to date: 386


  1. Don Dagnan June 8, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    I think it is about time for an investigation into the identity of the unknown soldier. Involving communities, veterans and Gold Star Mothers. Science tells me nothing can be unknown forever.

  2. John R. Lamont June 3, 2021 at 11:43 am

    My service in the U.S.Marine Corps from January,1958 to January,1962 is my proudest memory. I am an immigrant from Canada,and became a U.S.Citizen when I returned from Okinawa in 1961 when I was sworn in at the Federal Court in Boston .

    I lost friends in air accidents while in search and rescue missions out of Subic Bay,got shot at by HUK guerillas while flying over Luzon,PI and almost ended up in the ocean while flying in rough weather from Cubi Point to Okinawa, to return to the USA.

    God bless those unselfish men and women who served before,with and after me,especially those who did not return ;and especially those who are surviving with terrible physical and psychological wounds.

  3. Charles Edward Witte May 31, 2021 at 11:20 am

    I might not be proud of everything that I’ve done in my lifetime but serving my country while in the United States Army, 1968-72 isn’t among them. May God bless those of us, both men and women, past, present and future, return home to enjoy a fruitful life.

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