Congressional Record Statement of Senator Daniel K. Akaka
Mr. President, this Sunday, March 4, will mark the 86th anniversary of the enactment of a measure which established the Tomb of the Unknowns , honoring those members of the U.S. Armed Forces who fell in battle but who were not able to be identified, those ``known but to God.''
By its very nature, war takes life. Parents lose children, children lose parents, and with each passing this country loses a son or daughter that makes this Nation what it is, great. No funeral or ceremony can stop the pain that cuts deep into the families of servicemembers who have been killed in action. But for the families of servicemembers missing in action, the cutting pain of loss remains an open wound.
At the end of the First World War, this country asked itself questions related to those American soldiers who were unknown or missing in action. Where would those families come to pray, to grieve? Where would the rest of us go to ponder how it is we should honor them?
Eighty-six years ago, Members of Congress, standing in the Capitol where we stand today, sought to respond to those questions. Eighty-six years later, the Tomb of the Unknowns stands honored and guarded. Since 1937, Tomb Guards of the 3rd U.S. Infantry have safeguarded those buried in the tomb , every minute of every day, never failing. They epitomize our Nation's commitment to honor all of America's unknown and missing soldiers.
On this occasion, choosing to reflect on the Tomb of the Unknowns and what it means would be of value to us all. We should think of the the families of the missing, the spirits of the unknown soldiers, and of the Tomb Guards, who honor them. For myself, I extend heartfelt feelings my prayers for the families, my deepest gratitude to those unknown soldiers, honored by us all, though ``known but to God,''and my respect to those entrusted to guard the tomb .
March 2, 2007